Friday, April 10, 2009

A Bad Day For Breastfeeding

As I was gathering together everything I needed for work the other day I came to a sudden, unpleasant realization. Yet another of my valves was missing. Yes, I know that sounds dirty. I am referring to THIS. A small, rubber, easily lost part of my breast pump. I have 3 pump horns (2 for use at work and 1 for home) and NOW only 1 valve to use between them. I would need to hold onto that valve very carefully until I could buy more. I finished packing my pump parts and headed off to work.

When 9am rolled around I went to the room my work has designated for me to do my pumping. A small, cramped, overly warm storage closet where I produce baby food crammed in between paint cans and boxes of computer paper. Within inches of where I sit there is a circuit box that has a dire warning label printed on the door stating that you MUST turn off ALL power before touching the box or severe injury or death WILL be the result. I keep worrying that might hand might accidentally brush it one day and bzzzt! No more me! As you might imagine, this isn't my favorite time of day. By the time I finish I am usually sweating and feel dirtier coming out than I did going in...and relieved to still be alive, of course.

As I settled into the thinly padded office chair I was able to scavenge out of a pile of chairs that were meant for donation due to the fact that they were terribly uncomfortable, I came to another unpleasant realization. When I pack my pump parts I usually pull them out of the dishwasher still wet so I wrap them in a plastic bag to keep them from dripping all over the electrical parts. Apparently the bag I had gotten that day had carried dirt or some other debris previously because ALL of my pump parts were covered in some fine, black, grainy substance.

With a sigh, I rose and carried everything into the break room kitchen and dumped it all into the sink to be re-washed. A male co-worker was there and, curious, came over to see what I was doing. He started making some remark about me having a party (he obviously mistook my bottles for cups) until he saw what was in the sink. His words dried up and he became rather nervous and uncomfortable. I would have been amused if I wasn't already so irritated.

Once my pump was clean again, I locked myself in my closet and made my ounces. I did unusually well and almost entirely filled the 4oz bottle I brought. I reached into my bag, eager to put a secure lid on all that precious, difficultly obtained milk when...oh yes, another unpleasant realization. I hadn't washed the bottle lids and it was covered in that same dirt.

I sighed. I had a dilemma. Take my pump with me to the kitchen to wash the lid or leave the pump in the closet and risk that it would somehow get tipped over in the time that I was away. My luck wasn't working very well for me thus far so I decided I should take it with me.

As I walked into the break room I saw a man...not just any man, though. A co-worker that I am inexplicably attracted to, despite his obvious inappropriateness for me....and there I was with my pump full of fresh body fluids. As I walked past him, I saw him glance at my hand but I turned it away from him so he couldn't get a good look at what I had. I set the pump down next to the water cooler on the opposite him so he couldn't see it. He smiled and greeted at me, and then to my mortified horror, stepped over to the water cooler to fill his glass. As he approached he saw what I had tried to conceal. My milky, drippy pump, sitting there like a carnival freak-show display next to the nice, clean water he had hoped to pour in his cup. The poor guy was taken off guard and obviously didn't know what to do. What he DID NOT do was get water. What he DID do was back up like he had seen a snake and apologized to me as though he had accidentally walked in on me taking off my clothes. I leapt over, grabbed my milky shame, and fled the room. Fortunately during the exchange I DID manage to rinse off my bottle cap so I was able crouch in the privacy of my closet and get everything sorted out before returning to my desk.

Noon soon crept up and it was time for me to leave and go to my daily lunch date with my son. He eats, and I'm happy just to avoid that extra session with the evil pump. Unfortunately, as I was leaving a co-worker asked for my help. I couldn't just leave and the task had me out the door 15 minutes later than usual.

I didn't TRY to make up the time by speeding, but I guess the thought of my hungry child crying at the window and wondering where his lunch mommy was made me put a little more pressure on the gas pedal than I intended. But, it's ok. A police officer was kind enough to stop me on my way and let me know that yes, in fact I WAS speeding and oh, I would have to pay a large fine for it too. Yay!

Now I was almost half an hour behind schedule and I had images of Connor's hollowed little cheeks pressed to the glass and little dried tears in the corners of his sad eyes.

But, what I found when I got there was not a starving waif, but a sleeping infant. A DEEPLY sleeping infant. The daycare told me that they tried to keep him up as long as possible but he refused to stay awake. I didn't want to wake him up so I left...surprisingly depressed that I didn't get to spend that time with him, but at least secure enough in that, since my mother would be picking him up that day, they could go ahead and feed him his afternoon bottle when he woke and she could make him a formula bottle to replace the one he'd already eaten.

Except, she COULDN'T make him that formula bottle if I left with the diaper bag that had the formula in it. I had to turn back when I was already halfway to work. I have a small dent in my face from where I slapped myself on the forhead.

Once I was back on the road and headed to the office a 2nd time, it occurred to me....I would now have to add a pumping session. Unfortunately, I didn't have an extra bottle to pump into. I couldn't just mix two bottles together to give myself an empty one because, if you remember, I almost filled that first bottle during my morning session.

I turned around again and decided I would just pump at the house and get back to work a little later...

...and I managed to get my home pump washed, put together and ALLLMOST ready to go before I realized OH! My ONE AND ONLY valve is AT WORK.

I was rather late back to work and once there, I couldn't go straight to my desk because I still had to have that lunch pumping session.

As I sat in my uncomfortable chair, sweating and trying to avoid being electrocuted I wondered...

This whole breastfeeding thing. Is it really worth it?


L+L=E said...

*exasperated sigh on E.E.'s behalf*

Oh hon...I wish I had something better to say, but just be thankful it's not like that every day.

Nana said...

to see those sweet brown eyes look up to you like he does, when u are feeding him, and knowing he is getting the best food in the world, and only because you his mom loves him more than life itself. So by you continue to do it means yes, you think it is very worth it. And i wish i had a mil so i could help you out.