Thursday, December 4, 2008

Pump me Up

I. Hate. Pumping.

I'm going to see A Christmas Carol this Sunday with a friend, and I'm delighted. It's rare that we go anywhere without our combined four children. Will I automatically pack the feed bag of Goldfish? Will I ask my friend if she needs to go potty before the show begins? I hope not, but really, it's been that long.

So, the down side of going out is pumping the damn breast milk. It's hard to explain what I hate the most...the whine of the motor, the inability to do anything but hold the sucker-thingys, the stretching of the nipples, the feeling that I'm a cow. I guess I detest all of the things I just listed, but I really cannot abide the waiting...I'll sit there and pump and pump and pump and pump, and FINALLY, around 15 minutes in, things will "get going," and I'll produce about two ounces on each side.

Pumping has never been fun for me. When I went back to work after Owen was born, I pumped during my planning period in a closet next to the home ec classroom. So, I would sit in the closet, topless, pumping and pumping and pumping while seventh graders made aprons and apple pie. It was just weird.

When Joel was at Hopkins, pumping was the only thing that I felt like I could actively do to help him. It was my only job as a mother. I would go to this cold, cold room, sit in the chair, and pump, using this hospital-grade pump that Paul and I dubbed "the widowmaker." Made with industrial chrome and clear glass, it looked like something a butcher would use to slice cold cuts. Sitting in that room gave me too much time to think, and thinking was the last thing I needed to do at that time.

We brought Joel home with a huge cooler of frozen milk. I told everybody that one of the pluses of the NICU was the surplus of milk. So, you can imagine my disgust when all the milk went bad (old freezer).

So, I'm back to square one. I can hear the chorus of cries out there, "Just give him a bottle of damn formula." I know, I know. There's nothing wrong with formula, and I so don't have an opinion about the breast vs. bottle debate.

But, I guess, I'm still not totally over the NICU experience since A) I still write about it and B) I still feel like pumping, awful as it is, is something that I can do for my baby. Just in case.

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