I’ve been gone a few weeks. I started back at work a little over a month ago and it’s been hard. Super hard. I will talk more about that soon, but I’ve struggled endlessly with balance since going back to work. I like working, I like earning, I do not like feeling completely unmoored every day of the week. I forget something every day.
Last week was no different.
So I’m breastfeeding baby Liam. It’s gone well, we both are enjoying the process, but when I’m at work, it involves a lot of time spent in the supply closet. I have feelings on that by the way, but it’s not the time nor place for me to rant on women in the worksplace right now and how we are seriously undervalued. Okay, I’m done.
If you’ve never worked and breastfed at the same time, it’s sort of a complicated dance. It kinda starts when your baby is between 3-4 weeks old, the sweet spot, I learned, when your baby will decide if he or she is going to take the Dr. Brown’s bottles you received at your shower. You make your partner deliver the bottle, and leave the room (maybe the house) so baby can’t smell you. For me, I started with just an ounce or two until we figured out that Liam was a little more of a 3-4 ounce kind of kid. And then there’s the pumping. The bane of my entire existence. It just sucks. It’s loud, it’s not comfortable, and as someone recently reminded me, it’s the shitty reminder that your baby isn’t around for a big chunk of the day.
I pump a few times a day at work, usually twice on a loose schedule, or when I feel my boobs tell me that it’s time. It takes a good amount of time, and a production. If I’m in my nice fancy work clothes, I strip off my nice shirt and set it aside. I strap on a pumping corset. I hook up the phalanges. Screw the bottles into those. Attach the tubing. Plug my machine in. And finally, get to pumping. (And pouring and labeling and sneaking milk into the fridge in the kitchen blah blah.)
But guess what last Tuesday?
I went through most of those steps before I realized that, sitting there half naked in the closet, that I’d forgotten the bottles and the phalanges, and my boobs were really at the end of their rope.
I could try and stick it out until the end of the day, but risk a clogged duct. I could run home, but today just wasn’t a good day to escape home – I had a lot to do. I could see if I could convince my dad or my brother to go home, but they didn’t really know what they were looking for.
So I waited to see if I could make it to the end of that day, and then one small stroke of whatever genius I have left struck me. Rite Aid was down the way. I could see what they had in the way of pump accessories, and take it from there.
I have never driven so fast (within my legal limits) to a Rite Aid in my LIFE. IN MY LIFE. So I get into the parking lot, and…
The Rite Aid has moved.
I’m not kidding. Around the corner, but it had totally moved.
I raced around the corner, and into the store, where I found a single electric pump. I put it on my HSA, designated it for my car, and proceeded to pump like thirteen ounces before a meeting. Ridiculous.
All that to say – I’ve started working. My brain still hasn’t returned to it’s normal size. I’m not sure when I will start functioning more normally. But I am making it work! Trying to at least.