Archive for March, 2015

Another Chapter Ends

I wash my hands, close my office door, turn off my light. I sit down and my hands autopilot their way through a routine so familiar that I don’t think I’ll ever forget it. Bottles. Adapter. Valves. Membranes. Converter. Flange. Massager. Backflow preventer. Tubing. Machine. Go.

The quiet hissing fills my office, not loud enough to cover the sound of milk splashing into the bottle. This is my last pumping session. Tomorrow I will give away my pump to another mom in need. (It’s a closed system pump, so I can feel entirely good about giving it away.) I’ll be honest, I’m scared. This is a tangible expression of my parenting choices, of all the struggles I went through to breastfeed in the first place and then continue breastfeeding because it’s what I felt was best for my daughter. I’m scared of the hormonal shift that I’m about to experience. I’ve always been oversensitive to hormonal shifts and I think this will be a bigger one than just dropping a daily session. And yet. No more of the endless washing of parts. I can reclaim part of my counter that is dedicated to drying my pump parts. No more trying to schedule meetings around when I’ll be tied down in my office. No more awkward conversations about whether I’m still nursing, since there will be no obvious sign that (or if) I am. I am not excited to give it up, not the way so many women are. I think it’s universal to hate pumping, but I have responded well to it and while it’s not pleasant, it’s a small price.

As I sit here, I look back on the spreadsheet of pumping sessions that I’ve maintained for 18 months. The “notes” section has changed over time. At first, it was full of details:

9/20/2013: “Left side still plugged, last ate at 6:15, went 5 mins past letdown, no compressions. All Medela parts.”

That didn’t last long, though. Mostly, once I worked out those early kinks, I just tried to track when J had last nursed.

11/21/2013: “last ate 6:00, HAND PUMP

12/02/2013: “Last ate 5:30?”

I also tracked how much I pumped and what I did with it, whether it was frozen, sent to daycare, or (sometimes) spilled. Sometimes, none of those things:

02/14/2014: “forgot to bring it home, had to dump it. what a waste

In September of 2014, I dropped from pumping 4 times a day (every 2 hours, religiously) to 3 times a day. And then to 2 in January of 2015. In February, I dropped again, to only once a day. Now March is winding its way into the hot summer, and I’m pumping for the last time. I was going to pump until she turned 2, but I was also planning to send milk to daycare until then, too.

I shut off the pump. Disconnect the tubing. Catch the last few drops into the bottles (tap-click-drop, tap-click-drop). Count the ounces. Pull out the flanges, unzip the specialized bra, get dressed. Turn on the bottle warmer, pour the milk into the scalding bottle, wipe down the thermometer. Scald the milk, label the bag, pull off the perforated top. Ice down the milk, pour it in, close the bag along the edge of the desk to get out all the air bubbles. Update the spreadsheet. Unlock the tab and close it.

I open my office door. I remove the tattered sticky note and out of habit, stick it to the back edge of the door. Then I stop, turn around. Pull it from the back of my door and drop it in the trash. My coworkers all know not to come in when the sticky note is over my handle. I won’t be needing it anymore.

I pumped for 19 straight months. Every (working) day. And now, I’m done. The last 5 ounces will make its way to my freezer at home. I hope she never stops growing. I hope it gets easier for me to let go, though. Another cord cut, another door swinging gently closed, another chapter ending.

March 27, 2015

Oh god, so far behind! So much happening! So little time!

I stopped sending milk to daycare. This has been hugely emotional for me and I don’t have the time to suss out all the feelings about it in a post just now. But it’s been a pretty big change. As a consequence, I’m not pumping every day at work anymore. Queue more hormones! This also means I’m free to have caffeine if I have it early enough that it’s gone by the time I see J again. How did I go nearly 3 years without caffeine? It’s like I can think again. I can concentrate. I can remember things. I am so much more me! My mother points out that this might also be hormonal. That would be nice, since I’m planning to still take it very easy on the caffeine.

She can jump with both feet! Yay!

3 and 4 word sentences have arrived! Things like, “J baby hat” (wearing her doll on her head) and “Mama sit down.” So far the only 4 word sentence is, “Mama, sit read book.” Speech is improving slowly. She’s getting more confident, and will say things even if she knows she can’t pronounce them. And she’ll make real efforts at making certain sounds. “F” and “sh” are the most successful so far. Still not much luck with multisyllabic words.

My sister got married! It was fantastic! She was radiant and her now-husband looked madly in love and a wonderful time was had by all. We got to see some friends of ours who have a 4 year old and a newborn, and oh my god, I need to find some friends with kids J’s age. It was wonderful to have the play together while F and I hung out with the parents. I need to work harder at finding time to hang out with the friends I DO have that have kids the right age. Being a working mom totally sucks sometimes.

Other things, I’m sure, have happened, but if I don’t write and post this now, my blog will be even further behind. I’m glad I’ve started including vignettes on my daily pictures.