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.