Monday, July 27, 2009

The Inevitable Pumping Story

When leaving for vacation last week, I mentioned to someone that I was taking all necessary precautions to make SURE that I didn't have to post another story to the blog about pumping. In hindsight, I'm surprised that they let me on the plane carrying 24 AA batteries, given that I could probably have created some sort of bomb with them. But then I figured that they were so tired of doing the liquid test on the 40 ounces of breast milk and 7 containers of baby food that they just let the batteries slide, realizing that with a toddler and an infant, I probably wasn't going to have the time or the energy on the plane to figure out how to make 24 batteries into something harmful...

We're back from vacation now (MUCH more on that later, don't worry), and I am admitting failure. Because I have to post a pumping story. Bummer. But I'm really hoping it's the last one. As is Lance, as he has probably already stopped reading this blog, wary of too much detail...

So we're almost done with 11 months of pumping for Macie. Only a month to go, and I'm officially (as of today) cutting down to two (instead of 3) pumping session per day, since I have enough frozen to make up the difference for the next month. Until this vacation, I had made it without having to replace a SINGLE pump part this time around. I was actually thinking about this fact before vacation, and was trying to pat myself on the back (hard to do while pumping).

But I spoke too soon. When all was said and done, there were 3 casualties on the trip. Here's the story:

On the first night, Dale was washing the dishes in the bathroom sink in my mom and dad's hotel room. Not an easy task, particularly when there are 17 people in the room, which meant that a few of them carried over into the small bathroom on occasion. And some of these were toddlers who needed to go to the bathroom. Immediately.

So Dale was a little flustered, it was late at night, there was one sink (and it was small), and there were a LOT of pump parts and bottles to wash and rinse. Put these things together, and you have a casualty. In the form of a "membrane". For those of you who have never seen a breast pump (lucky you...), these are the flimsy, nickel-sized, white plastic pieces that fit into the yellow pieces that connect to the clear pieces that screw into the bottle. Got that? Here's a picture to help you with the visual.

Well, without the membrane, you don't get suction. Without suction, no milk. So to say it's a critical element to the pump's performance is an understatement. Trust me. I've forgotten them before and tried to do it without. Doesn't work.

That night, as Dale reached at the end for the 4 membranes he'd laid on the counter (have to save them until the end - can't put them in the sudsy water or you'll lose them and they'll slide straight down the drain, as we discovered when we were rookies with Ivie), he saw only 3. Desperate to find the fourth (knowing the wrath of Amy was imminent if he didn't), after only briefly letting the water out of the drain before realizing it was missing, Dale began frantically searching, including sticking his finger down the drain, hoping like crazy that it was miraculously sticking to the edge. He didn't find it. The only thing he DID find was a sharp spot on the drain, which managed to find his finger and give him a pretty good cut.

So Dale came out of the bathroom with a bleeding finger and only 3 membranes. The first pump casualty of the trip.

Numbers 2 and 3 came on the trip home. After a successful airport bathroom pumping session, I pulled out the two yellow pump bottle lids, sat them on the shelf above the toilet (it's sooooo nice when bathrooms have shelves and hooks!), and reached for the cooler in which to put the milk. Seeing the 5 bottles and 1 sippy cup already in there, I questioned whether there was going to be room for these 2 additional pump bottles. So I instead decided to pour the milk into the existing bottles. Great idea! Except I forgot to turn around afterward and pick up the two yellow pump bottle lids off the shelf. And I, of course, didn't notice that I'd left them until this morning when I was packing up the pump to take it to work and had only 3 of the original 5 lids.

So it's a good thing pumping is almost over. I think I can make it 1 more month with only 3 membranes and 3 bottle lids. Pump parts, rest in peace. It was good knowing ya.

1 comment:

Marcia said...

Here is my 3 cents:

IF you ever convince Dale of baby #3, then I think you should reward yourself with the newer pump by Medela (Freesytle). Much smaller, has a recharger, lets you pump much easier on the go than the PIS model! No big clunky motor to carry around. I am trying to figure out how to justify getting rid of my PIS so I can upgrade to the Freestyle for the next time around (who knows when that will be).