I took my first overnight trip (two nights!) without my baby for the first time. I went to Florida for training for my new sales job. I learned a lot on the trip, but mostly I learned that breastfeeding with no baby around to drink it is hard work.
Thursday 12:01 MIDNIGHT - I can't sleep because I'm nervous about my trip. "Sleep! Sleep, damnit, if you don't fall asleep right this second you will hate life tomorrow. Sleep!" Brooke stirs at 12:24 just as I am drifting off, and we go thought this terrible pattern until 2:00 when she really wakes up to eat. My alarm sounds at 3:30 so I can get to the airport at 4:45 for my flight that leaves at 5:40...yes, we're still talkin' AM here, people. Can you spell T-I-R-E-D?
As I go through security, I am acutely aware of the fact that I am carrying a mechanical device that will likely cause much scrutiny. Sure enough, my cute little black backpack is stopped mid-screen and the screener calls over his screener friend to take another look at my suspicious back pack. I yell, "It's a BREAST PUMP" loud enough to embarrass them slightly, but not too loud that I get arrested. Interestingly enough, both men immediately look directly at my boobs, as if they were going to vouch for the fact that I am not a terrorist, then back at the X-Ray monitor. "We're going to need to open this please." Fine by me, just don't touch anything inside there with your dirty airport hands. They call over the supervisor because I have some liquid in the bag (also banned if over three ounces and not in a ziploc baggie). The liquid is frozen water, also known as ICE that is used to cool the milk once pumped. The supervisor tells his employee that "this is an individual supervisors decision to allow ice packs" and he believed I was in fact carrying an ice pack with me and would be allowed through. I was also questioned about my lip gloss. Off I go.
I try to find a place at the airport to pump in private, but end up standing up in the women's restroom while strangers give me strange looks wondering what in the world I am doing.
Thursday 9:10 am- I feel like my day should be halfway over, but no....still 15 more hours to go! My flight arrives in Hotlanta, but my connecting flight leaves in 30 minutes, in ANOTHER terminal. AND, Guess what? I have to PUMP. I see a "Family Restroom" that would allow me some privacy, but it was occupied. I decide to go to my gate first, then find another place to pump. I made it to the gate, but could only find another public restroom and I only had less than ten minutes before my flight left.
Thursday 12:00 NOON- I made it to Ft. Lauderdale full of milk looking for yet another place to pump and was delighted to find a "nursery" that had a rocking chair....at the airport! Horray! I locked the door and just started to pump when I got a call from my brand new boss who just so happened to be in the airport (even thought she should have been 2 hours ahead of me). She wanted to know where I was and when I would be in baggage claim...because she was circling the airport in her car, waiting for me. Jeeze!
Thursday 3, 6, 9 pm -- I had to excuse myself from my training to pump. By the way, my new boss never had children. She was nice about it, but only another former nursing mom could understand what this was like for me. Sure is a nice way to make a great first impression on your new boss! And why we were still working at 9pm is a very good question, but we were.
Thursday 10pm to Friday 9am-- I finally check into to my very fancy room at a very fancy beach front hotel fell on the bed into a very deep slumber. I woke up at 5:00 am very full, with no baby to feed. Pump. Sleep. Woke up at 8:30 starving and needing to pump, get ready, and go back to training.
Friday 9am -- arrive at the training site for another full day. Pump every three-four hours until bed time.
Saturday 5:00am--Go through security at Ft. Lauderdale airport with SIXTY ounces of milk (you should be impressed) in my checked luggage. I knew I wouldn't be allowed to carry it on. You may only bring milk on board with you IF you have your baby with you. I'm glad I knew this in advance and brought with me several ice packs that I had stored in my hotel room freezer so I could pack my milk. I suppose I could have just tossed it out, but it pains me to even type that as a possibility. I also knew that the milk may not make it back cold (going thought Florida, Georgia, and Texas?!) enough to save, but I owed it to Brooke to at least try. I was stopped by security again, and did the same, "ITS A BREAST PUMP!" yell. Once again, the security person looked right at my boobs (what's up with that?), and waived me through. I guess I look like a breastfeeding woman.
While I was gone, Zak did just fine with both girls, and Brooke only drank about 40 ounces of my frozen pre-pumped milk.
Oh, and remember that fancy beach front hotel? I never even saw the ocean, let alone step on the sand or put a toe in the water. I should have stayed another night just to have a mini vacation alone, but that would have required more pumping.