I remember those long hours. Awake at three in the morning but just barely. Head nodding, chest aching, feeling like a milk cow in a farm line-up as the breast pump suctioned away. Jumper cable tubes attached to my breasts and, like drinking at the bar in my twenties, I would double fist, baby. But instead of beers I was holding bottles of milk.
I’ll never forget the noise. The whump-whump of the forever hungry electronic sucker.
I’d feed my daughter and she would barely last for ten minutes on one side before falling back to sleep. But me, I’d have to empty the ol’ milk jugs so the next 45 minutes was spent attached to the pump. Usually I had my television turned on to help pass the time but sometimes I’d just stare into space, zoning out on the repetitive electronic wheeze of the pump.
It’s funny that I haven’t thought about it until now but I used to talk to myself in conjunction with the hungry rasp of the pump. Today, I read My Breast Pump Speaks To Me (read the comments for a laugh, apparently Melissa is not alone in trying to decipher what her breast pump is saying) and it all came rushing back.
“THIS SUCKS. THIS SUCKS.”
“SO TIRED. SO TIRED.”
“HELP ME. HELP ME.”
My breast pump wasn’t so much speaking to me as it did for Melissa, author of the aforementioned article, my Medela was assisting me in articulating how I feel about pumping milk. The soundtrack, if you will, to those hazy, first weeks of motherhood.
I remember rocking the glider I was sitting on to the tuneless wheezing of the pump and those wordless shouts for help. An exhausted one-woman-band.
“NEED” (pump wheeze/glider slides back) “SLEEP” (pump wheeze/glider slides forward).
“HATE” (pump/glider) “THIS” (pump/glider).
It’s funny, but just remembering that noise, the wheezy medical instrument that helped articulate the conflicted thoughts in my brain during breastfeeding the first time has me pondering breastfeeding this next baby.
I don’t know if I want to do it.