Thursday, October 18, 2012

Vintage Thursday: The Breastpump and the Intern

In honor of my second tour of duty as a nursing mom, I thought I'd repost this entry about one of my most memorable moments of motherhood to date.

April 2005

What do you do when you accidentally show your breasts to an intern? Do you confront the situation, or do you pretend that the whole thing never happened? That is what I had to deal with today, and it was a bad scene.

It was one of those days when you get up on time (early even), but you are still running late. Twice a day, I close my office door to pump breast milk for my daughter. I usually pump at around 9:30, but this morning I didn’t get to it until 10:15. I had a meeting at 10:30, so I quickly closed the sliding door. I was moving too fast for my own good, because I forgot to turn the lock. About 30 seconds into the process, I heard a soft knock immediately followed by the sound of the door’s metal wheels grinding on its track.

“NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!” I started to yell. My back was to the door, and I turned slightly so that I could scream at my unwelcome guest. I was trying to cover my breasts and juggle the pump’s suction cups at the same time. The cups loosened from my boobs, and milk leaked all over my pants. The door was cracked about 6 inches, and I looked the intern in the eye. Damn, it wasn’t even a woman. He turned his head and quietly closed the door. I ran to lock it. I tried to pump some more, but I was so keyed up that I barely got a bottle’s worth.

I have no idea what he saw, and I really don’t want to know. As far as I’m concerned, I may as well have been naked on a pole. I made it my business to steer clear of his corner of the building, and he didn’t make any efforts to find me either. Needing a bit of comfort, I went to two women in my department. “I need a hug,” I wailed; then I told them the details. “Well, it could have been worse,” one said. “At least you didn’t have your shirt off.”

“I hear you embarrassed one of my guys,” the intern’s supervisor said to me later in the afternoon. Excuse me? I was the one who had her shirt hiked up. I know he was kidding, but the humiliation was still fresh. “I mean, he was red-faced embarrassed. He’s young, and he had no idea what was going on,” he continued.

Now, I realize that I forgot to lock my door, but wasn’t it being closed enough? Am I the only person who thinks that it is rude to do the “knock and open?” He probably thought that I was on the phone or something, but the purpose of knocking on a door is to get permission from the person on the other side.

My boyfriend, Mike, called to ask about my day, and I filled him in. He was ready to put on his shining armor. “Are you all right?” he asked. Do you want me to come to your office and talk to him?”

“No, honey,” I said. “I’m sure he wants to forget about the whole thing as much as I do.” Besides, Mike is a bodyguard. I have a feeling that his “talk” would be anything but that.

This is the latest in a string of incidents when my privates have been on display. Once you find out that you are pregnant, your body is no longer your own. At each doctor’s visit, you are examined from head to toe. While I was in labor, everyone from the doctor to my cousin thrice-removed walked in and out of the hospital suite as if it were the living room. And every now and then, I’ve even had to nurse my baby in public. So what’s one more person, I suppose. But to ensure that the number stays to a minimum, I made a “do not disturb” sign for my office door.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Living on the Wild Side

This is me taking a major risk. I'm the mother of a newborn, and I'm wearing a white shirt.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Second Day Slump

I made it through my first day back to work relatively unscathed, so I was optimistic about today.

I was fooled. If you've ever been sore after a workout, then you know it's even worse the next day. My "back-to-work muscles" are suffering from post-workout fatigue. Here are a few examples:

Computer Eye. Apparently, my eyes developed a certain tolerance for staring at a computer monitor all day. Three months off has reduced that tolerance to all but nil. I spent the day reaching for eye drops and walking away from my computer every 15 minutes.

Brainstorm Burnout. Two one-hour meetings, held back to back, had me longing for my sofa and a MacGyver marathon.

Breast-pump Blues. Pumping three times a day?!?! Need I say more?

When I used to work out, which was a long time ago, the second day after a tough workout was even worse than the first. I hope that's not the case here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The First Day Back

It's hard for me to believe that my maternity leave is history. When A was born, twelve weeks seemed like a good long time. I had a mental list of things I hoped to accomplish, which of course, was a joke. Most days, I was lucky to take a shower or brush my teeth. And I didn't have the mental fortitude to form a solid declarative sentence, so writing was out. Sleep depravation will do that to you.

Now that my leave is over, being a complete mess is no longer an option. I have to get a kid on the school bus, a baby off to daycare, and myself to the office in time for a daily 9 a.m. meeting. Showers and brushed teeth are mandatory.

My plan for today was to rise at 6 and spend an hour getting myself together before I woke the kids. Then I would feed the baby while E for dressed. She and I would have breakfast at 7:30, be done by 8, and out the door by 8:10.

What do they say about the best laid plans? Here's how it went down:

I woke up at 6, but I didn't get out of bed until 6:45. I knew once I put my foot on the floor that my leave would be officially over, and I had a little trouble accepting that. However, I rallied and was in a full-face of makeup by 7. My clothes were on the bed so that I could feed the baby and avoid spit-up accidents.

Apparently, I forgot to give A a copy of the schedule. She wanted to eat for 40 minutes instead of the usual 30. Maybe she had trouble accepting the end of maternity leave too.

Next, the darling pleated skirt I planned to wear looked awful with the jacket I picked. It also didn't look all that hot with the three sweaters and two shirts I subsequently tried. Plus, none of my shoes fit anymore. After another 15 minutes, I ended up in a completely different outfit.

My eldest daughter, by some miracle, was on her game. She was dressed and ready to go by 7:45. We were out the door by 8:10, but I had to make a few trips back inside for forgotten items after E caught the bus.

I was at work by 9, so I'd say I did all right. Baby girl won over the entire daycare staff with her cuteness; it seems as though her day went well too.

Homework and dinner are long since done. The girls are in bed, and I've packed everything for tomorrow. We'll see if I can do well two days in a row.

Thursday, September 06, 2012

The Good Stuff

I was about to start a post on the challenges of getting a newborn and a school-age kid ready each a.m. when I ran across this on Facebook:

"Interesting that I'm only hearing about the 'horrors' and inconveniences of being a parent. Trust me, I'm FULLY AWARE. Where are the positives?"

She got me thinking. Why have I been wallowing in the negative when there is so much positive? I'm sure sleep depravation has much to do with it, but I digress.

I love being a mom. It is, along with being a wife, my most important duty. I been blessed with two beautiful girls, and I absolutely adore them.

Each day, there are things that make me smile:

Achievements. When E is excited about a perfect score on a spelling test or her performance in a dance recital, I can't help but share her enthusiasm.

Seeing myself in the kids. I'm sure my newborn has never watched my husband awake from a deep sleep, but I swear she stretches and grunts just like him. Last week, I caught my husband singing to the baby that she has my nose.

Lots of laughs. Once your kid discovers humor, it's a whole new ball game. I've spent whole car rides listening to knock-knock jokes. She usually gets the punch line wrong, but her laughter is so infectious, I find myself laughing too.

Love. Hugs and kisses from my babies are the best!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Nap Time

Like mother, like daughter. I don't like light when I'm sleeping either.

Seven and Seven

I knew having Baby #2 would be a challenge, but apparently, I had no idea. I was ready for diaper changes, sore breasts and late nights.

I wasn't ready for the toll my girls' seven-year spread would have on me. The needs of a seven year old often conflict with those of a seven week old. While I'm supposed to be helping with homework or listening to a run-down of the school day, I have to contend with a hungry, crabby, or poopy infant.

Exhaustion doesn't help. The old adage "sleep when the baby sleeps" had to be coined by a person with only one kid. If I took a nap every time the baby did, my oldest would wear dirty clothes to school and be sustained on a diet of Fruit Loops.

I'm getting better. Or at least I hope I am. The first step was for me to accept the imperfections. Superwoman I am not. Right now, the sink is full of dishes, and there is a basket of unfolded laundry in the living room. I'll get to them tomorrow.

It turns out the baby likes to sleep during car rides, so this weekend we'll go out for ice cream. The ride should buy me a tear-free hour, giving me some time with E.

And if I'm lucky, I can catch a nap or two.

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Late-Night Blues

It's 11:35, and normally, I wouldn't panic. But my baby has been taking short naps ALL DAY, and she hasn't truly been awake since this morning. This means our evening is just beginning. Joy.

So what's a girl to do in the wee hours? I'd like to finish this book I started reading, but turning on a reading light will only prolong an already too-long night. Maybe I'll just rent a movie and turn on closed captioning.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Big Sister Blues

My seven year old has been in "Big Sister" mode ever since she found out I was pregnant. She's weighed in on decor, inspected every item of clothing, and made a birthday card that read "Happy 5th Birthday, Baby!" As to why she skipped birthdays one - four, I have no idea.

E's enthusiasm remained steady after little sister arrived. She volunteers to help with diaper changes and baths, and she's ready to entertain whenever the baby is awake.

I've come to rely on her excitement and independence. Perhaps a little too much. I'm still working on balancing the needs of a school-age kid and a newborn.

Last night, my eldest made that all to clear. After pouting though most of the evening, I asked her what was bothering her:

"A is more important than me."

I know such feelings are normal when a new baby comes home, but I was completely caught off guard.

"Why do you feel that way?" I asked?

"You only take care of me when it's time for dinner. You're with A all the time."

I took a deep breath and said a quick prayer for inspiration. The Cosby Show came to mind.

We talked about how the baby can't do things like get dressed or feed
herself, but that E can. She knows how to choose outfits for school, make her own bed, and pour cereal for breakfast. These were things she couldn't do when she was younger. So she needed my help then, just like A needs my help now. Needing me less doesn't mean I love less. It just means she's growing up.

"Yah Seven!" (Cosby Show Reference)

E feels better, but I'm not sure I do. I know it will take time for me to get the hang of things. I will try not to beat myself up too much. The baby's doing enough of that already. I wrote most of this post at midnight.

Late-Night Ramblings

It's 1:17 am. My nose is running, I'm covered in spit up, and I'm afraid to move. My newborn girl is lying across my lap, snoring gently.

This was a hard-fought battle. Two hours of nursing, burping and ssshh-ing have led to this moment. And one wrong move could ruin it all. Tapping out this post is the only thing keeping me awake so I don't blow it.

It's times like this that my mind wanders and I totally lose my cool. What the heck was I thinking to have a baby at this point in my life? I had it pretty good. My oldest daughter is 7, so I was well past diapers, breast feelings and sleepless lunacy.

But now that our battle is over (for now), I once again fall in love with my girl's angelic face. I wonder how she will change each day, and I look forward to watching her discover the world.

Now, if only I could get her into this bassinet. My day would be so much better if I could greet it after a few hours sleep.