Here is my past few months in pumping chronicled by rotation. As the weeks went by, I turned from a shy awkward pumper to a frank “I’ll do it wherever just get me a plug in” resident.
Ortho: show up to clinic struggling with clinic bag in one hand and pump in the other. Young ortho PA that I am scheduled with has kids, gets it, and finds me a private office for the day.
Cardiology: lots of older male physicians, and scheduled with a new one every half day. Rather than explain the pumping every single half day, I pump on the way to and from work and simply say I need to leave half an hour early to make my q4h schedule. I don’t say why, they shrug and say sure. I tell the younger female cardiologists I need to pump and they “remember those days” and are full of support.
Hospice: in a car with my wheelie backpack going to multiple hospice sites. At one point, I am stuck far from my pump as I misjudged how long the trip would take me and as my mentor for the day is sharing a deeply emotional story as we are ending or day together, all I can think is “gottapumpgottapunpgottapump”. Also had a mentor that went to NP school in the pre-double electric breast pump days and not-so-fondly remembers hand expressing during breaks. I’m so glad we’ve come far from that.
Night float: Sitting in my call room calling specialists with the little “whirr whirr” in the background. Eye the pagers carefully, just daring them to go off with a Code Blue while I am plugged in.
In between, check Facebook. That Willow pump that keeps haunting my news feed with ads looks wayyyy too good to be true. But cheering on the days to an better breast pump.
Psych: checking into an attending’s office for a half day. He has a no show, so I casually mention I need to pump sometime in the next two hours. Ten minute tour through the offices ensues, ending with me pumping in his private office and him waiting outside in his own lobby.
Clinic: having much more in depth conversations with my patients about pumping, supplementing, etc. Run downstairs every 3-4 hours past all the patients in the lobby past to the pump room, stopping to briefly complain to the care coordinator about how pumping sucks literally and figuratively as we both have babies within a few weeks of each other. She made it a year with her first so we are cheering each other on.
Conference: presenting a poster at a conference at a large office building. Find the pump room of dreams including sink, long counter, multiuser pump, fridge, large comfy chair. Immediately send an email to my office manager outlining this in case we ever have extra money lying around when we design our next clinic. The pump room is in use when I need it in the afternoon, so I am directed to a Breastfeeding Pod (called a Mamava) that looks like one of those party photo booths. Crawled inside, feeling slightly seasick but very private and secluded in my little cocoon.
OB: I pick up an OB shift for a resident out sick. I sit in the pump room in peace wishing I could figure out how my Spectra parts could attach to the multi user hospital Medea pump. I get to work with the nurses who helped deliver Baby, show them pictures, and they let me eat from their potluck spread.
I mainly wanted to write this all down so I can remember both the ridiculousness and support when we’re finally ready to shelve the pump. Hopefully someday I can say “I remember when I had to haul my pump around with lots of parts from place to place in a huuuuuuge bag! You have it so much easier now!” Until then, pump and I will continue to hit the road.
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