Wednesday, August 27, 2014

What Does the Pump Say?

Before having a baby, I knew one thing for certain.  I was not going to breastfeed.  Save me your speeches on why breast is best.  I don't care.  While I wasn't going to breastfeed, I was all for pumping.  Once I was pregnant, my decision was set.  I would pump out gallons of milk and my child would be fed breast milk until she was six months.  Life had other plans for me.

First, right after I had my baby I was told to try breastfeeding.  I was too tired to argue and had a sudden change of heart.  Why not just try it?  Try it I did...and failed.  I ended up having a c-section and no matter what anyone tells you there is absolutely no comfortable breastfeeding position after a c-section.  They all cause pain and discomfort.  But every few hours I would try and wind up crying and frustrated.  Multiple times I asked for a lactation nurse to come in and help.  She never came.  Then I started asking to pump.  This request was quickly granted. 

This was how I became a pumper.  Although this post isn't actually about breastfeeding or pumping.  It's about how getting very little sleep does strange things to your mind.

When we left the hospital, pump in hand, I had no idea how weird the act of pumping was.  But it's really weird.  If I was lucky and no one but my husband was in our house, I could pump in front of the TV and watch Southern Charm.  That was my favorite.  If I was unlucky, I'd have to sit alone in a darkened room bawling out my post-pardum tears while my child cried in another room.  It's as awful as it sounds.

When I first tried pumping, I couldn't help but marvel at the odd sounds the machine made.  It was loud and rhythmic.  It almost had a certain melody to it.  I quickly noticed there were two distinct noises.  There was an initial noise that was made up of longer, drawn out notes, followed by a second noise that was short and staccato.  These noises haunted me because I felt like they were saying something. 

Then one day in a sleepy stupor, I heard the pump speaking to me.  At first it was saying "Grab hold! Grab hold! Grab hold! Grab hold!"  Then after the letdown it appeared to say "Pump! Pump! Pump! Pump!"  I thought I was going nuts.  I asked my husband if I was losing my mind, or if he could hear the words as well.  The concerned look on his face let me know he thought I was crazy but was too sweet to say it to my face.  I love that guy.

For days I would sit with my pump hearing these words: Grab hold! Pump!  Then some days I would hear different words.  One pumping session I disturbingly heard the words Grandpa! and Mom!  I googled it multiple times to see if other women heard these words being spewed from their breast pumps, but to no avail.  I was the only nut who swore her breast pump spoke. 

Once I started sleeping a little more, the words went away.  I realized that the noises were just the mechanical iterations of air being sucked through a tube.  It made pumping that much more lonely. 

Those first few weeks of sleepless days and nights with a newborn are no joke.

An Aside: Alternative title post: "This is What it Sounds Like When Pumps Cry"

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