The Juicer

I’m very proud of the fact that I breastfeed Camille. Nursing her seems very natural. But, being a working mom means I also have to use a breast pump, and that is decidedly not natural. It’s necessary, I’m glad I have one, but using The Juicer (as Lee lovingly named it) has always has been a little strange to me.
Fortunately, my workplace is pretty conducive. I have an office with a door that locks and windows with blinds. I can turn on my TV and watch the Price is Right while The Juicer does its thing.
But there have been some awkward moments. My office walls are fairly thin, and the pump is a bit loud, making a rhythmic “wonk, wonk, wonk” sound. On several occasions, one coworker has stopped by my office to whisper,
“I heard you pumping.”
What exactly am I supposed to say to that? Congratulations on your auditory accomplishment? I usually just stare back at her in stunned silence. But the next time I pump, I’m woefully aware that she’s just on the other side of wall. Listening. Closely.
This week however, I’ve been presented with some new challenges. I’ve had to take several day trips for work, which meant using The Juicer outside the comfortable confines of my office. I was particularly nervous about my trip today, because I was heading somewhere I’d never before been, so I had no idea if there would be anywhere to pump with privacy.
I needed to pump once during the drive, so I got off the interstate at a rest area, thinking I could park in some far away corner spot. But there was no such spot. The rest area was small and uncomfortably intimate. I pulled into the back, and parked as far away from other vehicles as I could. But I was still very close to several truckers who were wandering around their rigs. It was impossible to relax.
Once finished, I needed to wash the pump, so I took it into the bathroom. But there, posted above each sink, was a hand-scrawled sign that announced, “Non potable water! Do not drink!” I didn’t think it was such a good idea to wash baby’s juicer in water that was unsafe for consumption, so I had to pack it all up and wait to wash it later.
Once at my destination, I had to pump in a ladies restroom. I hung The Juicer on the back of the bathroom stall door. Thankfully, the restroom was empty.
Was empty.
Soon, all the stalls were full, and I was painfully aware of the obnoxious “wonk, wonk, wonk” coming from stall #4. I couldn’t help but wonder what the other occupants were thinking.
I’m glad I’m able to do this for Camille, but on days like today, pumping can be frustrating. Thankfully, Lee is very supportive, and often brings comic relief when I need it most. Like when he turns the funnels around and pretends they’re air horns. Or when he happens to call while I’m pumping.
Me: Hi sweetie.
Lee: Hi! What’cha doing?
Me: Pumping.
Lee: Wonk, wonk, wonk, wonk.
And I just have to laugh.