today is the motherwear breastfeeding blog’s 17th carnival of breastfeeding and the theme is pumping.   while i didn’t choose to submit for the carnival, i am chosing today to write about pumping.

i’ve written before about my love hate relationship with the pump… well, mostly about the hate portion.  its rhythmic sucking makes me sing little songs to it’s always irritating tempo.  then they mix around with the gymboree songs already stuck in my head.  then i realize how badly i really do need the prozac and ativan.

i don’t know for sure how long it’s going to last.  i’m trying to be realistic about the prospect of having cancer, undergoing chemo and pumping for (hopefully only) six months.  it’s kind of like starting out nursing.  i tried to limit my expectations of myself.  i said i’d aim for six months and then see if i could go for a year.  that seemed ridiculously long to me at the time, much like pumping for six months does now.  but a year came and went and well, here we are.

nugget daddy stayed down at my parents’ last night so nugget and i have been left to fend for ourselves for the majority of the past two days, save for a playdate and lasagna drop off yesterday afternoon.

i didn’t get to pump at all yesterday.  i can’t pump in front of nugget.  that would be like asking your pregnant best friend to take you to happy hour.  i meant to pump last night once she went to sleep, but i fell asleep, too.  my boobs had been angry ever since.

nugget likes to have her naps with me in the peanut shell, but this limits my options for the duration of naptime as to what i can actually accomplish with twenty pounds of sleeping toddler strapped to my chest, lovely though as she feels snuggled against me.  her grandmamie puts her to sleep in the stroller and i bribed her into it with chocolate chips this afternoon so i could pump, finally, and subsequently blog about it.  lucky you!

i was so angry the first few times i pumped after starting chemo.  it was like rubbing salt in the wounds.  i couldn’t nurse nugget and i had to stand uncomfortably in the bathroom watching my milk fill up plastic bottles instead of a happy baby.  and then as i would dump the ounces of heartache down the sink a new wound would appear like a gaping mouth to catch my salty tears and sting my aching soul.  what a waste.

you won’t find much if you google “cancer” and “breastfeeding” except for articles about nursing after breast cancer.  “chemo” and “breastfeeding” yields the same contraindication tagline over and over, and “cancer” and “breastmilk” mostly just points you to article after article about this guy who drank breastmilk to fight his prostate cancer.  those, mostly sensational and local news, articles mention milk banks selling milk to cancer patients when they have excess available to sell.  it costs $3 an ounce.

i’ve had plenty of time to think about that guy and those $3 ounces while making up songs to the pump’s rhythm and calculating how much i’d just poured down the drain.  warning!  here comes the crunchy freaky part.  squee!  maybe you want to stop reading, uptight next door neighbor guy or old school grandpa, maybe there’s a golf game you’d rather be watching. okay, so seriously, why the fuck would i want to keep dumping my milk down the drain when other cancer patients are paying good money to get their hands on it?  i don’t know what exactly it might do for me, but it sure won’t be doing anything at the bottom of the sink that’s for sure. so i sucked it up and sucked it down.

it was sort of gross at first, though why exactly i’m not sure.  i think it was the temperature.  i can’t think of any beverage i regularly consume at body temperature.  but now i’m used to it and pleased by thought that i might actually be doing something to help save my own life.

so, now i have a new goal.  i want to pump twice a day for the whole six months, or however long it might be.  i know i might get sick.  i know i might have to stop if i do.  but if i approach it the way i did breastfeeding, then maybe i can make it through.  maybe if i tell all of you about my plan then i’ll be hell-bent on reaching my goal.  maybe some mother out there trolling the interwebs for a glimmer of hope will find my blog now, instead of all the other useless crap i found.

Advertisements