Pump the Jam, Pump it up!

It was my first week back at work and WOOF was it a doozie!!! I’m so glad I took PTO today so I can spend time with Miss Pickles and tend to her after her two month doctors appointment. Miss pickles got her first set of vaccines today and she took it like a champ. We’re watching her hoping she doesn’t get a fever and soaking in all of the baby snuggles. I love this little lady with my whole heart. I can’t imagine not being there for her appointments and I’m so grateful I have a work schedule that allows for me to be flexible for times like these.

I had a hard time last Sunday before returning to work. So hard, all I could do was distract myself. I created a million lists and organized the house. I tried my hardest to pretend Monday wouldn’t come. What do you know? Monday came anyway. More on Monday later. Sunday was full of tear festivals and weep shows. I did manage to be productive and get a few things done. I went to JoAnns Fabric to get a few things I need for her Halloween costume and organized lots of random things in our house. One of the places I organized was the cabinet under my sink. I pulled out a ton of stuff to throw away including an old pregnancy test box. If you remember the story from last November, I wanted to surprise Mr with the news so I stashed the test box under some stuff in the cabinet so he wouldn’t find it. Clearly I did a good job hiding it because almost a year later I’m just now discovering it.

So back to the trash can. I threw all sorts of trash away and went on with my day. A few hours later Mr. was up in our bathroom and I was downstairs nursing the baby. All of a sudden I hear quick movement coming from upstairs and I peeked around the corner to see his face in complete shock. “YOU TOOK A PREGNANCY TEST?!?” he said. I laughed so hard and explained that it was old. I now know where we stand on baby #2….

Monday wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. My co-workers were all really excited to see me and welcomed me back with hugs, high fives, and sweet sentiments. The biggest win? I didn’t cry! I was thrown back in full swing and didn’t have much time to think about missing the little one. I had lots to get done including lots of troubleshooting to get access to all of my systems again. Monday came and went with a blink. The rest of the week kicked my ass so hard. I knew being away from the little lady would be difficult and thought that would be the only challenge. Oh boy, was I wrong!

One of the hardest things about going back to work has been pumping. I’ve had a HECK of a time pumping. I find it frustrating and troublesome. I find the pump to be a chore. It feels time consuming and an inconvenience. I do my best to be productive while I am pumping and take my computer with me to my private room. I’m able to get work done which is nice, but the set up and clean up tasks are SO cumbersome. I also have struggled to produce enough to keep Maryn satisfied during the day. I know I don’t have enough freezer stash built up and we’re just all around struggling. It’s been a difficult transition to say the least.

With that said, I have started to find a rhythm. A few things have helped me get in the groove of pumping.

First, having a room to leave things set up in has been helpful. I’m able to leave a water bottle, the pump hooked up and plugged in, and have everything aside from the parts that get refrigerated in between feedings ready to go. This significantly improves my productivity pumping. Although I am able to work while I’m pumping it makes my time away much less.

I also discovered that a hands free nursing bra is LIFE. I’ve been wearing a tank top under my shirt so I can easily, quickly, and discretely hook up. I have a private room (duh) but it still feels weird to be at work and pump. Having an outfit that is quite literally entirely covered up makes it a little easier for me to relax.

I also found that pumping during my commute is AWESOME. I’m able to hook up in the car on the way to the office and get the first good haul while I’m in transit. AMAZING! I haven’t had any weird looks yet…

I also found that keeping a Tide Pen, paper towels, and hand sanitizer in my nursing bag is really helpful. The Tide Pen is helpful when I drip milk (it stains) unhooking. The other stuff is self explanatory.

Finally I learned that setting a timer is the most important thing. Keeping a schedule has helped me build back up my supply so I can keep the baby satisfied while I am away. I have a timer that goes off every 2 hours. I labeled my timers “Pump It Up!” I haven’t been able to keep up with my two hour plan, but I have been able to maintain a decent schedule.

The final thing that has made it a little easier is taking a picture with her before I leave each morning. There’s something comforting about looking at a picture of the two of us together during the day. It tricks my mind into knowing the days are short by simply wearing the same outfit I have on in the picture. It makes my time away from her feel just a tad bit shorter.

Being a working mama is NOT easy. It’s also not the end of the world. I’ve learned to give myself grace during this difficult time. I’ve had to skip the gym, eat cold leftovers, and race between meetings/multitask like a CHAMP…but I’m doing it. I’m learning… and growing…and being stretched beyond belief. 8 weeks is NOT ENOUGH TIME FOR MATERNITY LEAVE!!!!!!!!! But, we’re figuring it out. I am grateful for an amazing husband that gives the lady his undivided attention during the day. He sends lots of pictures and tells me their plans and status throughout the day. The best part is coming home to a happy husband and a happy lady.

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