Downfall of a working mom: The case of a missing Valve

So I said to myself it wouldn’t happen. I bought all the supplies I needed. I dutifully did a checkpoint assessment of each day’s items. I arranged things to travel the night before. I bought extra supplies. I labeled, arranged, put away, organized everything and at one point last night was really feeling like “Supermom” in that – in the absence of my husband, who is on a business trip till this evening – I managed to pump all day, pick up baby, come home, do laundry and feed baby, work out with our trainer, eat, feed baby again, massage and bathe him and put him to sleep, fold previous loads of laundry, and get all the bottles ready for the next day, along with my lunch . . .I was pretty darned proud of myself. This morning things went equally efficiently, I assembled my breast pump, put all items in the bag, got out the coolers and put my bottles in the cooler bag, and got out baby’s bottles for his milk supply for the day. We got to his daycare at 7:15 and I fed him a bit there and by 7:30 I was on my way to work. Arriving at my office I found that my workplace still hadn’t scheduled me a pump break, and I resolved to be as efficient as possible with my morning’s patients – something that I’ve never been good at doing; I always spend a lot of time with patients.  So I see my patients and step by step get through each problem, I’m keeping up with the patient flow decently well and never got too far behind, even with the twins who had recently been hospitalized and only spoke Pushto, and the follow-up visits I hadn’t seen before, etc. Then all of a sudden it was 10:30 and it was time to pump.

So I headed to my boss’s office, where I usually set up camp, got the pumping parts all together and in full view, and then sat to pump.

But nothing came out.  I adjusted the bra, the flanges, the speed of the pump. Was the tubing plugged in right? But the pump seemed to be working and all of a sudden it hit me.  No valves.

No valves on my pump.

And I hadn’t packed any backup supplies in the car.  Darn it!

Tears befell me. I frantically looked up places to buy pump parts but Ameda parts unfortunately aren’t available at Targets, I would have to go to a hospital women’s supply store – which fortunately was a few miles away, but I couldn’t leave at 10:30 a.m. Not with patients waiting. So I sped my way through patients, completely engorged, frustrated, stressed, worried that this would affect my supply, then at 10 minutes to twelve sped my way over to PA hospital (crying once during my drive), parked, picked up the valves and sped back to the hospital.

Thankfully at least I had a set of micro-steam bags in my pumping bag. This saved me because I could sterilize the parts – at least to the best of my ability, when I got back.

And here I am, 10 minutes into my pump session, haven’t eaten, lunch break gone, and it’s time to work again.  Gotta shut off the pump and thank goodness that all worked out. But never again. Tomorrow the extra supplies I have, as well as a backup manual pump, are going into the car.

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A pediatrician. Now turned first-time mom. Venting and giving you all the wisdom I acquire over the days . . .

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  1. […] resources available at the right time.  E.g. Always keep spare pump parts with you – see this blog post. ‘Nuff […]