Working mamas push the limits of where, when, and how to pump milk for their babies every day. A few months ago, I began to think of all the crazy places I’ve had to express milk for my children. Here was the list I could remember:
- Public restrooms EVERYWHERE, including while sitting on the floor of stalls because my pump-outlet cord wasn’t long enough for me to at least sit on the edge of the toilet seat.
- In the car while traveling.
- On the floor of a car in a mall’s parking lot with a coat over my head. The mall’s restroom was closed, the stores not open yet, and I had no batteries for my pump so I had to sit there and express by hand with a coat over my head, hoping that people walking by wouldn’t notice me and call Security.
- In the “on track” ambulance at the busiest location during a NASCAR race.
- In the back of an ambulance going to and from calls.
- Into public restroom sinks because I had no other option (you know, the bathrooms that have everything in one room so you can lock the door!).
- In an office cubicle.
- While discussing EMS related things with 5 male coworkers. In person. Thank God for nursing covers–they work great for pump covers, too!
- And also the “normal” places like my living room couch.
While some of these places seem appalling and shocking to some, I’m sure, it all comes down to this: you do what you have to do. I thought I had reached the climax of best, worst, and most ridiculous places to have to pump at. And then there was last Tuesday.
My partner and I were attempting to grab a quick lunch when our tones went off and dispatch requested that “the on duty crew call the control center.” This generally means a suicide attempt, domestic dispute, or drug bust. I called and was told that we needed to move to standby at a meth lab take down about half an hour from our station. With no time to call in another crew, I grabbed my backpack and we jumped in our ambulance.
We arrived at a nice home with a well manicured lawn that also now included 15 state trooper SUV’s, a handful of expensive other “private” law enforcement related cars, and a few fire trucks, a decontamination trailer, and dozens of people in suits, turnout gear, space like suits (decon), uniforms, and camouflage (apparently the Special Op’s team from a few hours away). Not knowing what to really expect at such a shin-dig, my partner and I were surprised to learn that this would be an all day event. So, I threw my nursing cover on, plugged in my pump, and made milk for my baby while watching the take down of a meth lab.
No one got shot, no booby traps hurt anyone, and I eventually left unscathed to call in a different crew to cover the remaining hours of standby. And with all that said, I’m pretty sure I have now pumped everywhere possible.