Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Pump and Circumstance

We officially graduated to flying status with The Chubs. She handled both trips like a pro. In fact she was amazing. She was a quiet observer for most of the time, taking brief intermissions to nap until the flight attendant blared her shreiky voice over the intercom. The things I feared the most turned out to be no cause for concern at all including getting her off her nap schedule for one day, taking a small baby on the plane and getting "the look" from other travellers as they carefully avoid the seat next to us, major blowouts at 32,000 feet and a fussy inconsolable baby. All of these were a non-issue.

What WAS an issue however was finding a place to pump. I say again, this world is not friendly to exclusive pumpers. Especially the Phoenix Airport. If you recall I had my car adapter with me so I could pump in the car. Great plan right? I agree. Except this doesn't account for a sleeping baby next to me who then needed to eat along the way, and me trying to cram In-n-Out into my mouth like nobody's business so I could get lunch before our flight, and arriving at the airport only 40 minutes before our flight because we mixed up the time.

I figured I would be able to find a family restroom quickly before the flight took off but we arrived right as they were beginning to board and I had things to do like get a cup of warm water to heat her next bottle, and rinse out the one we used on the way to the airport to feed her. Security was no picnic either. Using at least 10 tubs, and pulling out stored breastmilk and butt cream so they could "inspect" it with their fancy little swatches to make sure I didn't want to blow up the plane with my tiny 3 month old on it took a good solid 10 minutes of the 40 total we had since we had arrived. They also needed to "inspect" my pump. There is no shame in motherhood.

At the ticketing counter they also like to see a birth certificate of the lap child that's traveling with you to make sure they are under 2.

Maybe The Chubs looks wise beyond her years (either that or the hair threw them off) but she still wears newborn clothing. I guess they can't even profile babies anymore. She could be the world's tiniest toddler midget muffin, so I suppose they need to account for that to avoid a lawsuit.

So there I was boarding the plane, knowing that I needed to try to figure something out. I assumed there were no options on board so I would just have to wait until we got to DIA. Then after loading the majority of the plane, another attendant informed us over the loud speaker that something was broken on the aircraft and we would be delayed an hour. The Chubs miraculously slept through this announcement but I knew this was my opportunity to try to get somewhere to pump even though I hated the thought of waking her, knowing she would be missing two naps that day.

Feeling optimistic, I slowly passed off the Senorita to my husband (she didn't successfully make the transfer unfortunately (No, we didn't DROP her, I mean she woke up)), grabbed my pump and exited the aircraft. I was on a mission to find a family bathroom. First exit I forgot the plug in adapter (I only had the car one) so I had to go back on the plane again. Second, I forgot my "cover". Third time I came to find out they only have 1 family restroom in the entire airport and it was too far away for me to try to make it there and back in time. I talked to another female attendant about my situation and we finally concluded the only option was for me to use the public restroom because they have "outlets next to each sink". Oh what fun that would be. Occupying a sink in a fairly busy bathroom to pump in front of everyone was not my idea of a solution. I know if I was "really desperate" (which I was) I should've considered this option, but even though I mentioned there is no shame in motherhood, that was just a general statement that does not apply to electronically pumping your boobs in front of hundreds of strangers. Oh the looks! Oh the laughs! Oh the humility!

I entered the plane for the fourth and final time (they must have thought I was a terrorist lugging my "secretive" equipment off and on the plane over and over again) and resolved to attempt breastfeeding the Chub Muffin. This would kill two birds with one stone considering that her milk was still an uncomfortably cool temperature since we hadn't had time to refill the cup with warm water a second time and the water really doesn't get all that warm in those bathroom in the first place.

So you know how I said The Chubs didn't fuss at all? Well I lied. The only time she fussed was with my pathetic attempt to breast feed her. You would think I had chinese water tortured her (either that or made her watch a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie). I decided after about 45 seconds that this wasn't a good idea and wasn't working at ALL so that mission was aborted. In the end the repair only took about 35 minutes and we landed about the time I thought we were originally going to land and God bless DIA, they had a family bathroom waiting for us right in the terminal about 200 feet from our gate. It had an outlet, and a changing table so I was a happy girl and so was my daughter who had pooped twice on the flight.

Next time I will be much more prepared and bring a manual pump in case I'm in a pinch. They look weird and I don't really know how to use one but I'll figure it out before we travel next.

I have much more to tell about our trip but I figured I'd break it up into different posts so that not everyone has to read through the details about my boobs. I'm sensitive like that.

1 comment:

  1. Wow- what an ordeal. I give you lots of credit for successfully getting through everything you needed to do to take her on the flights. I can't imagine.