Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pondering My Bosom

My bosom is on my mind again of late (not that it hasn't been ever-present in my thoughts since July 17). This is because I will be leaving Miles in 2 weeks to attend the AWP conference in Denver. I'm speaking on a panel there! I should be excited! I'm on the program! But yet, I am terrified.

My poor, defenseless baby will be home alone with his father (and Ninny) while I am off gallivanting and pretending to be a grown-up. What will he do when, every few hours, he wants to nurse? I know he'll be getting nourishment from a bottle while I'm gone and won't starve to death. But what about his emotional needs? That boy loves him some nursing time.

He sits down at my breast and pats it with both hands, kneads the extra flesh like a baker. He rubs my bosom, pats it with his little (sometimes-ice-cold) fingers, and looks up into my eyes as if to say, "thank you for letting me be near this wondrous bosom, fountain of all that is delicious and good for me." He makes oinking sounds and slurps.

Then his eyes roll up in his head and he falls asleep.

Will he forget how to do this while I am gone? Will he stop wanting to do this? Worse, will my bosom forget how to offer this experience? I spend many hours each day wondering what will happen to my nipples while I am away (will my hard-earned tough skin chafe while I'm gone?) or whether my milk ducts will explode and I'll die of engorgement.

I think about what bra I should wear while I'm out and about. On one hand, I have no need to wear a bra that flaps open with the flick of a finger. I'll get to keep my shirt securely fastened for, like, 8 hours at a time if I want. But what other choice of lingerie do I really have? It's not like I have a heap of F cup bras sitting around! And, really, F cup is me in denial and not wanting to purchase a better-fitting G cup brazier. I might as well leave my nursing bras at home and just bring a bucket truck.

Sidenote: I was out for a walk today with some friends and I possessed the smallest bosom of our party. Boy, did I feel dainty!

Among all this anxiety over what will happen to my bosom during this adventure lies the need to express my milk. I am going to have to use that damn breast pump again, many times each day. I spent a long time on the phone and internet securing a plan of action to get my milk back home with me (thanks, TSA!). But the bottom line is that, even though this trip will afford me uninterrupted sleep and the freedom to wear a turtleneck, I just cannot escape the constant presence of breast thoughts.

I'll have my insulated lunch box and ice packs with me at all times, my bag of pump parts, baggies of milk, and always the worry about weather I'll get mugged and someone will steal my liquid gold. I won't need to rush home to a hungry babe, but I'll be waiting in line for the lactation rooms both to relieve my exploding udders and to remind my bosom that it's not off duty yet.

I'm at a stage in my nursing experience where I think the process is awesome and totally rewarding. But I am still slammed to my knees at the tremendous power of Miles' need for me. As much as I want to pretend I am still sort of the same person, can still engage in lively discussions of pedagogy and networking and contract negotiations, it all slides away every few hours when my body reminds me of its main duty right now.

I know I say this many times every day, but I just had no idea what I was getting myself into.

Now, off to ice my armpits. I'm having a supply surplus this evening because someone went to bed early.


p said...

pump and dump while you're gone to keep flow but not have to carry it back. thats my plan for travel if/when - although i'll probably take baby and hubs with me in september on my 2-3 week trip

PeaceLoveMath said...

what's icing your armpits do??

question 2: did you actually pump enough to last Miles for the entire time you'll be gone? How long is the trip?

I don't think Miles will will all come back to him the minute you get back!

Katy said...

i don't think i could bear to pump and dump! i am such a bad pumper, i feel like every single drop extracted from my boobs had better get in MW's mouth or face my wrath.

PLM: I was not able to pump enough (30 ounces per day for 3 days of being gone). So MW will be drinking either formula or some cow's milk while I am away. Despite all the fenugreek, hypnosis cds, etc. I just cannot let down for the pump. It all goes back to being barged in on, I think. My boobs are traumatized.

Jane said...

OMG! You are on the program in the same text size as Sandra Cisneros!