Pump and Dump

She looks like her.

At first, it seemed like they’d be sisters who shared subtle similarities.

At first. Ha! Within the first few moments you laid eyes on Emmanuelle while she was struggling, Allison?

Her face – I see it. I close my eyes and can see her. That face I looked at that morning. She was at peace.

She was wearing that sweet hat.

Rowan wears the same hat now during kangaroo care. She is learning to regulate her body temperature; she is swaddled instead of having the “heat turned up all the way.” So she wears a hat while out of her isolate.

I look at her and see her … and I also see my beautiful Emme. They are sisters. I miss my Emmanuelle. I’m so thankful for my Rowan.

* Maternity leave is a doozy. I’m going back to work on Monday. Fuck, you can’t get a break for having a baby (among other “things”). “They’re” not covering me for my ante partum stay in the hospital … I guess I should have been able to work while suffering from pre-eclampsia.

It’s as if nothing has changed. Me. Husband. Dog. Beer to Numb the Pain.

Save the milk by day; dump it by night. Rowan has way too much stocked up anyway.

I’ve thought about donating my milk, but I don’t think parents would want milk from someone who’s on blood pressure meds and antidepressants.

Yesterday my blood pressure was 147/86 sans labetalol! This is a victory for me.

Now I just need my baby at home. It would be nice to feed her myself. I would love to show Rowan her room that Grandma and Papa prepared.

I would love to have my family. But, no, not me. I don’t get to have that.

* “They’re” is not my employer.

9 thoughts on “Pump and Dump

  1. I can’t believe you already have to go back to work?? That seems insane to me, you had SURGERY 3 weeks ago?! You should have at least 8 weeks from that date for just maternity leave! they are fucking you over big time! WTF! Have you looked into FMLA, the Family Medical Leave Act? It says that by LAW, all employers must keep your job for 12 weeks while you or a loved one needs medical care; most woman take it after maternity leave runs out…its short term disability.
    Maternity leave after a standard vaginal delivery is 6 weeks from delivery date; maternity leave from an uncomplicated c-section is 8 weeks FROM DELIVERY DATE, that should give you at least until December 8. You were in patient before that, BUT NOT DELIVERED. Get the doctors to write however many notes it takes, because it should like your job is screwing you big time, don’t take it, or it will never stop!
    And YES YES YES absolutely some other mama, desperate because she can’t make milk for her 20-something-weeker, would love your milk! Its preemie milk, more precious that any other milk that is banked! The vast majority of donated milk is from mothers of 6-9 month-olds, meaning its not as nutrient dense as your milk! There is a massive demand for preemie milk, all over the country and world! Most banks supply all the storage containers and everything. I can give you information if you need it. Forget about the meds you are on in terms of milk donation, trust me, it will not matter to the bank or to the moms and babies that benefit! Rowan is thriving from your milk, despite the meds you are on. The things that exclude people as donors include having HIV, TB, illicit drug use, etc, or having had massive blood transfusions outside of the US….very few meds are contraindicated.
    BP meds are the unfortunate norm for Pre-e, and it won’t be forever. Antidepressants are like insulin for diabetics, its keeps us alive and running. And Zoloft is totally safe for lactation.
    Keep pumping Allison! I know you have a lot of milk now, but it won’t always be that way unfortunately, keep pumping as much as you possibly can, I promise you won’t regret it! Rowan is going on 31 weeks, the neonatologist and nurses should be talking about letting her attempt rooting/suckling to your ‘just pumped’ empty breast very soon, I would think by 32 weeks. (reminder: babies do NOT have to demonstrate successful bottle feeding before breast!) Fill your freezer. Fill the NICU freezer. Fill the freezer at work, make them let you go home. Rowan needs the milk at least the first year of life, longer the better!

    P.S. Now that I am official, email me where you work, and I will find out the specifics related to where they have for you to pump, pumping breaks, expressed milk storage, and their FMLA stuff. FMLA does not mean you will be paid though, but in that case, you should be able to claim unemployment! Ah, the federal government, what would we do without them? Something sounds hokey, its a law for God’s sake. Technically, Chris should be allowed FMLA as well because Rowan is inpatient.
    Its federal LAW that all employers that employ a certain number of people must provide a private place with a chair, electrical outlet, clean running water, lock on the door, and lighting, that is NOT, I repeat NOT in the bathroom. Do not ever let anyone tell you to pump in the bathroom! Totally unsanitary.

    I love you guys!

  2. Like Amanda, I have had you on my mind constantly lately. Rowan will always be a reminder of how precious your short time with Emme was I’m sure. But, as you see Rowan grow up into a beautiful young girl, there are going to be soooo many amazing memories that are going to fill your heart up so much that there will barely be room for the hurt to take over. Rowan will come home soon, and when she does your world is going to absolutely revolve around her and everything she needs. Most of all she needs her momma, and you will be there holding her in your arms…right where she belongs. I can’t wait for that day for you!

  3. I really wish you didn’t have to go back to work. It’s true, maternity leave in the U.S. is a joke. No other industrialized nation cuts mothers and families no slack like we do.

    I hope once Rowan is home you are able to take more time off and continue to heal from all you have been through while bonding with her in your own home.

  4. I hate that you have to go back to work so soon. I hate that you’re dealing with so much. I am praying for you sweet friend. XO

  5. I am just now getting a chance to comment. First of all I think you are such an amazing woman. What you have been through is so very unfair and no one should have to go through it. I hope that Rowan is getting stronger everyday and I know that you being there with her and doing kangaroo care is so beneficial. I wish you and your family the best in the upcoming months and hope your daughter comes home soon.

  6. F.U.C.K.
    That is a massive burden you’re carrying right now.
    Five month ago my son was born and right after that I almost lost my life, had several big surgeries, fought for my life in hospital not being able to stand to have my son around me and it took more than 8 weeks for me to be able to hold my own baby (like for 10 seconds or something). That was so messed up and I remember feeling like shit – thinking that maybe there would be a time where I would finally be able to be the mum I wanted to be but I just couldn’t feel it. I was so desperate. And now it’s been 2 months of being able to take care of him myself and looking back now I start to see that this horrible start was part of our journey. And it has been so very healing to have him (and me….) home.
    What I’m trying to say: hang in there! I hope your antidepression meds will start to kick in soon (may take several weeks) and Jesus, your reaction is so natural! Take the help you can get and remember your are not doing anything wrong – that horrifying huge black hole? It has to be there right now. You just lost your daughter! You will have your other daughter home. Soon!
    Friends of mine had triplets in the 27th week. One died on the day after birth. She talks about that sweet girl with the twins a lot and they feel they have this special guardian angel in heaven that takes extra good care of them. I’m sure Emme is there doing just that for you all right now.

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