Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Amusing Post

The Amusing Post

This was supposed to be the amusing post, the one where I describe life with the pump.  The breast pump, that is.  How 8-12 times a day I assemble, attach, pump, disassemble, wash, rinse, sanitize, air dry, and take milk inventory.  Vials of milk that have never been in the freezer get a green sticker.  Vials that have been in the refrigerator for 48 hours have to be put in the freezer, where they can stay for six months.  Unless they have an orange sticker, which means they have already been in the freezer and can’t go back.

But the only vaguely amusing thing about the whole process is the thought that runs through my head as I turn the dial of the pump.  It’s Christopher Guest from the Princess Bride as he tortures dear sweet Westley in the Pit of Despair.

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He switches off The Machine, picks up a large notebook and pen, sits in a chair. The NOISE of The Machine subsides. Rugen opens the book to a blank page.

             As you know, the concept of the
             suction pump is centuries old.
             Well, really, that's all this is.
             Except that instead of sucking
             water, I'm sucking life. I've
             just sucked one year of your life
             away. I might one day go as high
             as five, but I really don't know
             what that would do to you. So,
             let's just start with what we
             have. What did this do to you?
             Tell me. And remember, this is
             for posterity, so be honest --
             how do you feel?


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in anguish so deep it is dizzying. Helpless, he cries.

Count Rugen watches the tears, then starts to write.


The next person who tells me, “If it hurts when you pump, you’re doing it wrong,” is going home with a shoeprint on the forehead.  Seriously.  For those of you who might not know how tender your “mommy parts” get during the early days, even an air current at room temperature is painful.  Life-sucking pumping machines even more so. 

In closing (and with regards to the last post), I’d like to say that I know the image of a mother sobbing over her son’s bed in the intensive care unit as previously depicted was a bit of a downer.  But it’s important to remember that, in addition to the fact that it is a bit of a downer to have your kid in the NICU (FYI, the twins are doing “pretty well, considering”), I also have those raging post-pregnancy hormones that make one cry at everything from crying because you forgot to TIVO Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab to crying because you forgot you don’t have TIVO.

So I thought you might like to know some of the other stuff I have wept about lately:

Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #2

Learning that old time radio shows used to ask folks at home to sing along

Not being able to track a UPS package

Forgetting my water bottle at home (Luckily Matt was there to say, “Hey, it’s OK, we can turn the car around and get it.”)

The weirdest one: uncontrollable sobs at hearing Matt describe the ending to a movie that I had seen (and HATED) but have no recollection of. 

And finally, from the inside of a bottle cap of some fancy tea leftover from our Christmas picnic, “We must be willing to let go of the life we’ve planned to have the life that is waiting for us.” (E. M. Forster, sniff, sniff)

© 2010 Janine Kovac 


  1. No apologies needed for "downer" report. It's real life. No use sugar coating it. I've been looking for updates on how the twins are doing. I'm praying for you and your family. That calm that came over you before the birth? IMO answered prayers.
    I would SOOO love to see photos. Grandma H to Maria and David

  2. Oh the nips will toughen up soon!

  3. what does your pump say to you or am i alone on this one? seriously, it "said" (whispered) the same phrase over and over all day and all night when i was pumping with the twins...i'd post what mine exclaimed...but its more like something you would hear from a drunken sailor vs. a milking machine.

  4. C'mon Janine, who DOESN'T cry when they hear Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto #2?? I cry EVERY time. :-) But seriously, you have been a complete trooper throughout this whole journey and provided a sense of humor that that is incredible, given all that you've been through. You are truly an inspiration.
    You already know that I think you are AWESOME, but now, even more so. :-)
    Lots of love and thank you for sharing your journey with all of us! Take care and keep up the strength and hope, because everything is going to be just fine. :-)


  5. Now we're all crying--because you're crying, because we empathize, because you're so funny, because we also cry for apparent "reason!"

  6. I mean for NO apparent "reason!"

  7. I love your sticker system for the milk!! So darn organized. Glad to hear twins are doing "pretty well," even if it's "considering..."

  8. To clarify: it's not my sticker system. Actually, it's not even my refrigerator or freezer. It's the hospital's. The bottles, the breast pump, even the stickers are all from the hospital. I just follow the rules!

    (The boys are getting a couple of milliliters of milk every 3 hours injected directly into their tummies, Michael gets 2, Wagner 1. They also get breast milk for "oral care" cleaning out the mouth. They like their oral care and often suck the milk off the swab.)

  9. I hear you on the pump and how much it can hurt. When Stella was in the NICU I was practically pumping my nipples right off. (Later, I realized that I had the pump set to high, which made me cry.)

    I'm a friend of Kara's and I've been thinking about you and your little ones. I'm sending hopeful thoughts and wishing you the best (and that your nipples feel better soon)!