Pumping on Campus: Part I

Oh pumping. Though this is my second go-round with nursing (I nursed Dot until she was twenty-two months), this is my first time being away from baby for significant periods of time. Still, needing to pump away from home is a rare occurrence (luckily!) and has only come up during the weekend seminars discussed in my previous post. Other than that I use the Medela electric pump we bought off Craigslist one or two times a day. I am absolutely blessed with a good supply of milk and proud to say our freezer is stocked.

The first time I needed to pump on campus M&M was five weeks old. There is a dedicated nursing station on campus. Last year it was open but halfway through I noticed a code-entry lock was put on it. Knowing I’d need to make use of it if I was to be away from the baby for an entire day so soon after delivery I set about to obtain the code.

Last year there was a flier on the door with a number to call if one needed to gain entry. This year, when I specifically arrived on-campus early and took an out-of-my-way detour, it was gone. Okay, the task gets a bit more difficult.

I call the student help desk, conveniently located in the same building as the nursing lounge. The young boy on the other end doesn’t even know the room exists, much less how to get my hands on the code. He suggests I call the childcare center. Ummm, really? But I try. No one picks up.

Next I call the Disability Resource Center, as I had good luck with them helping me secure a more comfortable chair for classes at the end of my pregnancy. The lady told me to call the Student Health Center “because that’s where all the nurses are.” Um, no. Nursing…as in breastfeeding?


She suggested I call the Women’s Resource Center. I can’t exactly explain why I didn’t call them from the get-go. It is rather obvious, but my experience with their services has been more along the lines of rape and domestic violence support. At first the person on the end of the line was unsure of what/where I was talking about. Then I re-explained and got the code. I got the code!

I double-checked that this was the code. No, it doesn’t change every term. Yes, that’s always been the code. Okay. I breathed easier.

My long weekend came. Mid-day Saturday my boobs are full and I have a break from class. I trek out to the parking garage to get the rather large black bag from my car. It’s pouring. I trek back to the lounge. I enter the code. It doesn’t open. I enter it a few more times. Nothing. I press random numbers. Nope. DAMN. EFF.

I’m pissed. Like, livid.

It should NOT be this hard. I enter the adjoining bathroom and set up in the handicap stall. Oops, no plug-in. That’s fine, I have a battery pack. Nothing (apparently you’re supposed to put batteries in it?). I cover up and step out in search of a plug-in. Nothing. I take the pump back to my car. I go to Starbucks and, on the way back to class, stop at the Women’s Resource Center to complain and seek help. They’re closed. I’m soaked. Engorged. And I wasted my whole break.

The next day I just brought my handheld pump, the kind I used with Dot. I quickly saw why I never built a supply with her. Those suckers are slow. And they take a lot of work! My hand began cramping up after a few minutes. Pumping can be such a pain.

Take two on the pumping was yesterday, with a recount to come.

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