This post also appeared on www.capecodonline.com/blogs in the opinion section of the Cape Cod Times, a division of Ottaway Newspapers, Inc.
I may be risking a divorce by telling this story, but it’s too good to pass up. I knew parenthood would place me in situations I never prepared myself for, and sure enough, one presented itself last night.
So MJ and I packed Will up yesterday to head to Norton to visit my parents. The town election was yesterday and my father was running for Town Moderator, so we thought we’d give him a little support. Knowing we’d be away from home for about 5-6 hours, we decided to give Will a bottle of formula before we left. She also pumped a few ounces of breast milk in advance so she could have it for later and avoid having to breastfeed him in public. I’m quickly learning that moms are constantly thinking 10 steps ahead of dads when it comes to traveling with a newborn. When I go somewhere I think about what I need for where I’m going. MJ on the other hand, has become a strategist. She calculates how long we’ll be gone, when Will was last fed, when she’ll need to feed him next, whether she should pump or breastfeed and our diaper bag is packed to the hilt because we are prepared for every possible scenario while away from home.
But I digress…
So we gave Will the formula before we left, knowing he eats about every 90 minutes. And sure enough, about an hour and a half later he woke up and we gave him the bottle MJ had pumped earlier. But then a funny thing happened. Will slept. And slept. And slept some more. Pretty soon he had been sleeping for more than three hours which is unprecedented. We were able to go out to dinner with my mom and brother and enjoy a meal in rare silence as Will peacefully slumbered away. As we left the restaurant and headed to the polling station to hear the election results, we were basking in our good fortune when all of a sudden I heard an “Oh shit!” from the passenger seat.
I was going to ask what was wrong but one look at my wife told me all I needed to know.
Let’s see now, how can I put this delicately? For those who may not be aware, when a mother is breastfeeding she needs time in between feedings for the milk to replenish itself. But if you take too much time…well…let’s just say your cup will runneth over. And so even though we were enjoying Will’s longer-than-usual nap and its accompanying silence and peace of mind, MJ also neglected to “pump & dump” her milk. Think of it like a dam on a river. If you don’t have a release from time to time, you’re going to have a flood.
So I’m driving down Route 123 and MJ is hurriedly trying to locate her breast pump. Not the super-duper electronic breast pump that resembles a small suitcase we have at home. That’s too cumbersome to bring on a trip. So instead, we brought the dinky little pump you have to operate by hand. Sitting in the passenger seat with her shirt lifted up and her nursing bra flaps pulled down, MJ is frantically trying to use this archaic pump to ward off the drippy mess slowly staining her clothes and possibly the car. Thank God we tooks hers and not mine.
And so that was the scene as we pulled into the parking lot filled with dozens of people waiting on the election results. My wife flashing her funbags, breast milk going every which way and all the while she’s pumping her little heart out. It was quite a scene.
But then she complained she wasn’t getting enough suction and the pump wasn’t working, since her arms were tired. She looked at me as she said this and immediately I knew what she was getting at.
“You want me to pump your boobs, don’t you?” I asked incredulously.
It just so happens the school we were at was where we first met in the sixth grade, and it’s where I took her in 2005 after I asked her to marry me as we danced in the parking lot during a snowstorm. Now, three years later, we were back again. Except this time we had an infant in the backseat and I was furiously pumping milk out of my wife’s ta-tas like someone trying to inflate a bicycle tire. Finally the two of us just looked at each other, took stock of the situation, and cracked up laughing. The laughing subsided slightly when I began making “moo” noises during the pumping, but still…that’s the hardest we’ve laughed in about a month and it felt great.
By the time I was finished pumping I felt like I needed a cigarette. Seriously, that’s the closest I’ve come to any kind of intimacy in months! Such are the woes of pregnancy, childbirth and taking care of a newborn. It just goes to show you how drastically things can change in such a short amount of time. If you had told me a year ago that I would end up in a parked car in a semi-deserted parking lot touching my wife’s boobs, I would’ve thought it was my birthday and I was getting lucky. But now, it’s just another day in the life of a new dad.