Paul and I after the reception

Ah, another Monday. In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m not a big fan of Mondays. It is the first day of the work week, which means that my husband has to go to work for five days. Today signified the end of our wonderful weekend alone together… I had so much fun with Paul!  The hotel was great, and of course, my husband brought in all our gear.

Including my breastpump.

My big, bulky, cumbersome, hospital-grade breastpump.

He walked through the lobby, arms laden with suitcases and bags, with this huge  gray case that says “MEDELA” on one side and “LACTATION SERVICES” on the other. And it was rattling with every step he took. Loudly. I could see all the bystanders gazing curiously at this cumbersome container as he walked by. He might as well should have hung a flashing neon sign around his neck that said “BREASTPUMP COMING THROUGH” because I swear, it seemed a sea of people parted to make room for him and my breastpump. He stopped briefly to converse with a friend of ours who also attended the wedding.

“Yeah, this is a breastpump,” Paul said nonchalantly with a little smile as his friend looked curiously at the glaring words “LACTATION SERVICES.” I could feel everyone nearby who was staring at my breastpump look from the pump to my boobs.

Suddenly, I felt very self conscious.

Which reminded me of when I went to the hospital to rent my breastpump. Nathan had to stay home with Paul because I couldn’t take him to the hospital with me, so I was on a schedule and in a hurry. But I became lost in the maze of hospital corridors, and the doctors, nurses, and anyone who looked like they knew where they were going were all walking so briskly that I couldn’t stop them to ask for directions due to the fear of being trampled on like a mere mouse in a herd of elephants. Somehow, I meandered my way onto the maternity floor. When I exited the elevator, a group of guys were loitering near the door to the maternity wing, probably chatting about their newborn babies or whatever it is that loitering guys do outside a maternity ward. I looked to the left, then to the right, trying to get my bearings.

“Can I help you?” one of the gentlemen asked.

“Um, sure. I’m here to rent a pump,” I stated matter-of-factly, forcing myself to appear confident and cool. My forced boldness, however, was immediately shattered when looks of confusion clouded every single one of their faces.

“A pump?” he asked.

My heart sped up. Sweat dotted my brow. Did I ever mention I have anxiety issues sometimes?

“Yeah. A… breastpump,” I replied. Only, in my mind, it was all in slow motion. It didn’t seem like I said a breastpump the way a normal person does… it seemed to come out thickly, like someone had halfway pressed the pause button on my speech, making the world come out slowly: Brrrrrreeeeaaaaassstpuuuuuuuummmp.

They all looked from my face to my boobs.

“Oh, go through that door and go right,” the guy said, looking a little off guard. This is silly, I thought. Why am I so scared to say “breastpump?” Should I call it something else, like “boobpump?” Or what about “lactation device?” That was when I made up my mind that I would call my breastpump exactly what it was and I was going to force myself to get comfortable saying it.

After I picked up my big, bulky, cumbersome, hospital-grade breastpump, I hoisted it over my shoulder and began the trek back to my car through endless hospital mazes once again. Only this time, I stopped anyone who looked like they knew where they were going.

“Excuse me, I came here to rent this breastpump and I can’t find the parking garage,” I said to one marathon-walker. She looked at me rudely and pointed vaguely in the right direction, eyeying my giant breastpump.

When I came to a thick crowd of bystanders who wouldn’t let me through, I said, “Coming through with my breastpump, folks.” They immediately parted and made way for me and my breastpump. Almost everyone I passed looked at my big, bulky, cumbersome, hospital-grade breastpump case with the words “LACTATION SERVICES” printed glaringly on the outward side. I fought the urge to turn the case around and have the words “MEDELA” facing outward instead.

So my husband was less embarrassed than I was, but it was still funny watching him carry in my breastpump and all the strange looks he got for doing so. I love that man!

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