I’m free, but still a slave?

This week was a big week not only for the babies, but for me too. Dr. Tabor released me to drive. Mind you, I had not driven since May 16th. While I was craving freedom, it was a bit intimating at the same time. Freedom to drive meant that I would not have to bum rides to and from the NICU and I could run errands if I wanted to. I know errands sound less than exciting, but I literally have not done so much as grocery shop since May. The automatic opening doors at Target have been beckoning for such a long time. Not only could I now drive myself to Target, but I would be able to walk freely about the asiles without a power cart. Oh sweet freedom!

Before driving solo, George and I did a test run the evening I was released. We decided I better stick with the Accord since it’s familiar and I’ve barely driven the van. I really haven’t even ridden in the Accord since May either. It felt awkward at first. When I started the car, it seemed really noisy. I inquired whether the engine was okay. George assured me it was. Then it seemed to accelerated slowly, but again George told me it was fine. After a while it began to feel “normal” again. Since Wednesday I’ve gotten back in the groove so you don’t have to worry about me running you off the road or anything.

But wait….I’m not totally free of my shackles just yet. I am now a slave to the Medela Symphony pump. Since delivery day, I have been tethered to that darn piece of equipment every three hours, at 12:00 am, 3:00 am, 6:00 am, 9:00 am, 12:00 pm, 3:00 pm, 6:00 pm, and 9:00 pm. To keep track I have an alarm set on my phone which I now loathe. The buzz of that thing takes me away from snuggles with my babies, a savory meal, a shower, you name it the Medela takes me away. That thing buzzes and I have to answer. If I happen to go out for a drive, I have to return to the loathesome pump before my three hours are over. After a nice little date with good old Medela, I have to wash everything only to begin again. The worst is the nighttime when I am trying to steal away a few minutes of sleep and buzz it goes. One night it sounded at midnight, but I apparently wasn’t jumping into action. George nudged me gently and said, “Babe, you need to go pump.” In a sleepy stupor, I retorted, “YOU PUMP!!!!” Oh goodness…I think I have a love/ hate relationship with my Medela Symphony. I do love that it is helping me nourish the babies, but I really do hate being at it’s mercy. Don’t get me wrong, I know that when the babies are home I won’t be getting much if any sleep and obviously I won’t be getting out to Target either. I’m not totally disillusioned (probably a tad disillusioned though). It just would be nice to enjoy my freedom to drive a bit while the babies are in good hands.

Oh, Medela Symphony how I hate you!

The good news is that pumping on a strict schedule allows me to almost always feed all four babies without requiring any donor milk. A few nights ago they had NO donor milk! You can call me Elsie now.

At the same time, when the babies are home they will be there to tell me why the heck I’m up and at least can snuggle for a bit. The Medela is a bit um, mechanical. When my 3:00 am duty calls, I think of my sweet babies and how well they are doing. That makes it all worthwhile. Everyone has grown a good bit. Here are the current weights:

Rylin 3 pounds, 13 ounces (before we know it we will have a four pounder on our hands!)

Harper- 3 pounds, 11 ounces

Sydney- 2 pounds, 12 ounces (come on, Sydney let’s break 3 pounds!)

Mason- 3 pounds, 6 ounces

Rylin, you make it all worthwhile!

Harper, for you I will pump too!

Oh tiny Sydney, if it helps you grow, pump I will!

Mason snuggled up with Mommy. He’s a good reminder of why I pump.

 

hugs!

 

Amber

26 thoughts on “I’m free, but still a slave?

  1. I hear you…I HATE pumping and am so dreading that routine. But as you say it is so worth it. Just hoping that once they get home I can breast feed during the day so I don’t have to pump. Anything to get out of it would be great! The kids look amazing and look so cuddly in their little clothes. Keep up the good work momma.

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    • Krista, I am with you. I hope they can latch because I don’t think I cn keep up pumping when they’re home. Yay for you passing 30 weeks!

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  2. First of all, congratulations on your beautiful babes. I found your blog through Texas Tales and have been following your pregnancy from Seattle. I only had one baby at a time but I hated that pump too. However, was known to pump while driving several times. Does your pump have a car adapter? Great work on feeding all of your babies.

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  3. Oh, how I hate pumping! So, so much. The three hour schedule thing was harder for me to get used to, though. That rhythm will rule your life for quite a while to come. It’s confining and freeing at the same time. It sounds like you and the babies are doing great!

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  4. So glad you are getting so much milk for them! That is wonderful! Once they are home it will be so much easier. The pump can be put away and you can nurse those sweet babies! It’s great to see how much they are growing!

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  5. I hated the sight of the Symphony as well. Pumped for my boys entire NICU stay, on the same 3 hour schedule. I always thought it was so unfair that most new moms begin their up every few hour nights at 40 weeks, but preemie parents begin them at 29, 30, 31 weeks, before babies are even home! I got 11 extra weeks of up every 3 hours!! Blech!

    I must say, returning the rented pump to the hospital was a HAPPY DAY for me!!

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      • Formula unfortunately. They never learned to latch and I was too anxious to get them home to try too often in the NICU (they struggled with bottles and introducing breastfeeding would have just slowed them down further). I think I continued pumping for a whopping two days after they were both home. I got too overwhelmed. Plus I didn’t make remotely enough milk for two babies so it just didn’t seem worth the effort once they were out of the NICU. My goal had been to get them out of the NICU on breastmilk, then see what happened from there, and we did that.

        But really, I have two healthy growing boys and that’s all that matters to me!

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  6. Ugh, pumping is so ANNOYING! I did it consistently for the first five weeks then I started pumping every 6 hours, then 8 then 12 and now only once about every 24 hours. My milk was never in high supply and since I wasn’t able to sub in that much of it and still rely so heavily on formula, I decided it wasn’t worth the stress and demand to keep up with the rigid pumping schedule. Tapering off has helped me avoid any pain and discomfort as my milk dissipates. It makes me kinda sad but they are drinking 2-3 oz every feed apiece and there’s just no way! Plus when I’m home with them, I don’t even have a spare 30 min to be tethered to that thing, it just became a huge hindrance. Okay, vent over—glad you are able to keep up with it but try not to let it rule your life! 🙂 Sending a box of preemie clothes and diapers your way today! 🙂

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    • Hi Amber-
      LOVE the rant! Only another quad mama would understand. My milk supply isn’t bad for now, but as their feeds increase I won’t be able to keep up. I am willing to see if they can learn to latch, but if they don’t I’m not going to try to force it. And the reality is that I won’t have time to pump when they are home so if they don’t latch we will have to rely on formula. I plan to pump while they are in the NICU and go from there. I figure if trying to pump or breast feed makes me nutty and haggard it is not worth the benefits. THANK you so much for sharing with us! You are too sweet. 🙂

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    • Hi Amber-
      LOVE the rant! Only another quad mama would understand. My milk supply isn’t bad for now, but as their feeds increase I won’t be able to keep up. I am willing to see if they can learn to latch, but if they don’t I’m not going to try to force it. And the reality is that I won’t have time to pump when they are home so if they don’t latch we will have to rely on formula. I plan to pump while they are in the NICU and go from there. I figure if trying to pump or breast feed makes me nutty and haggard it is not worth the benefits. THANK you so much for sharing with us! You are too sweet. 🙂

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  7. Amber, I am so thrilled to see how your sweet babies are all growing so much. You are already doing such a great job as a new mom! love you all.

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  8. My sister pumps for her baby, and in between pumps she just rinses everything off quickly and puts the collector bottles and other pumping implements (the things that go on your nipples, haha, I can’t remember what they’re called) in the fridge. I think she washes them once every 24 hours. I pumped for my first baby, and wish I had thought of doing this!

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  9. This post made me laugh. I HATE being a slave to the good ole symphony!

    I’m sure you already have one, but if you don’t, the hands free pump bras are AMAZING. They really save my sanity, and now I can hold and bottle feed a baby while I pump. And call me crazy, but I had an hour drive to the NICU every day, so instead of pumping at home for 45 minutes before leaving, I would pump in the car with a hands free bra and nursing cover on the way there, no one had any clue! It gave me more time with the babies because I could pump on the way back, too!

    We are working on transitioning all babies to the breast now and it is going pretty good, so its definitely possible. It was like one day they couldn’t latch and the next they could (3.5 months actual/1 month adjusted)… If I get to get rid of this pump I will be one happy momma!

    You are doing a great job! Your babies are so adorable and I am so happy they are doing so well!

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    • Ashley, so glad you can relate (like a good quad mama)! I am impressed with your multi tasking abilities. I have the hands free bra, but it gives me troubles. It tends to be either too loose or binding. I am such a novice still ;). It is impressive that you continued to pump while waiting for them to learn how to latch, praying I can be so patient! You and the quad crew rock!

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