It was my 27th birthday and I had big plans to celebrate with friends for the first time since my youngest son was born. We were going to have dinner and adult conversation over a couple of glasses of wine. I was very excited. My son was three months old and exclusively breastfeeding at the time, so I had been relying on my breast pump to make sure that he had enough breast milk stored in the fridge to get through Mommy’s big night out. I had the best breast pump. It was an electric model portable pump with adjustable suction and speed controls. I had received it as a gift for my baby shower and absolutely loved it.
I woke up that morning in a fabulous mood because it was my birthday. I went into my five-year-olds room to wake him up, but he wasn’t there. I walked into the kitchen to discover that he had attempted to make me cereal for my birthday breakfast and had dumped all five bags of breast milk that I had stored up for his brother all over the kitchen floor. It was one of those moments when you don’t know if you want to laugh or cry. He was so sweet standing there surrounded by breast milk, 2% milk, and frosted flakes proudly holding up a half filled bowl of cereal and wishing me “happy birfday”. I cleaned up the mess and came up with a plan to pump several extra times that day to replace the spilled milk.
I went into my office to get my breast pump and as soon as I opened the door I was greeted by pieces of shredded plastic all over the floor. I was horrified when I realized these were the remains of my beloved breast pump. There under my desk sleeping peacefully was our French Mastiff, Ziggy. The perpetrator of this horrendous crime.
I started to panic. I wanted to immediately go back to bed. I had only been up for fifteen minutes and my birthday plans were already ruined. I couldn’t leave my baby with a babysitter and no breast milk. I couldn’t have a couple of glasses of delicious Rose, knowing there would be no stored breast milk to replace the milk I would have to pump and dump if I did.
After a few moments of sulking, I decided to collect myself and run to the store for a replacement pump. I knew that other women had breast pump malfunctions all the time. I had to quit acting like this was the end of the world. I feed and clothed both children and finally got them loaded into the car. We drove to the nearest Walmart with the intent to purchase a new breast pump. I put both kids into the cart and made a beeline straight for the baby department. To my dismay, I found that Walmart was somehow sold out of Breast Pumps. They didn’t have a single one, not even one of those manual breast pumps that looks kind of like a medieval torture device. I told myself that the Target across the street would have breast pumps and headed back to the car.
When I arrived at the car, it wouldn’t start. Happy freaking birthday to me. I spent the next hour in the parking lot at Walmart with a three-month-old and a five-year-old waiting for my husband to come and help us. The unruly preschooler jumped around in the back seat as I breast fed the baby in the front seat. People kept walking past my car giving me dirty looks. I covered his poor little head, despite the fact that it was June and like 100 degrees outside.
I called my best friend crying. Tears streaming down my face. She offered to let me use her breast pump. She also had a three-month-old at home. I declined because I know that the FDA considers breast pumps to be single-user devices, because there is no way to really clean and disinfect them between users. She laughed at me an explained that she had a spare pump that she hadn’t used yet. She dropped it off at my house before I even got home and completely saved the day. We still occasionally laugh about my terrible, horrible, really bad day when the dog ate my breast pump.
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Tiffany O’Connor is a mom to two amazing, energetic, and fearless boys. She is married to her high school sweet heart and has three college degrees. Her hobbies include watching TV shows about zombies, hiding in her hot tub with a bottle of champagne, and writing all about her misadventures parenting in a “man cave” at #Lifewithboys.