SAVE THE BREAST MILK: THE DAY THE POWER WENT OUT
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Last week when they called for a Nor'easter, I basically ignored it. We were planning to drive to Washington DC on Friday night and I had no intentions of changing my plans. As I drove home from work on Friday, I was surprised to see that the roads were not so great. The winds were actually pretty strong. Jared and I decided (begrudgingly) to spend the night at home and head to DC the next morning. Then, around 3:30pm, the power went out.
At first, it didn't seem like that big of a deal - we have candles, a fire place, and lots of board games. Then Avi woke up from his nap and I remembered that I'm a mom. That means I have a baby to keep warm, a breast pump that needs power, and milk that needs to stay cold. Jared and I jumped into emergency mode - he started calling hotels while I packed overnight bags. We found a place nearby with two-room suites and we were able to get a good deal because it was already 5pm. We ended up having a nice little night. Avi slept soundly in the pack n' play while we ate Panera and Cold Stone Creamery in the living room. We all woke up rested the next morning, expecting that the power would be on in our home and we could get on the road to DC. But of course, that's not how the story ends.
The power was still out and we needed to leave for DC. I had to figure out what to do with my over 1000 ounces of breast milk in the freezer. They were ok at the moment; but PSEG kept delaying their timeline for the power and the idea of losing that much milk made me sick to my stomach. How many hours had I spent alone in the dark at 5am pumping that milk? How many family functions did I miss because I had to excuse myself for 30 minutes at a time? How many clogs had I endured? No way was that milk going to waste!
I jumped on Facebook and posted my urgent plea, "where can I buy dry ice?!?!" Within minutes, I was getting Facebook private messages, texts, and comments - not with suggestions for dry ice, but with offers. People were opening their homes and their freezers; they offered a hot shower, coffee, breakfast and freezer space. I was touched. I've lived in New Jersey for almost 3 years and South Orange for just a few months. In the span of a few hours, I heard from people from work, from our synagogue, from my breast feeding group, and even Facebook friends that I hadn't seen in years - all reaching out to help. And it was amazing to see the comments from other mothers - some with babies and some with adult children - who all understood the stress and struggle of breast feeding and pumping. I felt so loved, so supported, and part of a real community.
We packed up the milk and Jared brought it over to two friends' homes. Then we finished packing the car and left for DC. The power went back on that night leading me to wonder if all the fuss had really been necessary. The milk would probably have been fine, but maybe not. All I know is that I am incredibly grateful for my friends and family. Grateful for my amazing community that is both local and virtual. And grateful for my husband for schlepping milk all over town.
My personal pumping journey has inspired me to become a Lactation Counselor and Pumping Expert so that I could help other moms have successful and positive experiences in pumping. Click here to learn more.