Saturday, June 25, 2011

Funerals, and oddly, a pumping tie-in

My grandfather's funeral was yesterday. My grandparents are no longer Catholic, so there was no Mass of Christian Burial. But they remain devout Christians, and so their pastor came to the funeral home to perform a funeral service. I much prefer the solace and beauty of the Catholic liturgy, but of course, not everyone is like me. And the service was very heartfelt and lovely.

My grandfather was a World War II veteran, and so he was buried with military honors. The honor guard was at the cemetery. They played Taps, and performed an awesome ceremony to fold the flag that had been draped on his coffin, and then present it to my grandmother. It was quite something to see.

Throughout the wake and funeral, I had the normal concerns of any breastfeeding mother: engorgement. We left both children with Mike's parents, so I was constantly filling with milk that wasn't being regularly tapped by my hungry newborn.

At the funeral home for the wake on Thursday it was no trouble. I approached the funeral director tentatively, my pump strapped to my shoulder.

"Excuse me? I have an odd request. I have a newborn, and so I have my breastpump with me..."


I was immediately escorted to a private locked room with an outlet and comfortable chairs. It was bliss.

Yesterday at the funeral, things were a little dicier. I had no opportunity to pump until after the cemetery, when we went to a local restaurant for a luncheon following the ceremony. When I approached a woman who worked at the restaurant, pump in hand, with the same request, she gave me a cross-eyed look.

"What? No. We have nothing. Try the ladies room."

Well, my pump has no battery pack, and thus requires an outlet. My pointing out that the only outlet in the ladies room was right out in the open, in the common area, did not sway her. I had to either pump there, or live with a heck of a lot of milk in my breasts.

For the first time ever in my years of pumping, I had to suck it up and pump in public. To say the least, it was awkward. Now granted, it was only ladies in the ladies room, but still. I don't usually expose myself from the waist up in the ladies room. I didn't like it, and I was so tense, my milk wouldn't let down for awhile. My mom gave me her raincoat that I could drape over me a bit, but I still felt very conspicuous in the middle of the ladies room with tubes coming out from under my handmade shroud. It was a bit freakish.

Luckily, everyone that came in must have immediately summed up my plight and ignored me to ease my discomfort. The only interested customer was a little 4 year old boy who came in with his mom. Oh well. What could I do?

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