10 years ago, I was finally–FINALLY!–about to be finished with training, and was looking for a job.
By the way, I would just like to note, as I already have to my friends and family, how it’s absolutely amazing that a person can make it to age 32, and not know how to look for a job. (also, how amazing it is that a person can be looking for a real job for the first time at age 32, but whatever) I found the whole process highly uncomfortable and nerve racking, and not just because it’s tough to find a good gig these days. But also: it’s way too much like dating! Someone is always trying to impress someone else, and someone also ends up rejecting someone else. I’m bad at rejection in either direction, so it’s torturous.
When I was 32, and looking for my first job out of training, my baby boy was about 4 months old, and I was breastfeeding. Job interviews for us docs take all day because we have to meet all the CEOs, COOs, CMOs, and CFOs etcetera, etcetera… There was one day when I couldn’t pump all day, and it was an absolute torment to my body, plus, just that one day is all it took for my body to say, “Oh, you don’t need milk anymore? Great.” and stop producing. I then swore to myself that I would pump religiously to try to get production back up to par. Therefore, faced with the prospect of a day long interview, I emailed the secretary to ask her for a discreet break so I can pump, and was assured that it wasn’t a problem.
So, there I am, meeting with all these older white haired gentlemen, one of whom is wearing a pinstripe three piece suit no less, doing my best to impress their hats off. Plans are being made: we are going to go to this other location, then meet with this other doctor, then go out to lunch, then drive out to this other town to see this other doctor… and I’m just thinking, what the hell am I going to do about my… when the CEO says, “Oh, but you had some sort of … (airquote) special arrangement?” I’m like, ummmm…. So much for discreet? But I refuse to be embarrassed, so I’m like, “yes, please.”
We go to the secretary, who turns out to be a different secretary from the one I had emailed before, and who has no idea about my (airquote) “arrangement,” so I am forced to tell her with the CEO standing right there, “I need a place to pump. You know. My breasts. And stuff.” She says she will work on it.
So, meanwhile, the CEO and I take a drive out to one of the clinics, where I’m introduced to another male doctor, and then a third male doctor shows up, introducing himself as Medical Director, and we’re all making lunch plans, when the CEO again says, “But we need to go back to the hospital because we have an arrangement.” The other physicians eye us quizzically, and the CEO explains, with a distinct apologetic air, which I rather resent, now that I think about it: “Breastfeeding.”
At this point, I give up hopes of discretion. Who are we kidding.
The one Medical Director guy says, “You’re going to breastfeed? Your baby is here?”
“No, no, the baby isn’t here…”
“Oh but you have to pump!”
“Yeah, she has to pump!”
“Oh yes, the pump…”
“My wife used to pump…”
“In my day, no one pumped…”
pump pump pump pump pump
And I’m like, yup. Pump. Still pretty much refusing to be embarrassed.
We all get back in the CEO’s car, and drive back to the hospital. At this point it’s about 1, and everyone is starving, myself included, and I’m damning myself to hell, because, honestly, the breasts seem to be behaving, and I probably could have waited, but now since I’ve already made a thing about it, I will have to follow through!
In the car, the CEO says, “Is there a specific best time for you to pump?”
I’m looking at him like, huh?
“I mean,” he explains, “Do you prefer to pump now or after lunch? How long does it take to pump?” Kind of like, what is this pumping you speak of…
I think he was hopeful about eating soon, but no such luck, because, I tell him, “I have to pump now.”
We pull into the hospital parking lot, and the two docs get out, and I get out too. It’s a dreary day, the skies are leaden, and it’s drizzling in the most unpleasant manner.
“So, how long do you need,” say the men.
“Oh, I do remember,” adds one of them, the younger one, doing the sympathetic nod, “My wife used to tell me pumping horror stories at work!” and his face assumes a dreamy reminiscent look. I think he’s trying to be supportive; he’s saying, I totally know how you feel, well, not me, but my wife because my wife totally pumped too, it’s cool…
And I say, “I don’t know, 15 min?”
“We will wait for you here.”
So, imagine this.
I am forced to go to my car, pop the trunk and pull out my pump in style shoulder bag, throw it over my shoulder, and march back into the hospital, breasts first, to find out whether the secretary found me a place to pump, under the watchful gaze of these two hungry gentlemen, who will be waiting for me in a crowded parking lot in the rain, and whose lunchtime is contingent on my pumping speed and success.
THIS is when I think I finally blushed and shrank in my suit a little bit. Except my breasts; those can’t shrink. The earth may or may not have swallowed me up at that point a little bit too.
I get a closed endo room, which is fine.
I get out 3 and 2 oz from left and right respectively.
All that for all that?
Whatever. Maybe the men found it educational.