Vintage Thursday: The Breastpump and the Intern


In honor of my second tour of duty as a nursing mom, I thought I’d repost this entry about one of my most memorable moments of motherhood to date.

April 2005

What do you do when you accidentally show your breasts to an intern? Do you confront the situation, or do you pretend that the whole thing never happened? That is what I had to deal with today, and it was a bad scene.
It was one of those days when you get up on time (early even), but you are still running late. Twice a day, I close my office door to pump breast milk for my daughter. I usually pump at around 9:30, but this morning I didn’t get to it until 10:15. I had a meeting at 10:30, so I quickly closed the sliding door. I was moving too fast for my own good, because I forgot to turn the lock. About 30 seconds into the process, I heard a soft knock immediately followed by the sound of the door’s metal wheels grinding on its track.
“NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!” I started to yell. My back was to the door, and I turned slightly so that I could scream at my unwelcome guest. I was trying to cover my breasts and juggle the pump’s suction cups at the same time. The cups loosened from my boobs, and milk leaked all over my pants. The door was cracked about 6 inches, and I looked the intern in the eye. Damn, it wasn’t even a woman. He turned his head and quietly closed the door. I ran to lock it. I tried to pump some more, but I was so keyed up that I barely got a bottle’s worth.
I have no idea what he saw, and I really don’t want to know. As far as I’m concerned, I may as well have been naked on a pole. I made it my business to steer clear of his corner of the building, and he didn’t make any efforts to find me either. Needing a bit of comfort, I went to two women in my department. “I need a hug,” I wailed; then I told them the details. “Well, it could have been worse,” one said. “At least you didn’t have your shirt off.”
“I hear you embarrassed one of my guys,” the intern’s supervisor said to me later in the afternoon. Excuse me? I was the one who had her shirt hiked up. I know he was kidding, but the humiliation was still fresh. “I mean, he was red-faced embarrassed. He’s young, and he had no idea what was going on,” he continued.
Now, I realize that I forgot to lock my door, but wasn’t it being closed enough? Am I the only person who thinks that it is rude to do the “knock and open?” He probably thought that I was on the phone or something, but the purpose of knocking on a door is to get permission from the person on the other side.
My boyfriend, Mike, called to ask about my day, and I filled him in. He was ready to put on his shining armor. “Are you all right?” he asked. Do you want me to come to your office and talk to him?”
“No, honey,” I said. “I’m sure he wants to forget about the whole thing as much as I do.” Besides, Mike is a bodyguard. I have a feeling that his “talk” would be anything but that.
This is the latest in a string of incidents when my privates have been on display. Once you find out that you are pregnant, your body is no longer your own. At each doctor’s visit, you are examined from head to toe. While I was in labor, everyone from the doctor to my cousin thrice-removed walked in and out of the hospital suite as if it were the living room. And every now and then, I’ve even had to nurse my baby in public. So what’s one more person, I suppose. But to ensure that the number stays to a minimum, I made a “do not disturb” sign for my office door.

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