Friday was my first day back at drill after a long hiatus. I was a little worried at how it would all work out, so Carson and I headed down a week early to get him accustomed to a schedule. I didn’t sleep much Thursday night with Carson squirming beside me, so when my alarm went off at 0500, I had been awake since 0423. I did manage to nurse Carson before I handed him off to his Papaw. Since I was running early, I decided to treat myself to a non-fat latte from Starbucks. Aaaahhh…my first coffee in weeks. I could have drunk a gallon.
The training meeting began at 0700, and I was already feeling the need to pump, so I was hoping it wouldn’t be a long one. Since I had been gone for a while, they were glad to get me back. Not so much because they missed me, but because they had been short officers! Right off the bat, we were short personnel to run the weapons qualification ranges, so I was nominated to fill in as a safety officer on the pistol range. No problem. We only had 5 firers, and they’re good shooters–it wouldn’t take long. I’d be able to pump before and after the range. I just needed to let my leader know. I pulled him aside after the meeting (by this time the girls were really full and starting to get uncomfortable) and explained the situation. It was a little awkward trying to explain what I needed to do without using the word breast, but I managed. Something about saying the word ‘breast’ to someone who outranks me by two grades… So, it was decided that I would just run back and forth as needed. Cool. I had already decided that the female locker room attached to the latrine would be my best option for at least some privacy. Before I could head back there, however, I needed to get some admin stuff finished. Just as I was finishing getting enrolled in the distance learning portion of my captain’s career course before my admin NCO left, I got the phone call that I was needed at the range control safety meeting. Great. So now I’m ridiculously full of milk, and I only have one set of nursing pads. As soon as I sat down at the meeting (number 2 of the day, are you keeping track?), I was informed that I had been bumped to OIC of the range. Not a big deal, since all the planning and paperwork had been done. Easy. Finally, the meeting was over (I was dying by this time), so I headed back to the armory. Amazingly enough I had relative privacy and was able to pump without interruption. I thought about just leaving the pump set out so I wouldn’t have to repack everything every time I came back to pump, but for some reason I repacked it, just leaving the cord plugged in. Now I just needed to go secure a weapon, find someone to carry it to the M16 range for me (can’t carry weapons in personal vehicles..for good reason), and rush out to the M9 range in time to meet our hot time.
I ended up canceling the M9 range (that’s another story), but I still had to qualify with an M16. Normally I’d say with my M16, but apparently I no longer have an assigned weapon in our unit due to some changes that were made while I was gone. By the time we got going on the range, though, it was time to pump again! I let the OIC know where I was going, and headed towards the POV (privately owned vehicle) parking lot–about 300 yards away. Needless to say I was sweating a little more than profusely by the time I made it to my car. When I reached the armory, I grabbed my pump from our drill hall and headed to the locker room. Uhm, did I miss something? Where I had been pumping 3 hours ago, there was a construction site. I needed to find a new place to pump, and quickly. I came back to our drill hall and ran into our supply sergeant who was just locking his office. I told him I would lock up, but I needed his office for a while. At least I was close to the fridge.
After pumping, I headed back to the range. I borrowed a weapon from one of my soldiers, shot 6 rounds at the zeroing target and decided it would work as long as I aimed low. I knew I wouldn’t shoot great, but I could qualify with it, and that’s all that mattered. It was hot, I was starving, and my only option was an MRE (meal ready to eat). Normally I don’t eat MRE’s unless I’m in the field for an extended time because they’re high-calorie (2000-3000 cal each), but I hadn’t brought anything else, so I found a spot on the ground and inhaled chicken and vegetables with pasta. If you’ve never eaten an MRE, you’re not missing much in the way of gourmet cooking, but they’re not as bad as you’d imagine. As everyone else prepared to move over to the qualification range, I headed out to pump again. This time my commander noticed I was turning rather red, and since he knew what I was going to do, he gave me a driver to drop me off at my car. I didn’t fight it. I just said, “thank you, sir!” On my way back to the armory (did I mention it’s completely across post from the range?), I racked my brain trying to come up with a private location to pump. There was not a single soul in our drill hall, and every empty office was locked. Luckily the conference room was not. Pump location number 3 for the morning.
I arrived back at the POV parking lot and hiked what was now nearly a half mile to the qual range. At least there were bleachers in the shade on this range. Lactation + sun + humidity + work = dehydration. I had drunk an entire Camelbak full of water and then some, but I was still lagging. Amazingly enough, I managed to qualify my first try using someone else’s weapons, and then it was off to pump again.
I was able to use the conference room again, and by the time I finished, the soldiers were coming off the range, so I waited there at the drill hall. We were scheduled to conduct night vision drivers’ training, but it was canceled for weather. Thank goodness, too, because I was one tired cookie.
I arrived home to an already sleeping Carson, which was a little disappointing because I had missed him all day, but at least it gave me the opportunity to shower and eat dinner. After I finished washing all the bottles and storing all the pumped milk, I finally crawled into bed at nearly 10pm just in time to nurse Carson. He slept great until 0200. Then he wouldn’t go back to sleep. I tried every position, and I kept dozing off just for him to wake me up again. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore. At nearly 0400, I carried him to mom, woke her up, and said, “here, take Carson. He won’t sleep, and I have to get some rest.” I went back to bed and slept like the dead until my alarm went off at 0515, when I promptly panicked for a second before I remembered I had handed Carson off to mom. I went in to check on him, and she told me that when I handed him off last night, his diaper was soaking wet and full of poop! Once she had changed him he went right to sleep. I guess I was more tired than I realized because I never checked his diaper–I just dreamed that I had. I felt horrible–poor Carson had just been trying to tell me to change his diaper, and I ignored his cues because I was so tired. Lesson learned.
Since this is so long, I’ll make it a series. Right now it’s time for bed.