I've been away for three days and two nights...half way there. When I am busy with the conference, it's not too bad. But the down time is killer. That's when the loneliness creeps in. I miss my husband's hugs and kisses. I miss my baby's snuggles. Today, I talked to her on speaker phone and sang Itsy Bitsy Spider to her. Then she said, "mama, mama, mama..." and as she repeated it her voice changed from happy to sad. Almost desperately so. And it made me choke up. I cannot even imagine what her 13-month-old self must be thinking about my being gone. I know when she's older she won't remember that I was gone for 5 days when she was just one year old. But right now, I really wonder what is going through her head when she looks for me and I'm not there.
My mom assured me that Libby's eating and sleeping just fine, so that's a comfort. Especially since I just found out I'll have to be away again next month for a working trip. I've opted to take the late flight home after my meeting so I will only need to be away one night (two whole days). As someone who's always loved to travel...even for business...it's weird to feel this way now. But life has changed. I want to be home with my family. I want to sleep in my bed. Two years ago I would have been so stokked to be in Chicago for 5 days. But now, I'm just hoping the days pass quickly so I can pack up and get back to the airport on my way home.
Tonight, I was lucky to meet one of the women that I chat with in an online forum...we chat online daily, are Facebook friends, but we've never met in life until tonight. She lives about 40 minutes from Chicago and wanted to do dinner. So we met at a great tapas bar, had a lovely meal and great conversation. She is a music teacher who has a son who's about 6 months younger than Libby and she and her hubby were married in Hawaii, so we have much in common. I really appreciated her taking the time to come out, on a school night, and meet me for dinner. I've met some really fantastic women online and we're all friends who have genuinely supported each other through wedding planning, being newlyweds, trying to conceive, pregnancy and now, motherhood.
Planning for this trip, I turned to them for advice on how to maintain my milk supply. So far, I am pumping 5 times each day and eating oatmeal. I brought fenugeek tea, but haven't used it yet. When I pump I am getting 5-6 oz. per 10 minute session, so I feel confident that my milk supply will no suffer from this trip. I've rented a mini-fridge for my room so I can store the milk. My plan is to bring it home for the mama who I have been donating my milk to for her baby. As if pumping while away on business weren't challenging enough...with my excess lipase issue I had to bring a hot pot so I could scald the milk. I essentially came with an extra suitcase because I couldn't fit all of this paraphernalia into one suitcase along with my clothing, shoes and toiletries. But I figure if I'm going to express 100 ounces or so of "liquid gold" the least I could do is try to bring it back home! I'm armed with my TSA print-outs too, since the agents are notoriously ignorant of their own policies for women traveling with breastmilk, especially those who are not accompanying a baby on the trip. So wish me luck that I get a good agent who knows the deal and doesn't hassle me about my carry-on, soft-sided cooler filled with milk.