Just after I settled into the two-person pumping room, another woman came in. I heard her unzipping her bag. I heard the weight of the pump tap against the table. I heard the click, a distinctive click that I knew to be her nursing bra unsnapping.
I turned my pump on. I waited for my milk to let down.
Then... then she turned her pump on. She turned her grating, squealing, gnashing.... LOUD pump on. It sounded like someone had thrown a wrench into metal gears.
No, it sounded like someone blending a remote control in a VitaMix.
No, no... it was the sound of a goose being strangled.
It was a sound that scared my milk away.
Suddenly her cell phone rang. She turned off the pump and spent several minutes coordinating a meeting. Thankfully, my milk let down. I continued pumping. Hurry, milk, hurry!, I thought. We don't have much time! I anxiously counted the milliliters.
She hung up her cell phone. Oh dear. Oh dear, oh dear, she's going to turn that pump on again.
And then it happened: "Uhm... excuse me?"
I was a little startled. "Yes?"
"Do you mind if I ask, what kind of pump are you using?"
"Oh, uhm, it's a Medela Freestyle" I said this hesitantly. The Freestyle is the Rolls Royce of double electric breast pumps.
"Oh." There was a slight deflection in her voice. We both know how expensive the pump is. "I feel like my pump is really loud. I think you must hear it over there. I'm really sorry"
I couldn't help but smile. "Yeah, I can hear it. But don't worry. It's totally fine."
She turned her pump back on. The dying goose continued its song. My milk got scared again.
It was time for me to go. "Have a great day" I called as I opened the door to leave, and she said "Thanks, you too".
First contact. She seemed nice.