Today I parted ways with a dear friend. We only shared 2 weeks together but that friend was with me during some of my loneliest, darkest, and most desperate days. It was small and yellow and at times a bit needy, but it caught my tears and fed my baby.

It was my breast pump.

I’m sure I must sound crazy. I wasn’t expecting to be emotional or to get writing inspiration from getting rid of my pump. But today as I drove it to its new home I teared up. I looked in the rear view mirror at my almost 3-year-old little boy and thanked God that he was here with me. My ornery, stubborn, “busy” (as well-meaning shoppers at the grocery store like to call him) and hilarious little boy was a surprise from day one. We were perfectly happy with the boy and a girl we already had and decided to be done having babies. A few weeks before my daughter turned one we found out we were wrong. Baby #3 was on the way. He made his entrance into this world 4 weeks premature. I was totally unprepared for the Nicu life. I also had 2 small children at home that I was trying to balance.

I still look back on that time and have no idea how we made it through. Some days the only time I was able to see my son was after my kids went to bed. My husband and I would take turns making the drive into town to spend a few hours with our boy. There were several nights I remember not leaving the hospital until well after 2 in the morning. For 2 weeks that pump was my constant companion.

For 2 weeks…

There was no baby waking me every few hours to feed, there was only my alarm clock.

There was no sweet smelling new born to hold and rock and snuggle, there was my pump.

There was no calling to dad for assistance after a 3am blow out or a massive spit up after a feeding. There was only a nurse on the other end of the phone assuring me that my sweet boy was sleeping or eating or being changed.

There was no cute new nursing cover to use while I fed the newborn while we did our first Halloween as (what was supposed to be) a family of 5 as a family of 4. There was someone on the phone letting me know they needed more milk at the hospital.

There wasn’t a fun family gathering for baby’s first trip to the grandparent’s house. There was a failed test at the hospital letting us know that it would be another week before we could share that time together.

So many times that pump filled the place where my baby should be. It was there. It became the closest thing I had to my new son when I just wasn’t able to be with him. So now that I think about it maybe I’m not that crazy after all. Maybe today I said goodbye to a friend that had my back when I needed it the most. Maybe my mama heart is starting to heal and letting go of that pump is just a step in moving on. It served its purpose and now it’s done.

Maybe this birthday I’ll be able to focus on the good, on the time after the homecoming, the days where we finally were able to be a family of 5 without any extra equipment tagging along.

Cari McCullough

I am a lover of Jesus, a wife and a stay at home mama of three. I am constantly learning and growing and doing my best to figure out this life I've been given. I'm also a food allergy mama and expert label reader. I love to spend time with my friends talking and laughing over wine and Mexican food.