When we got my breast pump before the bun was born, I opened the package to sneak a peek. This piece of paraphernalia would soon become intrinsic in our lives, but it could have held the Mysteries of Eleusis it was so strange to me. I felt bizarre and pretty stupid at having an inanimate piece of plastic and silicone outwitting me: I knew that the Ga-dooga horn went over my boob, but that was the extent of it. I said to my husband, "There will come a point when all of this stuff will become mundane, an everyday part of our lives," but it was unfathomable then. In the first 72 hours after the bun was born, when I got engorged and desperate for relief, my husband took the plunge and tried to put the pump together. A man who is everyone else's computer guru, a man who people call when their system melts down and they are looking at the smoking rubble, was almost reduced to tears by the pump, nearly as much a mess as I was in the front room. We called in a professional, and got a lactation specialist.
Now the breast pump(s) sit in various states of disassembly depending on which cycle they're in: washed, dirty, waiting for action. They have, as predicted, become mundane to both of us, and my husband is nearly the pump-assembly pro that I am.
The other day we were standing in the park with a couple of friends, reminiscing about our Christmas Eve spent at a sushi bar and The Two Towers. We were on a spontaneous date, almost like new lovers. I was enormous at that point, hardly mobile with sore hips and fat ankles, not a shirt left that could cover my tremendous tum. But there was still no bun. Everything was as pregnant as I was with potentiality: the crib was empty, the changing station as yet untested, bottles unfilled, the breast pump still hanging onto its mysteries. We had no idea what was in store for us. It was, as our friend pointed out, "Before Milo," as all time increments were going to be from now on. There was "Before Milo" and there is "After Milo" and everything will be measured accordingly.
The weeks and days before he was born were electric and strange, filled with an expectant air of excitement that will never be repeated. I will always know how to put together a breast pump now, and it will never be so loaded with potential and mystery and surreality as it was right before he was born. It was magic.