Boss threw me a trick question - "I need someone to go to Hong Kong, I don't suppose you would be up for going?". Nope - not until I reach the six month mark of breast feeding and then I'll cheer for myself and decide if I can handle the next six - I replied. Thinking of course if teeth develop that might cut my resolve earlier then expected. Please don't anyone warn me of how early this can happen, let me rest in my bubble.
Next question, "I also need someone to go to London" - I interrupt with, well I suppose I could manage that trip. He immediately cuts me off with saying "a ten hour flight to London, if you can't handle 14 hours to Hong Kong then..." with raised eyebrows. I must sulkily agree he has a point. I can just imagine the trip might go like this:
- Breast pump immediately before leaving for airport
- 1/2 hour drive to airport
- 1 hour wait before flight
- 2 hour flight to New York
- Breast pump in bathroom upon arrival in New York
- Find London flight and wait remaining 1:30 minutes before boarding
- During 10 hour flight pump 3 times, the last time 1/2 hour before decent
- Arrive to London, go through customs, collect luggage, catch Heathrow Express train to Paddington Station, always freak out a little that I'm getting on the wrong train.
- Arrive to Paddington Station and wait in long taxi queue.
- Take taxi to hotel
- Breast pump immediately upon reaching room
- Typically arrive mid-afternoon and don't have meetings the first day so run around London regardless of any jet lag
- Hope stress of travel hasn't reduce milk production
- During entire day of meetings at one client location, find excuses to disappear to bathroom for 15 - 20 minutes every 3-4 hours. Not to mention dragging equipment in some kind of inconspicuous briefcase or giant purse.
Honestly I can handle the client thing just fine. People are generally incredibly accommodating; it's really the breast pumping in airplane and airport bathrooms that has me feeling all uggg. Oh and the day following client visit boss always wants to shop all day long looking for inspiration in Hamleys (typically spend 2-3 hours there). Followed by at least an hour in The Disney Store, sometimes a visit to Harrod's (I'm speechless in the food and wine section every time), followed by a long leisurely look in the Nike store at all the really cool stuff they offer the UK and for some stupid reason only give us items in white because American's have no taste (jealous much?) and this all involves walking and walking while carrying breast pump equipment and trying out random bathrooms all over London. I have incredible stamina but there are limits.
Later that day Boss looked at my employee who supported our UK client during my maternity leave and says, I guess it's just you and me S! She happily clapped her hands as I did my best to not sulk at the rubbing in of my inability to go. I do love London and find this almost unbearable but not to the point that I'm willing to end my quest to breast feed baby or breast pump in bathrooms all over London. Sorry London, I'll get back to you some day. Just not again this year. Twice in one year, really, what was I thinking?