Well here I am, about to throw my husband under the bus. It's taken three years for me to be able to talk about this.. just kidding.. kind of.
Three years ago, my husband accidentally unplugged our deep freezer and I lost hundreds of ounces of frozen breast milk.
He didn't even realize it at the time, so it wasn't until I went out to grab some milk that I realized it was ruined.
You see I had been pumping non stop for the first three months of my daughter's life. Since she was in the NICU I had to start pumping right away. I was planning to put her in daycare so I kept on pumping even once we were home and breastfeeding was established. I was able to build up quite a stash this way. I ended up working part time from home and not needing daycare, so I stored most of the milk I pumped. I figured I had it as insurance if something happened to my supply and used it occasionally to give her a bottle and run errands.
Once my stash got too big for the fridge freezer we bought a nice medium size deep freezer for our garage. And it was great! I was able to stock up on food and hold tons of breastmilk in one place.
Then, my husband developed a wood working habit (I mean hobby) and the garage became slightly unusable. I did not go in there for awhile and would park outside the garage. Since I was not going in there I started to forget to check the light on the freezer. I also cut way back on my pumping since I realized I would not need so much milk. Any milk I pumped usually went to my regular fridge and freezer. I was even considering donating all the extra milk I had if I never needed it.
One day right before a beach vacation I went out to check on the milk and grab some for our trip. I figured there might be drinking involved on our trip and wanted to have some back up milk with me. As soon as I went into the dark garage and peered into the freezer I knew something was wrong. It smelled and the milk was liquid! Who knows how long it had been that way. My husband still doesn't know when or how he unplugged it but he knows he must have been the one.
Devastated is understatement! Anyone who has pumped knows how hard it is to lose pumped milk. But this wasn't even one spilled bottle! It was hundreds of ounces. After calling him in a fury and losing it, then calling my mother in tears, I started to grieve all the lost milk. It sounds crazy to someone who has not pumped, but it was kind of a grieving process to let it go. I was very upset and concerned about how we would get rid of all the milk. It smelled horrible so my husband did not want to put it down the drain (plus it would take forever) and I couldn't bear the thought of just throwing it in the trash. Since we were leaving on vacation the next day we left it in the freezer (with it turned on) and he ended up taking it somewhere to dispose of it once we were home.
This facebook post from August 2012 in a mommy group I was part of sums it up!!
Ladies help me! I had a huge deep freezer stash of milk from over three months of pumping. I stopped pumping last month because I felt good with the amount I have. I use it for occasional nights out or errands and thought it was ins in case my milk ran out or I wanted a vacation or something. Well I went to grab some today and the freezer is off. The milk is all ruined. I am devastated and want to kill my husband bc I am pretty sure he unplugged it and forgot to plug it back in. The freezer is in our garage which he uses as a work shop. He is always moving stuff around and working on things and recently installed new lights, I am sure that is when he unplugged it. When it's clean I can park in there and always checked the freezer light, but for the past month he has been working on a project and I have not been in there at all. Who knows how long the freezer has been off. I am just so upset. I know this is not the end of the world but how do I get over my anger.. ugh
First let me apologize to my husband but he told me I could post this! As you see I was pretty upset and the ladies in my group were a little worried about me.
Why am I sharing this story? Well, mostly to remember and partly in solidarity with anyone else who has lost pumped milk. When it occurred I remember searching the internet looking for a similar story to make myself feel better and I could not find one! I know there must be others out there. What a shame to lose all that milk.
The only good outcome of this loss was it made me realize how amazing pumping all that milk really is, and I could do it again if I set my mind to it. I eventually built up a new much smaller stash (my baby was six months at this time and breastfeeding was going great). No sooner than I built up my new stash then two months later we were threatened by Hurricane Sandy. I was so worried about a power outage and losing my new milk. I did some research on it and will give some tips in an upcoming post about power outages and frozen breast milk.
In the meantime, have you ever lost pumped milk? How did it make you feel?