Pump it Forward?

Imagine this scenario, if you will.

You’re a brand new mom. You want to breastfeed desperately, but you don’t have enough milk. And/or your baby hates to nurse.

Perhaps it’s just genetics. Perhaps it was the emotional break you experienced after he was born (i.e. not being able to sleep at all for those first six days) that stunted your supply and turned off your baby.

Either way, you’re riddled with guilt. It’s all your fault. Everything.

Along comes first-world health care insurance, and a wonderful lactation consultant who understands your distress. She arranges for you to rent a hospital-grade pump – for free – from an outside home-care company. The goal is to increase your supply, but if that doesn’t happen, at least you can pump every last drop of milk in your body to feed your baby.

You know you would not have continued to breastfeed without that pump. Even at eight months, when your supply has nose-dived and you think about quitting constantly, you still hook up to the pump 4-5 times a day.

Every month the rental company calls to pick up the pump. Every month you call your main insurance company to ask for an extension, which they grant.

In October, the calls stop. You figure your main insurance said, “Hey, stop bugging her. We’re going to approve it every time.”

In January, your health insurance changes. You re-read your pump contract, which requires you to alert the rental company as soon as you switch carriers. With trepidation, you call.

You: Hi, I have a pump that my previous health care company arranged for me to rent for free, but I’ve switched insurance.

Lady: Oh, OK.  We’ll arrange for a pick-up.

You: I’d like to inquire about renting the pump on a monthly basis, as well.

Lady: What we’ll need to do is pick up your pump, so that we complete that transaction. Then we’d rent you a new pump under a new contract. Let me pull you up in the system……Wait, it says that you purchased the pump in October.

You: No, I still have it.

Lady: … N0, the computer indicates this pump was a rental but was then sold…..(her voice changes). I think you’re just forgetting. You purchased this pump, remember?

You:…Um…I forgot?

Lady: Yes, you forgot. That’s what happened. You own the pump now, you can do whatever you want with it.

You: ….Um, okaaaaay…..

Lady: I’ll indicate in the computer that your insurance has changed. And that’s all. Is there anything else I can help you with? No? OK, have a nice day.

After the conversation, you tell yourself that you’ll only keep the pump until you finish nursing. You can’t NOT take advantage of this stroke of fate, right?! At that time, you’ll call the rental company to return the pump and hahahaha wasn’t it funny that the computer said it was sold.

But then you think about the good you could do by loaning it out. What if there are moms out there who also want to breastfeed and encounter the same problems, but don’t have insurance or enough money to buy a pump? Imagine all the women that could be helped, the babies that could be fed, just because a rental company (which isn’t poor by any means) made a mistake.

But, isn’t that wrong? Isn’t that stealing, no matter how much you Robin-Hood it up? Is that the kind of example you want to set for your child?

Well, what would you do? Would you pump it forward?

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4 Responses to Pump it Forward?

  1. Ash says:

    That’s precisely what I’d do. I’d call the company one more time (when you’re completely finished with the pump) and check again that your account is “paid in full” to CYA. If they say that you’re all square, then loan it out to whatever new breastfeeding moms come into your life.

    • Jerri Hådding says:

      My darling Jess,

      When love and compassion, mixed together with a so strong commitment for the well-being of your baby, have given you the wisdom and courage and strength to continue the use of this pump and THEN the insurance carrier CONFIRMS your commitment, well, I believe that at the best level they are able to operate at, your health server ALSO wishes that you “pump it forward”- As you so well understand, there are SO many other mothers who do not have the “medical advantages” which you have had.

      Keep loving, darling, and do what your heart celebrates as right!!!!!

  2. Jules says:

    I’d do what Ash would do. Except I’d also ask for something in writing, if possible. My first pump was loaned to me by Molly. I will be forever grateful for that. And I loaned my pump to my sister, who didn’t really use it, but I hope she will loan it to whomever wants it, and will use it.

  3. Emma says:

    This does not jibe with ANYTHING I have ever seen about insurance companies, but I wonder if the insurance company had a rent to buy kind of agreement with the company? After you needed it for so many months, they had paid enough that it became yours?

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