For eight months after Ms. Van Son returned to work, she parked her car in a spot facing away from the prison and toward some woods. Twice a night — around 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. — she pumped with the machine plugged into the lighter charger.
‘Tonight’s the Night’
In July 2016, another Deerfield nurse, LaQuita Dundlow, 32, returned to work after giving birth to her second daughter. Like Ms. Olds, Ms. Dundlow said managers told her to pump in the men’s restroom. She couldn’t produce milk in the fetid space. “The smell, it messed with me,” she said.
So Ms. Dundlow hung baby blankets from the windows of her Ford Expedition. Three times a day, she came out to express. Occasionally, she said, she had to explain the situation to a security guard who tapped on her window, wanting to know what was going on inside.
Sometimes, she didn’t have time to take the quarter-mile walk from one end of the prison to her S.U.V. On those occasions, painfully engorged, she would take a sterile cup normally used to collect urine samples, go to the bathroom and express milk by squeezing her breasts. Then she would hand the cup to her husband, who was also employed at the prison, as a correctional officer. He would take it to a cooler in their car.
After both women spent months expressing in the parking lot, Ms. Van Son decided she had had enough. Bone-tired and out of patience, she decided to smuggle her pump past the security checkpoint.
“Tonight’s the night,” she told herself. She brought in the manual pump’s pastel-yellow handle first. Before dawn, she got her co-worker to bring in the bulky spout. The next night, Ms. Van Son hid a number of smaller parts in her bra, and the night after that she maneuvered an adapter that let her use plastic bags instead of bottles under her breasts and walked it past the guards.
Her mission accomplished, she pumped for months in the relatively blissful privacy of the prison’s pharmacy and stored the milk in the refrigerator there. She had no trouble carting her milk out of the prison in the brown paper bags that inmates’ medication came in.
Ms. Van Son stopped working at the prison a few months later. She was never caught.
“I tried to do it the right way and I was met with zero response,” she said. “I was going to do what I had to do to continue pumping. They weren’t going to stand in my way. Period.”