Hi! Thank you for letting me share my story! A few weeks after my husband and I were married in the summer of 2010, we found out we were expecting. After a quick calculation, we learned we had a honeymoon baby on the way. As fall gave way to winter and my stomach was protruding, we learned our baby had a cystic hygroma and most likely would not survive to full term. It was the most devastating news we could have imagined. Within a couple weeks of the diagnosis, we lost our honeymoon baby.
Within 2 months, we were blessed a second time to learn I was pregnant again. We proceeded cautiously yet positively as our hearts were still broken. At my 20-week appointment, I was diagnosed with Vasa Previa, which is fatal to the baby and possibly the mother is not caught before labor begins. We felt so lucky that we caught it in time, but now lived in constant fear of me going into early labor...which is exactly what happened at 24 weeks. I was immediately hospitalized to stop labor and put on bed rest until my scheduled c-section at 36 weeks. At 36 weeks, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby boy.
I felt as though my body had continually failed me on this journey. It couldn't carry a baby and then it threatened the life of our second baby. I wanted to try breastfeeding, but if I had so many complications during pregnancy, would I really be able to sustain a life with milk produced from my faulty body? I was bound and determined to try.
Like most new mothers, my milk was slow to come in. With our son being a bit premature, he would get tired quickly from attempting to nurse. The lactation department at the hospital was excellent at getting me familiar with the pump and giving me positive feedback as I attempted to feed our little boy. Their advice, let him attempt to feed, then pump after every attempted feeding. I took their advice and even after going home, I continued to pump after each feeding. For those first 5 weeks, if our son wasn't nursing, I was pumping. It was time consuming, it was exhausting, it may have even been a little bit overkill, but I had one heck of a supply in our freezer and for the next year and a few months, I never had a single issue nursing our son. FINALLY, I felt like my body was doing what it was meant to do!
After our son grew tired of nursing, we had roughly 6 months worth of frozen milk in the deep freeze. I began thawing it and mixing it in with his food and giving it to him in a sippy cup, as I wasn't about to let my milk go to waste. At this time, the thought of donation never crossed my mind.
As time passed we entertained the idea of having another baby and thought surely a third pregnancy would have to be easier than the first two. I am happy to say it was free of any complications and in August of 2013, I delivered a perfectly healthy baby girl. Within 10 minutes of her being born, she was latched on and my milk was ready to go. It was like my body remembered exactly what it needed to do.
My husband and I had recently heard about milk donation through the hospital and knew this was something I was meant to do. My body had fed our son, was feeding and our daughter, and I had enough of a supply to share it with others. I was able to let go of the feeling that my body had failed me, as it could now not only help our children, but other babies as well.
I had such wonderful support from so many people as I first started down the breastfeeding/pumping road. Once we got home, my husband was there to bring me food, drinks, chapstick, eye drops, everything I needed while I was hooked up to my pump for weeks after our son was born. The ironic part, my husband works for a formula company (free formula) but he was so supportive of me breastfeeding, even though it was more work for both of us. After I went back to work, my office had a lactation room set up and I was never made to feel as though I needed to hurry or that I was an inconvenience to them by needing to pump 3x a day.
We won't chance fate by attempting to have any more children, but I would donate without hesitation if the chance came again.
Thank you for letting me share my story!!