Milk Stories: Katie & Max

Milk Stories: Katie & Max

katie-harmon-baby-maxIn September of 2015, my husband and I were on pins and needles at my 20 week anatomical ultrasound, anxious to see our second baby wiggle on the monitor and see if our little peanut was a boy or a girl. We were thrilled to discover we were having a second boy, but devastated when Max was diagnosed with a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. Max’s CDH was very severe, and his chances of survival after birth were very low. Because of the severity of his case, he qualified for a two-part fetal surgery that was risky, but could improve his outcome.

Max underwent his first fetal surgery at 28 weeks gestation at the Colorado Fetal Care Center, and his second only hours before his birth on New Year’s Day 2016. After birth, Max was very sick, but fought very hard in the NICU at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

After Max’s birth, I immediately began pumping, as well as katie-harmon-baby-max-and-familycontinuing to nurse our 2.5 year old, who I had breastfed throughout Max’s pregnancy. I quickly was producing much more than Max or his big brother needed, and was anxious to become a milk donor. In the early months when Max was very sick, it was empowering to pump and donate. Unable to hold, comfort and nurse my own child, I felt like I had purpose as I made milk for other babies.

Max endured 9 major surgeries and countless ups and downs during what became an 11 month NICU stay. Over the course of Max’s journey, I have been honored to donate just under 10,000 ounces (78 gallons!) of breast milk. Max is finally home and we are close to celebrating his first birthday, a milestone we were not sure we would see. I am still pumping, and love providing my boys, plus the sweet little recipients of my milk, this precious “liquid gold”.

—Katie

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