Milk Stories

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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Milk Stories: 11,000th Milk Donor Jessica & Baby Girl

 

jess-milk-donorOur daughter was born at 26 weeks and 5 days at 2 lbs 4 oz. Much to everyone’s surprise, she came out crying, giving me confidence that she would be alright! I didn’t get to hold and breastfeed my baby girl right after she was born like I’d always imagined I would. Instead, a great NICU team worked to stabilize her and then they took her to the NICU which would be her home for the next few months. I got to visit her a few hours later. She was so tiny and had so many things attached to her. I was so unsure of what our new little family’s future would be, but I knew that God was taking care of us.

The doctor told us that they would want to start feeding her through a tube in her mouth as soon as possible. They told us breast milk, as opposed to formula, is extremely beneficial because it lowers her risk of infection, and it’s easier for her under-developed tummy to digest. She only needed 1 ml to start, but being a preterm mother, my milk would probably not be coming in for a few days, maybe even a week. We were told about the option of donor breast milk and we agreed, knowing that it was the best thing for our daughter.

hazel-nicuI started pumping the day she was born and thankfully, my milk came in a couple days later! She only ended up needing donor milk for her first couple days of life, but we were so grateful that a mother out there had donated her milk so our baby girl could have the best start possible to life outside the womb. I quickly started producing much more milk than she needed and I decided to look into becoming a milk donor. Because she was born so early, my milk is different from normal term milk, and I knew that it could help some other preemie get the best start to their life outside the womb.

It’s now 11 weeks later and our little girl is still in the NICU, but along with bottle feeding, I’m also finally getting to breastfeed her! She weighs 7 lbs 9 oz and she is doing so well. So far she has no major complications from being born early. We’re looking forward to bringing her home in the next few weeks! —Jessica

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Milk Stories: Monica & Catalina

monica-and-catalina-milk-storyOur daughter, Catalina, was born at Denver Children’s Hospital on February 21, 2016. She was diagnosed with a Congenital Heart Defect called Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA). Catalina had 2 open heart surgeries and fought long and hard in the Cardiac ICU.

On April 12, 2016, we decided to take her off life support as her heart was failing. During this time, I was able to collect an abundant amount of milk as Catalina was not able to feed. After she passed, donating my milk was my only option.

It gives me warmth to know that other families are benefiting from my milk. This organization went above and beyond to help me achieve my goal of donating my milk. Everyone was pleasant to speak with and so helpful. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

—Monica

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Milk Stories: Erin & Baby Boy

milk-story-erin-and-baby-boy-10-16

I felt so rewarded being able to donate milk.  It was a goal of mine since I started pumping once I went back to work.  I am a NICU nurse at PSL and I see the benefits donor milk has on our babies.  I wanted to contribute to the process.  After I donated and I was giving a baby a feeding of donor milk, I would wonder if some of my milk was being given to them.  It is truly a great thing set up for moms and babies.  I feel so proud to have been a part of the process.  A very rewarding feeling for sure!

—Erin

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Milk Stories: Tammie & Baby Boy

baby-vander With my first baby, he enjoyed a healthy, super active pregnancy, born on his due date with a natural drug-free delivery. Though I had many struggles that first-time moms have with breastfeeding, we had a very successful 15 months or so of nursing and pumping. Sadly, because I didn’t seek out more information, I ended up tossing a few boxes of milk away in the trash and down the drain because they were getting too old and I never thought I could donate while on any medication.

Fast forward to baby boy number two, the last baby my body will carry. He endured a rocky, scary, inactive pregnancy, on bed rest in the hospital, due to a complete placenta previa and frequent bleeding. He was born via a scheduled C- section almost four weeks early with a highly-medicated delivery. He was unable to nurse for the first two and half months of his little life. Also, when he was born, we had to decide if we were going to use donor milk or formula for the first couple days of his life. We gratefully chose donor milk, all the while thinking of and prayerfully thanking the mothers gone before us to provide such wonderful nutrition during a stressful time for us.

Since he was unable to nurse, but my milk came in quickly, I faithfully pumped every three hours, 24 hours a day, for two and a half months. I wondered if he’d ever learn and have the strength to nurse. The little guy only needed maybe one third of the milk I was producing and so there went our deep freezer space. This time, determined to find a way to donate, even if I had to go off my daily medication, I contacted you lovely people at Mothers’ Milk Bank. To my surprise, my medication was no problem and I made my first donation after the easy screening process.

With every drop-off, I felt such privilege and gratefulness that I had this milk to share. I haven’t been able to donate blood (because apparently, it’s frowned upon when one passes out with every donation of blood), so I have been thrilled to be able to do this instead—which is why it makes it all the more sad that our time is ending. It’s been a wonderful journey and knowing I can donate definitely motivated me at times to pump when I probably could have gotten by without doing so. I knew a little inconvenience for me went a long way for someone else. What an honor for you ladies to work for such a life saving organization! Thank you for expressing your gratitude and kindness towards me!

—Tammie

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DONATE MILK. SAVE BABIES.

Do you produce milk in excess of your own baby’s needs? If so, consider donating to Mothers’ Milk Bank. Your extra milk could help babies in NICUs all over the country. Just one ounce of milk can feed a micro preemie for an entire day.

CONTACT US

MAIN:

P: 303.839.6782

F: 303.839.6783

5394 Marshall Street, Suite 400
Arvada, CO 80002

 

MOTHERS' MILK BANK:

P: 303.869.1888

F: 303.839.7336