Everett, my little fighter, made his way into the world, but, unknown to me, I wouldn’t find out until days later that we even had a son. It was touch and go for us. I had preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is one of the leading causes of maternal mortality worldwide and we survived, but we had a long fight ahead of us.
I hated milk banks.
I hated milk banks for denying my son donor milk.
I hated them for the baby girl in the isolator [incubator] next to my son’s, fighting for life.
I hated them as I listened to the nurse telling that girl’s crying mother that she was denied donor breast milk.
I hated them upon awakening from a coma to find out my baby hadn’t had a touch of breast milk.
And I hated knowing that it would drop his chances of survival.
I hated them for denying my son a fighting chance—a chance that donor breast milk would have given him….
I remember standing over his isolator soon after coming out of my coma and realizing that one of the only things I could do was pump milk. He was denied the milk from the milk bank, but I wouldn’t give up on my sweet boy. I was going to do all I could. The only thing I could: pump non-stop.
Even though I had so much hate for the milk banks, they helped shape my life and my drive to give my premature child the best start by pumping my milk. It hurt to know they had banked milk sitting in a freezer, just feet away from my son, and he was denied it. It wasn’t being used and there were no other sicker babies at the time. The milk was just sitting there—a freezer full. It helped push me into pumping as much as I could whenever and wherever I was.
Lucky for me, my husband and my mother in-law took turns pumping for me while I was in a coma. They supported me in a way that, still to this day, it’s hard for me to even wrap my mind around. My husband—the rough, tall, military man—pumped his wife’s breasts while she lay in coma to help their baby. The wife that may not make it, but he still did it in hopes I would pull out and be able to help fight for our son.
Well, I made it! Because of the love of my husband and the support of my mother in-law, we beat the odds. My son was on my milk in the NICU and we never looked back.