Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Poem written from a donor mom...because they're more than donors but my friends.

"Milk mommies" 
By Melissa

Something you said in your status inspired this one back in early Dec.  You were just thanking all the mommies who donated milk and saying how touched you were :) 

To my daughters' milk mommies -
I can't thank you enough
I know expressing your milk
Can be tiresome and tough.
But they have been so blessed,
Because you've shared so much -
Each time they get their fill of
Liquid gold, I am so touched!


Just one I wrote to help *** & *** with their reading etc. ;) And **** is utterly fascinated by "babies in bellies" and "mommies milk" since she still remembers nursing.  I can't remember if I told you but I weaned them back in September.  So bittersweet. :( I wish I didn't have to.  Hope you enjoy... 

I know three butterflies
You can't help but adore
They live in a state
That is just next door

To ours-in Pennsylvania,
Live Cally, Alexa and Paige-
To their mom and dad,
They are all the rage!

Kara couldn't nurse
Her three butterflies
But she worked very hard
To find them the special prize

Of milk from other mommies-
They call it liquid gold-
For of the health benefits
She and her husband
Were helplessly sold

After all-who's the designer
Of milk flowing from the breast?
Is He not the one
Who alone creates the best?

What He made is better
Than anything made by man-
It shines bright next to anything
You can find in a can.

Mr. Corey and Mrs. Kara
Came to  visit us one year
With their oldest daughter Cally
And Alexa, their other dear.

We couldn't see Alexa yet-she hid
In her mommy's snuggly womb-
But the knowledge of her presence
Caused her parents to loom
Around mommies with extra milk,
If any was willing to share,
Knowing that other formulas
Never could compare.

So when Mommy was still nursing
Her oldest girl and boy
She decided to do something that
Might give Corey and Kara joy- 
She expressed some milk,
And gave them what she could
For their second butterfly,
So Alexa could have good food.

And since then, both
Alexa and Paige were blest
By many other moms
Who gave them their very best. ~ Melissa

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Donor appreciation

Lets Talk Donor Appreciation

14 month old Paige enjoying a bottle of donor milk
Your donor doesn’t donate for appreciation.  But pumping sure can get discouraging.  If you’ve ever pumped, you understand.  Better yet, pumped with low supply, is even harder.  Have you ever heard of the saying, “it’s the little things that count”.  Well, that statement is true.  It is the little things that count.  No you can’t possibly pay back your donor.  But you can show your appreciation for what she has done for your little one.  Being thought-ful means that exactly...full of thought-for others! It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.  Maybe a little time and creativity!

Webster’s dictionary describes throughtfulness as, "having or showing heed for the well-being or happiness of others and a propensity for anticipating their needs or wishes." That means, giving them what they need to make milk sharing more enjoyable for the both of you.  Milksharing is a two way street.  You can be a giver or a taker.  Which one are you?
Whenever I am out I am always thinking about my donors.  “My donor would like that” or “My donor’s little one would look great in this outfit” or “I’m going to bake something that my donor mom loves!” It brings me GREAT joy to spend any extra money I have on special things that required thought or care.  Gift giving may not be  your strong point. Make a conscious effort to be thoughtful, because after all, look how much has been done for you. You don’t have to do everything on this list below.  These are just some examples.  Everybody has God-given unique talents that they can share. Often times, the most thoughtful thing you could do is offer a note with your heart felt appreciation with a picture of your baby with his or her birth stats.
-          Offer a night of free babysitting
-          Chocolates
-          Lactation cookies
-          Breast milk bags (are a given- EVERY TIME)
-          A piece of jewelry that says “milk mama”
-          Diapers / wipes
-          Disposable nursing pads
-          Are you crafty? How about a home made diaper, wipes, or some home made soap?
-          Drop off a meal
-          Flowers
-          Remember her birthday
-          Send a card on mother’s day
-          Remember her children’s birthdays
-       Gift basket
     I usually send what I call an update text or email after coming home with the milk with pictures of the baby enjoying her gift of love.  It's seeing their milk in action - so to speak.  It's re-affirming that my baby loves this awesome stuff!
You're building a relationship with this person; a milk sharing relationship.  You may think of yourself as a shy person.  I was very introverted until I started milksharing.  It has enriched my life and helped me to grow as a person in so many ways.  I deeply respect donating moms, I call them my friends for life. 



Friday, June 7, 2013

Bottle Nursing


I bottle nurse my Paige. With my first 2 children it didn't happen. In the NICU, they encourage you to feed your baby away from your body, facing in the other direction! Not only was there zero bonding, but their difficult feelings caused a groaning in my soul. 

With bottle nursing you hold your baby close to your chest. She can smell you better, hear your heartbeat, look in your eyes, or play with your lips like Paige does to me :-) 

Oh yes, we certainly bond. Aside from being fed sweet mothers milk, I have come to realize Paige won't, I mean refuses to be fed by anyone but me. You hear a lot about how some babies won't take a bottle. Paige refuses to be fed outside the loving arms of her mama, just as if I were nursing her. Being fed by someone else is foreign territory. How sweet!! Don't grow so fast Paige your mama adores you!

    Satisfied and happy! She is so my little treasure. 

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The high calling of Motherhood

Gonna make this day's blog short because of the little ones reaking havoc in the back round. 

Having a chronic illness really brings life into perspective.  You can ignore it, push it aside, you can make it seem trivial.  I had to listen to the nurse's words.

"Go to the hospital?? What? I have three kids, and one of them is a newborn.  I'm not leaving her all night."

 "If you're not here to take care of your kids, nobody will be."

Sometimes I have to realize that even though I've delt with ITP for the last almost ten years....and I've done well, that I'll be OK, that nothing can go wrong.  You know God has his ways of letting us know we aren't self sufficient.  

I waited til the next day to go to the ER (since there was no openings in the infusion center) and I got my 10 hours of IVIG in a dirty yucky ER.  You better believe I brought my newborn with me.  I missed my family while I was gone, and I'm so thankful we were able to have a babysitter with the kids.  24 hours following my infusion I had a terrible reaction.  The most painful migraine, where light was painful.  It brought on nausea and chills.  Corey had to leave work to come home and care for the children. After 2 days it finally went away. 

I'm really thankful for healing, and for modern healthcare. Ever since I had Alexa I have been out of remission. 

Find something today to be thankful for! Good health, can be one of them.  Today...I am thankful, for my health.  The health that God has allowed me to have!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Introducing Paige Madison

Introducing Paige Madison, born 7/9/2012 at 800 am weighing 5lbs 5oz and 19"
Paige was born via repeat c-section (because of the complications I had with my first daughter) 4 weeks early at 36 weeks.  She was born a wee 5lbs 5oz. 

Unlike Alexa (baby #2) she had some issues after birth.  She was being closely monitored for keeping her own temperature and for rapid breathing.  Thank God she did not have to go to the NICU and daddy stayed by her side.  I was so eager to see her in my bed, especially since my legs were still numb.  I did facetime with my husband to see her as he stood by her side in the nursery, being her protector.

This time by far was the best birth experience I have had, because I had a wonderful team of doctors and nurses working to make me as comfortable as possible.

Once they were finally able to bring my baby to me the first thing I wanted to do was nurse ofcourse.  Not only did she NOT latch, but she had absolutely no suck whatsoever.  The LC came to my room and we syringe fed her donor colostrum.  I also hand expressed my own colostrum for her and the LC and I fed her with a spoon. 

The second day she finally got a latch.  She appeared to be doing well nursing. Yay! We quickly left the hospital so we could be home to enjoy our newborn.  Something was going wrong though.  She rapidly lost weight and was a 4lb 14oz baby when we got home.  Despite supplementation and letting her latch onto me, she did not gain any weight and had a poor suck.  After meeting with the LC several times she was removing a total of 7-10mls from me. 

My pump output was pathetic so I quickly started on domperiodone once again, and am currently making 6oz a day pumping 8x a day.  Although this is more than I made with my first baby, it's only enough to feed a micropreemie.  I made zero milk for my first and my second I had problems with getting a full supply. Her feedings needed thickening and it was too painful for her to nurse.

After two weeks having her home I started to panic one day.  She flat out refused to eat, anything at all.  Her color was not good and she was very listless.  My husband and I rushed her to the ER and they had admitted her later that night.  She was in the same state until the very next day when they moved her into a warming bed and hooked her to IV fluids. 

I had felt bad that I had worn her out with all the nursing rigour.  She was using all her calories to maintain her temperature and nursing/bottle feeding.  They said she also had some pretty bad reflux, like my other two children and that her feeds must be thickened.  After 3 days in the hospital she was discharged a healthy 5 pounds 4oz and she has put on weight every day since then!

I continue to pump for her, even though at times it can seem fruitless.  Still 6 ounces a day adds up, and it's something special I'm doing for my baby.  I hope that as she gets older and stronger, she can learn to latch again and we can have a nursing relationship, if her reflux doesn't get in the way.  My other two children had to have thickened feedings as well because their reflux was painful and severe.  I was very sad at first that this once again has not worked.  But it's not about me, it's about my daughter. 

I am looking for breast milk donations for baby Paige.  She is currently taking in 20 ounces of breast milk per day, and that should get up to 20-24 ounces by the time she reaches 8 pounds or so.  Please let me know if you can help this weak little wee one!

Living with chronic low milk supply

update: Paige is now 6pounds 5ounces!! Thanks to all that good mama milk!! Look at the difference in how she looks, by the way in her first cloth diaper! Message from Paige: Keep pumping for me mamas I need your precious ounces to keep thriving!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Shipping approx 100oz

Stack the milk close together as possible and tightly in the cooler

Add your cooling packs directly on top of the milk

Fill in any open gaps with paper

tape down the two sides of the cooler

Tape the seaming of the lid around the box. 

Affix the postage label and you are good to go!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Moms who reached out to my daughter changed our lives

If you read my old posts, you can see a video of my daughter screaming. This was how we spent the first 4 months of her life. We found out she had a dairy, possible soy allergy and GERD through a GI doctor. She had bloody stools with mucus and screamed, cried all through the night and day. I spent hours bouncing her on a yoga ball before bed time. When she did drink, she would only take 1 ounce of milk before she screamed and slapped the bottle out of my hand.

This contributed to my being diagnosed with post partum depression. I had gone through having a 32 week preemie (my first pregnancy) and it was very traumatic. I didn't even get PPD from that experience! Severe sleep deprivation, and crying that you cannot console eventually will start to break one down. I did not leave her with anybody because I did not want them to experience this torture. Relatives didn't understand why we couldn't let them feed her. Generally, misunderstandings about her health just meant we didn't know how to raise our children. God forbid people like that ever have children with health conditions. They live in a very small world.

Out of despair I started reaching out to my community and to moms I knew who already had a heart to donating their precious breast milk to Alexa, went on the diet. I put her story out on Craigslist and milksharing websites. The inability to nurse my baby girl, yet having to provide a strict dairy free milk for her was excruciating. I felt so powerless, and played the self-guilt game for a long time. Relactation was attempted, but Alexa would scream at the breast and I could not get much out with a pump (stress didn't help). I proceeded to hand express until an unusual form of tendinitis called "calcific tendinitis" developed in my left wrist. It is usually found in the shoulder but can be found in any tendon. Honestly, it felt like I had broken my wrist, or as if an explosion had occured inside my hand. My husband had to help me pick up my own baby. After an ER visit and an emergency appointment with a hand specialist, my hand was put in a cast and given a steroid shot.

Moms read Alexa's story and either went on the diet to donate what they could or were dairy free and provided all she needed, filling my 3 freezers with breast milk. I don't forsee any problems with keeping Alexa on this special milk until she is 1, as the GI doctor told us to do. The moms continue to LOVE.

I feel like I could never repay these moms for what they are doing/did for my daughter. Anything, like my words of appreciation seem so cheap in comparison to what they have given her. At times I feel so indebted. I just want to give to somebody else like this one day. I don't know how or what but I know God has a purpose in everything. I have made so many friends through this. Alexa will know one day what complete strangers had done for a little girl; they, perhaps won't even meet. She can give back, one day, too.

My daughter is healed of her GI problems and is a normal baby now. I think getting her on the diet strictly for a few months at minimum was key, before we started seeing change as her belly started to heal. Thickening the milk was a must and kept the milk from going up her esophagus; protecting from burning her little throat. We did not have to give her any medications. She's still "high need" but I'm ok with that. When your child is refusing to eat, you can deal with some clingyness and crying.

A mother's love for a baby, a baby that isn't even hers...blows me away. My daughter couldn't live without being fed. They fed her, nourished her, and healed her. The biggest factor is her caretaker (Me) has healed through this experience. I no longer feel guilty, or inadequate. THANK YOU MOMS.

Alexa (6 weeks old)

Alexa now 9 Months


Alexa is 13 months and still on donor milk! She does fine with cow's milk proteins now as long as it's been processed through mama's milk :-) We would like to keep her on donor milk til age two as the world health organization recommends. Would love it if she had the best start in life and didn't have poor immunity like her mama! To be able to provide my child donor milk when it killed me to see my sick preemie do without...I cannot put a price on this milk and I feel like I could never repay these mothers.  Remember moms when you donate you are GIVING LIFE.  It doesn't matter the age or the health status of the child - you're nourishing another human being. 

Seeing the difference between my preemie who was sick constantly for two streight years, versus Alexa who hasn't had an ear or lung infection, or chronic cough in the 13 months she's been alive.  It's because of you.  I love giving back because God has been so good to me.  It was 12.5 months ago that I prayed to God asking Him to provide all Alexa needed to be nourished.  I love how God always goes above and beyond!