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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Liquid Gold, Paying it Forward

Friday was a free day. No poking or proving  so I decided that it was going to be a pampering day. 

My oh-so-talented sister-in-law, Erin spent a large portion of the day making me look fabulous. 

I actually really liked my grown-out ombre look, but thought that I might as well go blonde one more time for family pictures before I have to shave my head. 

She also gave me a super-cute, beach mani. Oh how I miss Grenada! 

At this point last week, I was trying to taper nursing, but it wasn't going very well, especially because Ellis refused to take a bottle.

I nursed him for a few minutes...

but after just a couple minutes he was naturally still hungry and inconsolable. But, after doing hair and nails, a miracle happened...

Let's backtrack though to January.

No, November. 

When Ellis was born and in the NICU, his amazing nurse, Kasey, asked if I wanted to try Pasteurized Human Milk (aka breast milk that had been donated and pasteurized). I said, sure, why not! (Let's give this baby a fighting, fighting chance!)

It worked. He started eating everything by mouth and it helped him be released from the NICU that much faster (only after 6 days despite being born at 34 weeks 1 day).

When I was discharged, the lactation consultant gave me a pamphlet on the Mother's Milk Bank and I thought, "Oh wow, how cool would it be to donate milk to the milk bank to pay it forward?"

And, I did!

Fast forward to January... On January 30 I posted on Instagram, "When #ellisjames was in the #nicu, he was the beneficiary of milk from the Mother's Milk Bank. Yesterday, as a way to say thank you and to help save other babies, I donated a 40 lb box full of hundreds and hundreds of ounces of milk. Hopefully this helps #preemies get home just a little bit faster."

It was very rewarding. 


I say then because with the stark reality that I faced of having to wean my baby (who was refusing the bottle and formula) I was angry at myself for giving away my baby's milk when he so desperately needed it. 

I had a few spare bottles of frozen milk left, but couldn't bring myself to try them because there was no way for me to get more and I didn't dare waste the precious milk. (But seriously though, any breastfeeding mother knows that the phrase 'don't cry over spilt milk' is laughable.)

Enter my sister-in-law Erin whose son was born just days after supporting me during labor when Ryan was away in Grenada. 

She saw that Ellis was angry and hungry and reaching the point of inconsolable and asked if I wanted to try some of her breast milk. 

Oh, really!?

(As an aside you have to look at this from our two different perspectives... I didn't want to waste any of my precious few ounces that I had left with the thought that he might refuse them, and while precious, she was happy to let him try even if he didn't take it because she could always pump more.)

Those four ounces made all the difference.

Liquid gold. 

He immediately latched onto the bottle and started eating furiously.

I burst into tears.

He was eating! From a bottle!

I cried and cried. And cried some more.

But that wasn't the most amazing part.

Erin started to scurry around. She went to and from from here to there, and a few minutes later there I was, standing in her kitchen sobbing into her shoulder as she handed me three grocery bags heaping full of frozen breast milk.

Essentially the same amount of milk as I had donated.

She told me that both she and Tyler had felt like she should continue to pump. That they felt that the milk was going to go to use, but just didn't know how.

She was my angel that day.

Heavenly Father is a god of miracles. Of tender mercies. Of angels.

The words of a children's hymn ("A Child's Prayer) come to mind:

Heavenly Father, are you really there?
And do you hear and answer ev'ry child's prayer?
Some say that heaven is far away,
But I feel it close around me as I pray.

God is good. 

And he is there.


Shan said...

I just spent quite a bit of time reading your blog posts. You have an amazing attitude and I love you and am praying for you.

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