At 36 weeks, I noticed my baby wasn’t moving. My doctor found he was distressed, so we immediately induced labor. After about 24 hours, we noticed that he wasn’t responding well to contractions, so we scheduled an immediate C-section.
My “perfectly smooth” pregnancy turned out to be an extremely high risk after we discovered the cord was wrapped around his neck three times! During my doctor’s examination, he found that I had a unicornuate uterus, in which only half of my uterus had developed. As a result of further testing, we discovered I had only one ovary, one fallopian tube, and one kidney.
After the c-section, the pediatrician recommended that although he was doing well for 36 weeks, he should be admitted to the NICU in Madison for additional care. In preparation for seeing the baby, the nurse asked if I was ready to try pumping. My attention had been completely distracted by everything else going on, and I completely forgot that making milk was even a thing! She showed me the ropes, and then we proudly walked down to the NICU with 1 ml of my colostrum.
Over the course of the week, I became increasingly focused on pumping. I felt like it was the only thing I could do to help my baby, especially since we were trying to let him rest in his incubator as much as possible. I tried to get ahead of his feedings so that they could use my milk, even throughout the night as I got to rest. After four days, I was discharged from the hospital and was lucky enough to stay in the Ronald McDonald rooms in the hospital.
In no time at all, the fridge in his room was full of milk and they had to start taking some to the freezer. On the day we left, I asked if I could leave my extra milk for the other babies. I was told that I could consider donating to the milk bank instead.
I honestly never thought about it again, until about a month later when I saw the absolutely heartbreaking news – a friend of mine from high school, whose baby was due around the same time, ended in tragedy. She had gone in due to decreased movement, exactly like me, and her precious baby did not make it. I was in shock. I felt so many feelings, one of them being guilt. Why did everything work out for my baby and not hers? Every time I sat down to pump it was all I could think about. After a few days, I got the idea to start donating my milk in her baby’s honor.
I am very proud to have donated over 2,000 ounces to both the milk bank and a few local mothers!