Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Dropoff: Modern Day Wet Nurses

Keri and me:  a couple of modern-day wet nurses!

Today was the day!  Keri and I have been working hard, and now our hard work got to pay off.  She and I agreed to meet at OU Children's Hospital this morning to drop off our breast milk stores, and we scheduled a celebratory lunch afterwards.  I was definitely emotional about today; I found myself crying as we neared the hospital, the same one into which Kristen Smith walked with her baby Aiden all those months ago, and walked out four weeks later without him. He was the reason for all of this work, after all. It began with him, he has lived on in our efforts, and his life was not in vain. I cried again later when I posted a picture on Facebook of George and me handing over the milk, and then I cried again when I checked Facebook later and saw the outpouring of support from friends and strangers.  Having Keri there today was extremely important to me;  this decision has been meaningful for me all along, and Keri's addition has helped to make it fun as well. I was very much anticipating our trip to the hospital together with our three boys.

Before the boys and I left for the hospital today, I contacted the Lactation Center where we would be dropping off our milk.  A lady named Samantha kindly assured me over the phone that I could stay in the parking lot and she would come to get the milk so I wouldn't have to get out of the car.  For Milk Mama's like Keri and me though, staying in the parking lot would surely not work! We wanted to make the trek up to the lactation center, and we wanted to see where our milk was going. We wanted to put it in the freezer ourselves, and spend time talking to consultants who work with these babies.  Of course we got lost about six times on the way up to the lactation department, because that is always how things seem to work when you have two gallons of frozen breast milk, two babies, a toddler and a giant arm cast (not to mention a  somewhat disgruntled and misinformed hospital employee who is serving as the information booth attendant).  :)  The wonderful ladies of the Lactation Center were there to greet us when we did finally arrive however, and these included my dear high school friend Kellie whom I had not seen in years and who was spending the day working as a nurse on the unit. These ladies patiently answered our questions and were quite kind to tolerate our excitement on what must have been a routine day for them. It was clearly anything but for us.

  I couldn't believe that Kellie was there!  Never mind the blurriness of my inept phone.

Keri and I were able to see the breast milk storage room, and we got the satisfaction of seeing our milk go straight into the lovely freezers. We also got to meet with Keri's lactation consultant and ask questions to our hearts' content. And finally after having been greeted so warmly, we left with hearts full and arms empty. Keri donated a solid gallon, 128 ounces. She intends to donate more as she continues to pump for her son since she works full-time. I donated 116 ounces, which was 16 ounces higher than my original goal, but is now short of my final goal of a full gallon. Twelve ounces to go, and then I will call my body my own for a bit again before we try to have a third child. There is no doubt that I will donate milk again with the third child if I can, and this time for much longer. Can you tell that I am gladly embracing the role of a modern day wet nurse?

 George isn't sure about letting all of this go!

If this post can help others to consider the possibility of donating breast milk, time, money or anything that might be within their power to give to help critically ill babies, I would be grateful forever. Thank you, dearest family and friends, who encouraged me in this goal when I first set it in November.  You have truly blessed me. And while I have your attention, I will slip in a kind reminder that the CDC is now recommending pertussis boosters regularly, particularly for pregnant women, who are now encouraged to obtain the vaccination with every single pregnancy they have (article here). Much love to you all, and particularly to Aiden.

1 comment: