I started reading the ad and it was posted by a Mother who regularly donated to the Mother’s Milk bank of North Texas. She had also been donating to an adopted baby on the side as well as currently nursing her son. She produced TONS of milk and wanted to put it towards a good cause. I called her the next day and we talked for a bit. She asked lots of questions to make sure I was legit. She had already been screened, tested, and approved to do be a milk donor She also included that she was a non-drinker, non-smoker, and non-drug user.
When asked why she would donate, her reply was, "I am very passionate about pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. Besides why not help a baby in need if I can?" She told me she would be glad to donate to me! She immediately started pumping and freezing. My baby wasn’t due for another month or so so she could have a good supply ready for him when he arrived. She gave me updates on her progress and we had every oz counted. When the time came closer for my baby to arrive, I went to pick up all she had pumped so far.
My first pick up she had 732 oz of milk for my baby ready to go.
That was enough to feed him on breast milk only for an entire month! I never ever thought she would be willing to donate me so much. I was thinking she would maybe donate me a few bags that I could give to him one feeding a month for some antibodies here and there, but never this much. I was sooo extremely grateful!
One thing I didn’t know about this donor was that she was also a avid video maker that was partnered with youtube. She made lots of pregnancy and parenting videos for the world to see. She had thousands of subscribers and millions of view from all over the world. She even made some videos about herself donating to me. See Here!
She taught me a lot about video making and so I created my own youtube channel to make videos on. I thought it would be a good way for my friends and family out of state to see Sawyer grow up. It was also a good way for his birth families to see him too : )
My First Video!
A few days before Sawyer was ready to be here, I got a random message from a woman who lived 5 states away from me. She was one of my donor’s best friends. She introduced herself and told me she too was a certified milk donor for a milk bank. I had seen some of her videos before so I kind of knew a little about her already. She told me that she had some colostrum ( the extreme nutrient rich milk that comes before the full on milk supply) stored in her freezer. She said that for some reason she kept feeling compelled to save it. She had donated thousands ounces to milk banks and kids in Haiti yet for some reason she felt the need to hold on to this particular milk. When she heard about our story and how we were receiving donor milk, she felt that THIS was why she felt compelled to save it. She told me she would be glad to over night it to me. 2 days later it showed up on my door step : ) I was so grateful!!!
The next day it was delivery day. I packed up the colostrum in an ice chest and took it to the hospital with me. I was so glad that his first meal was going to be colostrum! After almost 12 hours of labor, Sawyer was born. Best.... Moment.... Ever!
When it came time to feed him, we told the nurses that we had brought our own donor milk. However since the milk hadn’t been tested and approved by the hospital, they weren’t going to let us use it. I was so upset. When I had pediatrician shopped, I told the doctor about our milk donors and he thought it was wonderful. He also told me that I could NOT go back and forth between formula and breast milk because that would really upset his stomach. I did not want that for my baby.
I talked to the pediatric dietician supervisor and told them our situation. She told me I could used hospital donor breast milk THEY provided but it would cost me $14.50 per OZ. Since Sawyer’s birth mother was “ABLE” to breast feed and because Sawyer wasn’t a “Sickly” baby insurance wouldn’t cover it. When Sawyer’s B-Ma learned of the situation, she offered to try to breast feed him herself. You are probably wondering why she just didn’t from the get go, well for a few reasons that I can discuss later. One thing I didn’t mention is that the nurse taking care of Sawyer’s B-Ma was also a birth mom!
She totally knew what Sawyer’s B-Ma was going through and knew how emotionally hard it would be if Sawyer’s B-Ma did breast feed him. So the nurse went and called Sawyer’s pediatrician. She told him our situation with the hospital not letting us use OUR donor breast milk and since he had already known about our donors (from when I interviewed him before we choose him) he wrote a “Prescription” for Sawyer to have ONLY hospital donor breast milk! What a relief! Sawyer was the first baby at that hospital to receive hospital donor breast milk that wasn’t “sickly” or had an “Abled Mother”. It was a very different situation but a great one!
When we took him home, we got to start him on the colostrum. That lasted a few days and the we started him on the breast milk that our first donor had been storing for us. I kept in touch with the out of state donor and updated her on our progress. Then she told me she would like to donate MORE milk to Sawyer. My first thought was HOW? How would I get it from where she lives to where I live? I hit the internet and research airlines. I quickly learned I could check it in a cooler as baggage as long as there was no dry ice in it. So from then on she started pumping and freezing for us. We planned to go see her in 2 months and pick up Sawyer’s lunches ; )
About this same time, I got a call from the lady at church, (the first one I asked to donate that had to think about it), and she told me she wanted to try and pump for us. I was so surprised. She told me that back in college, she had a baby and someone had asked her to donate breast milk to them. She turned them down. She told me that she never forgot about that and always felt so bad about turning that lady and her baby down. She felt this was a way she could make things right in her heart and was grateful for the opportunity. She was able to pump about 25 extra ounces and I was grateful for every drop. That was the only donation she made and I was soooo thankful.
Brett and I quickly became pros at thawing and serving breast milk. We didn’t want to waste a drop. Sawyer loved his meals and had a happy little tummy. 2 months quickly flew by and we were almost out of donor milk. It was perfect timing because it was time to fly across the U.S. and get Sawyer’s other milk donors milk.
Sawyer meeting his out of state donor for the first time : )
We flew back and forth every 2 months to get milk. His out of state donor even flew here a couple times. We all became really close friends.
Months went by and there was a time that I was going to run out. Sawyer was about 6 months old. I hadn’t received any more milk from my local donor and I wasn’t scheduled to meet with the out of state donor for another 2 weeks. I thought that was going to be the end of the breast milk for sure. I never thought he would have made it this far on donor milk to begin with so I was soooo grateful it lasted for 6 months. Then out of the blue, I got a message on facebook from another girl at church. She said she had an extra stash of breast milk in her freezer and she wanted to know if I wanted it. I of course said “YES!” I went and picked it up and it lasted EXACTLY 2 weeks! I felt so blessed : )
We went and picked up another round of milk out of state to last him for a while. He was drinking more milk at this age so we were burning through it fast. Every time I left my out of state milk donors house, I thought to my self, “this time will probably be the last”. I know how much time and effort she put into pumping for Sawyer as well as feeding her own son. I expected her to say she was done with donating any day. However, she didn’t. She said she would like to see Sawyer make it to an entire year on breast milk. Again.... SO GRATEFUL!