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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Our time in the NICU, Pumping, and Prolacta.

I have tears streaming down my face right now as I'm sitting in front of my computer screen.  After 8 months of avoiding it, I finally looked back through the photos we took of Emma's birth and the weeks following it.  Seeing my little girl with tubes taped to her face and her sleepy eyes closed from morphine is still so incredibly hard.  This little tiny baby that entered the world with such a hard start.

There is a lot to cover when it comes to talking about what happened (and what went wrong) when Emma was born.  Probably too much for one blog post.  Everything was a chaotic blur filled with this nervous pulse.  That feeling is what I remember the most when I look through these photos.

Emma came into this world with the loudest scream I have ever heard from a baby.  Our 8 pound, 8 ounce little girl was (and still is) so feisty.  

After we had breastfed for the first time and things were more quiet, my mom was holding Emma and noticed that her lips were turning blue.  My mom went and got a nurse and after suctioning her more didn't help, Emma was brought to the nursery to be monitored, and then had to have x-rays and a double pneumothorax was discovered.  Basically both of her lungs had somehow collapsed.  We heard several theories about why this might have happened but no definite answers.  She was flown to Arkansas Children's hospital in Little Rock.  

I can't describe the fear I felt at that time.  Remembering it now feels so devastating.  20 hours out of my c-section, we climbed in our car and made the almost 4 hour drive to Little Rock.  It was so hard to not be able to just pick her up and hold her.  To have to look at her on this little table-like bed, hooked up to all these machines.  

The day after we got there I was feeling so physically bad that I knew something was really wrong.  I was checked into another hospital in the area and found out that I needed a blood transfusion and treatment for an infection in my uterus.  

A separate hospital.  Away from my brand new baby.  It felt like I wasn't a mother.  It felt very strange and so heartbreaking.  But then all of the sudden, my milk fully came in.  There was one thing I could do for my child and that was to pump milk to send to her hospital.  It was so important to me that she get the best nutrition possible to aid with her recovery.  It lifted my spirits and when I was able to check out and see her again things started to feel like they would be okay.  

Emma was in the NICU for 11 days.   That's a much shorter amount of time than so many babies and I am so thankful that our situation was not worse.  The devastation is so real when you are separated from the child that you have been growing inside of your body for the past 9 months.  We are so lucky that Emma gained weight well from my breastmilk but many of the other babies in the beds next to her were too premature to get everything they needed from breastmilk alone.  

In those situations, preemies are given a human milk fortifier (HMF) that is added to breast milk to provide the added protein, calories and nutrients they need to grow.  The problem is that nearly all HMFs are all made from cow milk, unless your hospital uses fortifier from a company called Prolacta Bioscience, which makes a HMF using 100% human breast milk.  Preemies can have complications from ingesting cow milk.  Sometimes it can even cause a severe complication called Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), which is a leading cause of death among preterm babies.  This article explains even more about why human milk is so important for premature babies.  These little babies go through so much, and some complications could be avoided by providing a 100% human milk diet, including 100% human milk-based fortifier.  Watch the video below to hear one family's story of how Prolacta’s fortifier helped their baby.

With Emma having an allergy to cow's milk protein, and knowing other moms who have had babies with the same issues, it was so surprising to learn that most hospitals are providing preemies with a cow's milk based fortifier.  Prolacta is an option that more parents should know about.  If you or someone you know has a preemie, ask about Prolacta.

This post is sponsored by Prolacta, but it is completely my opinion that parents have a choice and that this is an important issue that should be talked about.  

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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