Dear NICU babe,
I don’t know your story. I don’t know who you are. And perhaps I never will. But maybe, just maybe, you’ll do great things in your life. All you need is a fighting chance, right? So you fight, little one. You give it all you’ve got. Whatever you’re going through, fight.
And to your Mama, lord. I can’t imagine what she’s going through either. But her baby is having a hard time and y’all both need a little help. And if my milk can help in any way, then it is my greatest pleasure. The 700 hours I have spent pumping and cleaning and packaging this up for you is all worth it.
I am a donor for many reasons. There is such a stigma about donor milk. Some people feel like it’s gross. Or that, in some way, accepting it is waving a white flag — like they’re giving up on their child. So many women want to give their baby breast milk, but can’t provide it for themselves. There are many reasons why. That’s where donors — like me — step in.
I personally am inspired to keep going on by NICU babies and families, like you. My sister is a pediatric nurse, and although she can’t ever talk about her patients with me, she did tell me about how much an ounce of breast milk can help those little babies. Little babies like you. It gives you and others like you some sort of comfort and strength that is unexplainable.
Somewhere out there, there is a parent in pain. Having to watch their baby struggle and fight for their life through a glass wall. Having to nourish them through a tiny syringe, unsure if they will reach their next meal. So, while I am pumping in the dead of night watching the rest of my family sleep, I think of them, of you. When I am spending hours upon hours with a machine that isn’t my baby, I am thinking of them. As I count and clean and package it up, I am praying for them. Yes, it is SO much work. But, it is SO worth it.
More than 15 million babies are born prematurely each year worldwide. In the US, about 500,000 babies are born prematurely. Babies born at between 37 weeks are considered “moderate to late” preemies; babies born between 28-32 weeks are considered “very preterm”; and “extremely preterm” is when a baby is born at 28 weeks or less. Babies who weigh less than 1 and 3/4 pounds, or are born at 26 weeks or less, are “micro preemies.”
These little babes — little ones like you — spend most of their time in plastic boxes, surrounded by beeping machines and bright lights, connected to tubes, and cared for by multiple medical experts. The NICU is the last place any parent wants to be, and they can’t wait to take their baby home. Research shows that breast milk has long-term benefits for pre-term babies. After all, it’s full of vitamins, antibiotics, and stem cells.
So take it. Fight. And grow up to be amazing! I believe in you.
I want to let every parent know that it takes a village. And to those sweet parents with their babies in the NICU, you have my silent voice fighting with you every step of the way. I can only imagine who your baby will be!
Donor Number: 0000060340