A MUM has revealed how she pumped breast milk for 63 days after her premature baby boy passed away at just three hours old.
Sierra Strangfield, from Wisconsin, US, froze her breast milk as she went, before donating it on her son’s due date.
Baby Samuel was born at just 25 weeks and passed away in hospital on September 5, due to a rare, genetic condition known as trisomy 18 (also referred to as Edwards’ Syndrome, which severely disrupts normal development.)
While each cell within the body normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, Edwards’ Syndrome occurs when a baby has three copies of chromosome 18, instead of two.
The development of the three chromosomes usually happens at random during the formation of the egg or sperm.
When Samuel passed away, Sierra was determined to help others and on November 7, she donated 63 days worth of breast milk to her local neo-natal intensive care unit.
“When I found out I was pregnant again, I wanted nothing more than to be successful at breastfeeding,” she wrote on Facebook.
“But when we found out of Samuel’s diagnosis, I knew that was not going to happen. Just another hope that was taken from me.
“Before Samuel passed, I told myself I would pump my milk to donate.”
Sierra explained her daughter, Porter, had been given donated milk when she was first born.
“After all, Porter was given donated milk more than half of her first year of life!” She continued.
“I couldn’t save Samuel’s life, but maybe I could save another baby’s life.
“Pumping is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard. Mentally and physically.
“And it’s even harder when you don’t actually have a baby.
“There were times I was angry because why did my milk have to come in when I had no baby to feed?
“Why was I waking up in the middle of the night for this?
“The other part of me felt it was the only thing connecting me to Samuel here on Earthside. I sure hope he’s proud of me!
“I pumped for 63 days after his birth. I am not an over supplier by any means – but I did it.
“And today, his due date, I donated my milk to the NICU milk banks for the first and last time.
“Walking through the hallways of the hospital was just another step in healing.
“And I know, (because I felt him), that Samuel was there with me.”
The mum explained she has been touched by the response she’s received online and wants to raise awareness of the rare condition.
Sierra has created a range of T-shirts with all proceeds going towards the “Smiling for Samuel” organisation.
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