Mission: To provide accurate, up-to-date education on how to cope with Lactation After Loss to grieving mothers, as well as to the care providers who care for these women after the loss of a baby.

Expand Rowan's Milk Survey.
Develop a Brochure on Lacation After Loss for mothers.
Make Brochure and results of Survey available to care providers.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting to the Happy Place

I have not done a lot with the Rowan's Milk Blog this year. I was recently talking to another mother who experienced a pregnancy loss several years ago. We talked about how difficult it is to go back to the sad place of grief once you have gotten to a 'happy place'. Much as I want to do the work to support other moms who are going through what I have been through, I have to do it slowly.

I seem to have become the 'go to' person for lactation after loss as friends, doulas, and even lactation consultants have been contacting me when they have a friend or client going through a loss. I am so glad to be able to provide a space for people to find resources and share their stories so others can know that they are not alone. On the other hand, I cannot spend too much time reading and remembering, lest I get lost again in the grief. But I will continue to post the stories shared in the Rowan's Milk Survey as I am able.

If your loss is recent, it is hard to imagine finding a happy place. Not a place where we ever forget, but a place of balance. As we hold our angel babies in our hearts, we can and will learn to live our lives again.

Monday, May 23, 2011

empty arms, empty womb and broken heart...

We lost our son at 19 weeks and 2 days into our pregnancy. Our first baby had miscarried at 9 weeks, so we were already anxious about this one. I was admitted to hospital (a gyn ward at first, then transferred to maternity) at 18 weeks with severe pain and bleeding. A large fibroid was degenerating very painfully and I was put on morphine and kept in to be monitored. After a week of intense pain, a scan revealed my cervix had started funnelling but no stitch could be put in because of the bleeding. At 7.15 the following morning, after labouring on my own all night, my waters broke - 15 minutes later my beautiful little boy was born, too early to be helped but perfect in every way, down to his tiny little fingernails.

The placenta wouldn't come even after they tried to induce stronger contractions so I ended up needing a D&C. By 6pm I had been discharged, was burying my precious boy and going home with empty arms, empty womb and broken heart. 3 days later, my body was making its own tears - milk. Nobody had said this could happen! I leaked through my clothes and within hours had sore and lumpy breasts which leaked every time the neighbours baby would cry. I didn't see a health professional for another 6 weeks - nobody came to help. I eventually made contact with a local support group where I met a lady who had also had a second trimester loss and she told me that she had also produced milk afterwards - finally I felt 'normal'!

For me it took about a week or two for my breasts to become more comfortable and in that time I found warm showers helped the most, although it was so incredibly painful seeing my milk dripping away down the shower. I wish I'd known I could hand express a little to be more comfortable - sleep during that time was hard enough because of the pain in my heart, let alone the pain in my breasts!

Thank you for starting this blog to inform more women and more health professionals - so much more education is needed before bereaved women can be offered adequate support! Your story about donating your milk is truly inspirational and no doubt your precious little Rowan is so proud of you for sharing her milk and for making a difference!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Bryson’s "Liquid Gold”

by Amy

Even when I felt I'd lost everything, I still had something invaluable to give... Bryson’s “liquid gold” or breast milk and a chance at life for other sick infants. This realization came about when I felt that through my heartbreak, I still had some purpose as Bryson’s Mommy. (All thanks to my forever babies, Bryson and his previously past sibling, Joey Skylor, for giving me this insight. I'm such a proud Mommy! Even though their lives were so short and some people wouldn't even say they had lived, they have come together to save the lives of others.)

It is said that all life has a purpose, maybe the short lives of my angel babies were to inspire their Mommy, giving hope, courage, and the strength to save the life of someone else’s baby, though I could do nothing for my own. A woman who pumps breast milk is said to be expressing her milk. For me, donating Bryson’s breast milk is the only physical way to express my love for my angel babies; To keep their memory alive and give meaning to their short lives, not only to me but to complete strangers as well.

The other invaluable benefit would be to prevent another family from feeling the deepest, most horrific pain, grief, and despair ever imaginable… the loss of a precious child and all the hopes and dreams that went with that new little life. I have faith that the Lord, along with Bryson and Joey Skylor, will continue to help me through my grief and continue to guide me through the donation process.

As of today, January 22nd, 2011, exactly 12 weeks since Bryson was born, I have collected about 4200oz or about 32 gallons of his milk (pumping every 3-4 hours through the day and night). I often think back to a quote in Pat Schweibert’s book, When Hello Means Goodbye: “My body had its own grief. And its tears were white.” Mommy will always love you Joey Skylor and Bryson! You can read more about our story at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope.

Amy's Faces of Hope story (just scroll down to the post date of Thursday, January 6, 2011). Amy's Faces of Loss story

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Links to Other Babyloss Blogs

Some of the links to other stories shared in our Survey:




http://livinglajuicy.com/2009/10/14/the-dark-side-of-mommyhood/ and http://livinglajuicy.com/2010/10/13/10-13-10/

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Cindy & Aiden's Story

My son was delivered stillborn at 22 weeks. He was beautiful and perfect. We named him Aiden, he was our first baby. My milk came in and I had no support or guidance. I was in hysterics on the phone with my doctors office asking for help. They offered vicodin (I am allergic to it) no sorry your baby died, nothing...

I had 3 more miscarriages total and now have 2 living children whom I breastfed. The experience I had with my stillborn son was horrific and I want to spare other moms the pain and loneliness I experienced. The breastfeeding experience with my living children was/is wonderful.

I am now studying to become a lactation consultant so that I can help other mothers with breastfeeding and also reach out to mothers who have lived through the loss of their baby.

Thank you for allowing me to share my story, in memory of our angel babies;

and our living miracles
Cian and Chloe

Rebecca's Story

My child was stillborn at six months gestation after an induced labor, when we were told he had absolutely no hope of surviving. He had a severe blockage in his ureter, so that urine had backed up into his abdominal cavity, damaging his kidneys, lungs and heart. The doctors said that he would either die before full term, or if he survived, he would either die shortly after birth or have a short and painful life of many, many operations and hospitalizations.

It was the most terrible decision I have ever made and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I couldn't bear the thought of just waiting for him to die while things just went more and more wrong inside of me....that didn't seem like the right parenting decision to me....there was no right choice, only a few shitty ones.

My milk came in the next day, the day we left him to be cremated. I was so tired, so bruised, and then my breasts were incredibly engorged and hot and painful. My poor body just wanted to feed my baby.

Kim's Daughter...

One evening in my 18th week of pregnancy I had a sharp pain in my abdomen that doubled me over. I was home alone, as my husband was working that evening. I called my ob who happened to be on call that night. After a long talk and the fact that I wasn't having any other discomfort, she told me it was probably a muscle cramp and to take it easy and call if anything else happened.

It was late and so I laid on the couch and dozed until my husband came home. I woke up at that time and was having a couple of "cramps". Now I realize they were contractions. Then I got up to go the bathroom and I was bleeding. I screamed for my husband. We got in the car and rushed to the hospital.

When we got there they took me back right away and then off to ultrasound. I could still hear her heartbeat during the ultrasound and saw her move. Found out when back in ER that "there's nothing we can do your baby is gone". I was in shock! I had just heard the heartbeat!! How can the baby be gone!

My doctor then showed up and we went to the birthing center. She explained that I was having a placental abruption. We were devastated. They were going to take me in for a D&C because I wouldn't stop bleeding, but I begged her not to and she agreed.

I was then taken to a room and given pitocin to help me deliver. About 1 1/2- 2 hrs. later I delivered my beautiful baby girl still completely in her bag of water. No nurse or doctor where in the room when I delivered. She was so tiny, 6 3/4" long, but fully formed with all her fingers and toes.

They came in and showed her to us and then took her and cleaned her up and dressed her and wrapped her in a blanket. I held her and we cried. My family was there with us for part of the time. I had to stay overnight because of the bleeding. They shouldn't make you stay in the birthing center when you've experienced a loss. You shouldn't have to be around all the happy people and hear babies crying.

They gave us the clothes she was wearing, the blanket, a picture and her hand & footprints. We decided to let her be used for research. I know to some that seems heartless, but for us it was a chance to help other families with the research obtained. For us it was our chance to give. We have a beautiful momento box my father made with every little thing I have that was given to us. Her name is: Emily Lenore Fusco Lost: 07/08/2001 She was our first angel and first child. We will always love her and miss her.