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.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Laura's Story

During my 1st pregnancy (2002), I was twenty-five, and considered myself to be a knowledgeable person. I had just started the second trimester of my pregnancy and was healthy, other than being asthmatic & slightly overweight. I had a 3D ultrasound done at 27w4d to try and figure out the sex and everything seemed fine. We were told the baby was a girl.

The following weekend my husband and I attended a NASCAR race and were in the infield almost the entire time. On Monday morning, as I got ready for work, I realized that I had not felt my baby move since Friday. Up until that point the baby was very active on a regular basis. I immediately panicked and became hysterical. I called my OB and spoke with a nurse who told me to come in right away. I saw the Dr., who told me that everything was fine; it was just because I was overweight and the baby changed positions that I could not feel movements.

I left feeling reassured, because the Doctor gave me an explanation. The next day at work I started feeling cramps, like during menstruation and they were quite frequent. I mentioned this to a few female co-workers during lunch. They all said it was normal. The cramps became more painful and frequent. I was worried, so I called my Dr. again & his nurse told me it was Braxton Hicks contractions and not to worry. I was 28 weeks,4 days at this point.

So, a few days later I saw my OB again, this time for my normal appt at 29 weeks. He used a Doppler to listen for the heartbeat and then asked me to get dressed and come into his office. I went in and he told me that he needed me to meet him at the hospital to confirm something.

I got to the hospital and was directed to Labor & Delivery. I was clueless as to what was happening. My Doctor came in with a portable ultrasound machine, did a quick ultrasound and told me "the baby does not have a heartbeat". From there, it was mostly a blur. I was induced and delivered our first child, a son about 12 hours later. I went home from the hospital without a baby and two days later endured my most difficult and painful Mother's Day ever.

The day after Mother's Day was even more horrible than the days before. I woke up with huge rocks where my breasts used to be. I was in shock and in a tremendous amount of pain. I had no idea my milk would come in. Naively, I thought that since my baby was born dead, my body would not produce milk. Not a single person at the Hospital had mentioned anything.

I called my OB's office and asked what I could do to alleviate the pain and make the milk go away. I was told to take ibuprofen and apply ice. That's it. I still remember being in extreme pain at my son's funeral, a week after he was born. It seemed so cruel that the same body that could not grow a healthy child could produce the miracle of breastmilk. I felt mocked and cheated all at the same time.

Years later I learned that my Doctor could have prescribed me prescription medication to stop my milk from coming in. Also, there are OTC choices to help. Lastly, I found out that I could have pumped and donated my breastmilk to a baby in need. No that I know different, I will share this priceless knowledge while also hoping that I never have anyone to share it with.

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