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