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!