Recipient Stories

A long journey to wellness began for baby Liam after his premature arrival at 26 weeks, weighing 1 pound, 14 ounces. His parents, Cereena and Austin, describe him as a "true warrior", battling and overcoming a common yet serious intestinal infection called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Admitted to Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Liam was treated with antibiotics and fortified donor breastmilk. Like a lot of moms of preemies, Cereena's milk supply wasn't adequate after giving birth so early. Liam's neonatologist prescribed donor milk and explained that premature babies need breastmilk to provide proper nutrients and prevent life-threatening complications. Liam gained weight and won the battle.

Cereena learned about MMBNT from Dr. Susan Sward-Comunelli, Liam’s neonatologist, who helped found the non-profit organization in 2004.

 

Ronnie entered the world at 28 weeks due to his pregnancy complications.

When Ronnie was born, Nikki and her husband had to decide how they were going to feed him. Nikki did not feel comfortable pumping for him, as she was on blood pressure medication and worried how that could affect her son. Formula also seemed like a risky choice for his fragile state. After much thought, the family put their faith in donor milk.

Ronnie needed help breathing for the first six weeks of his life – he used a CPAP for a month, followed by a nasal cannula for two weeks. He had a hole in his heart that closed after about four months, and while he had the beginning stages of retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), the condition resolved after about five months. After 66 days in the NICU, Ronnie joined his family at home.

He is now a happy and healthy 7 month old, receiving physical therapy to help with his delays in development. Nikki believes that donor milk provided Ronnie with the right foundation and nutrition he needed to grow. Donor moms, in Nikki’s opinion, are true angels. “I am so thankful for each and every drop they donate,” she said. “They are the most selfless and generous women in the world!”

They say sometimes miracles come in pairs. And that’s exactly how Kacy and Nicholas Sallusto, from Delray Beach, Florida, feel about their twin daughters, Sapphira and Kaiya. After struggles with infertility, the couple learned in May 2014 that their first attempt of in vitro fertilization (IVF) was successful. Kacy says, “I really feel like everything worked out the way it was supposed to, and these girls were meant to be ours all along. It’s so hard to have faith when dealing with infertility but I am so thankful that we never gave up.” Kacy ended up delivering the girls at 30 weeks, 5 days. She had spent almost a week in the hospital being treated with fluids, magnesium and steroids for early labor. 

Contractions did stop, but then labor started again and progressed quickly. To Kacy’s relief, both arrived, as she described, “screaming”; Sapphira at 3 pounds 2 ounces and Kaiya at 3 pounds 1 ounce. Because of their prematurity, the twins were admitted into the NICU at Boca Regional Hospital.

As an NICU nurse, Kacy knew one of the biggest threats her girls faced was necrotizing enterocolitis. Also known as NEC, the life threatening condition affects the intestines of premature infants. Occurrences of NEC are greatly reduced through breastfeeding. Kacy explains, “I knew that human milk was the best and only nutrition my girls would get.”

Eight-month old Noah Spano and his parents, Kristina and Matthew, have been on a challenging journey of surgeries, procedures and healing.  Noah was born last September with a congenital heart defect and has been receiving donor milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. The immunological and protective properties of breastmilk have been essential in keeping Noah strong and healthy. When Kristina’s own supply of breastmilk declined, Cook Children’s Medical Center stepped in and ordered donor milk as a part of his medical treatment. Kristina says, “I cannot thank the donor moms enough! It truly has been such a blessing to have donor milk, and I believe Noah would not have healed as well if we did not have this option. I wish I could hug each and everyone who donates!”

I'm a new mom who just delivered our firstborn at Texas Health Plano Presbyterian. Our son had high levels in his jaundice screening and was becoming listless and disinterested in feedings. My milk supply hadn't come in yet to meet the needs of feeding that the pediatrician prescribed to help him get better. We were told about the option of using donated milk from the Mothers' Milk Bank rather than having to use formula for the remainder of our stay. It was such a blessing to have this option until lactation consultants could work with us to establish a milk supply to help our son on the road to getting better.

Thank you for the work you do in coordinating donations for babies in need. It was a spot of sunshine in our experience that we had options that provided our baby the best nutrients to help him get better. - Michelle T.

After three years of fertility treatments to counter my PCOS while trying to conceive, my husband and I tried to adopt earlier this year. Unfortunately, the adoption fell through. About a month after hearing the news, we learned that we had conceived! Everything was going normally and I was enjoying pregnancy. At 26 weeks 6 days, I had a checkup with my OB. I had developed some sudden swelling and my doctor checked for preeclampsia. I felt worse the following day and was checked into Labor & Delivery. I was put on hospital bed rest. My blood pressure spiked and I had to have an emergency c-section.

Easton was born on August 11 at 27 weeks and 3 days. He was transferred to another hospital by CareFlight since he was born at less than 28 weeks gestation. I was in the hospital without him for three days while I recovered.I started pumping to get my supply going, but my body wasn’t ready. On the day of my discharge, I had been pumping for three days and only got one drop.

The NICU had been feeding him pasteurized donor milk. Before Easton’s birth, I never knew about pasteurized human milk or thought about what happens if a mom cannot pump for her preemie. I had always thought that if a premature baby couldn’t get expressed milk from its mother, formula would be given instead. I am so thankful for the pasteurized donor milk Easton received from Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. Easton relied almost completely on pasteurized human milk until he reached what would have been 33 weeks gestation. Due to my PCOS condition, I have only been able to pump a few ounces a day. My milk was given with the pasteurized donor milk. Now that Easton is primarily receiving formula, the few ounces I am able to pump are so important to Easton’s growth.

I was so relieved to know that Easton was receiving pasteurized human milk, even if it was not my milk. It made all the difference in his health: there have been very few complications and he has been growing steadily and consistently.  His first few weeks were very critical to how he would grow. The pasteurized human milk was what helped more than anything, it gave him the strength and antibodies he needed. Easton is now over what would have been 37 weeks gestation and should be coming home very soon! Unfortunately, my PCOS does not allow me to make as much milk as he needs, but I am thankful to pump as much as I can for him.

I was recently on my way to the NICU, I was in the elevator with a woman carrying a cooler of milk. She had an excess supply and was dropping the milk off to donate to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. I thanked her so much for the milk she was donating. I told her that I couldn’t provide my baby enough of my own milk and that I was very thankful for moms who can supply to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. Thank you to all of the mothers who have an excess supply of breastmilk and are able to donate so babies like mine can thrive. -Laci L.

Ryan was born 8 weeks early with a hypoxic brain injury caused by oxygen deprivation at birth. Weighing just 3 lbs. 3 oz., Ryan spent his first five months in the hospital. Every 4 to 6 weeks, he would have pneumonia because his body couldn't regulate autonomic processes such as swallowing. Therefore, he is continuously fed through a gastronomy tube and breathes through a tracheostomy tube. Ryan’s medical obstacles also include spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, auditory neuropathy, vision difficulties and a very sensitive GI tract.

We had the joy of adopting Ryan and his twin brother, Zac, who is robust and healthy. Because I was not lactating, we had to try to give Ryan several types of formula, none of which he tolerated well. He began losing weight and his heart rate would drop drastically due to distress when eating.

Since receiving donor milk from MMBNT, Ryan’s weight has increased and his overall health continues to improve. We feel an immense amount of gratitude for
donor mothers, their selfless gift of donor milk and time. We don’t know what Ryan’s health would be like without it. Donor mothers have also provided Ryan with something that, as an adoptive mother, I wasn't able to give him. The increased immunity to infections alone makes breastmilk a lifesaving gift for Ryan. -Crystal C.

From the day he was born, Isaiah has struggled. He came into this world with my cord around his neck, blue and not breathing. He screamed day and night, experienced horrible pain, and spit up every meal he was given. After seeing several specialists, he was diagnosed with GERD, but the problem became more severe. He began to lose weight and though he endured several more tests and surgeries, his doctors still couldn't figure out what was wrong with him.

My milk supply was decent in the beginning, but it quickly dried up. After exhausting all other options, I obtained a prescription from my son’s pediatrician for donor human milk from the Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. He guzzled down the first bottle of donor milk I fed him, something I had never seen him do with formula. Soon, he was laughing and playing and he was no longer in pain. He gained 3.5 pounds in just the first month of having donor milk. Today, he is a happy and healthy little boy who loves his liquid gold!

My family and I are so thankful to all of the hard work and time the donors put in to help my son. Thank you for helping my son to grow and thrive for the first time since he was born. -Kristy D.