A mother’s tragic loss after bearing a stillborn child turned into a blessing for other newborns facing pregnancy complications. It was by giving from her own body, her breastmilk, that this was made possible.
What makes this story even more incredible was the sheer volume of milk she donated: a whopping 92 gallons (approx. 348 liters) of breastmilk over the course of eight whole months.
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The mother, from Maine, Amy Anderson, became pregnant in 2010. At 15 weeks into her pregnancy, the couple learned that her unborn child had a serious health problem: he was suffering from a lower urinary tract obstruction.
In a bid to avert a potentially fatal disaster, they planned to have the unborn baby undergo surgery. But when the day came for the parents to schedule a date for the operation, tragedy struck. A buildup inside the baby’s urinary tract caused so much pressure that the baby’s heart could not take it. Sadly, on Oct. 30, 2010, baby Bryson Anderson was born, but was stillborn.
Yet, although Bryson wasn’t with them anymore, Amy’s body responded as if her angel son were still alive, producing milk to nourish what would have been a premature, and possibly sick, infant baby. Doctors instructed Amy not to pump out her milk, yet her instincts told her otherwise, and she followed them—it gave her relief to do so.
One mom donates 92 gallons of breast milk in her stillborn son's honor. "That was my time to unwind and be with my…
After doing a little research, Amy learned that there was, in fact, a great need for mothers to donate their breastmilk to help save the lives of premature babies, whose lives often dangle by a thread.
What’s more, Amy’s milk would be what is called “preterm great milk;” as Bryson was born so premature, Amy’s body would respond by producing breastmilk that would be extremely rich in nutrients in order to nurse her weak child back to health.
She donated 92 gallons in all over the next eight months that followed. It was a silver lining that she was able to help save the lives of other children despite her own loss. And it was this positive experience that led her to continue donating regularly to the Mother’s Milk Bank Northeast—and also to work toward getting her certification to become a breastfeeding consultant.
There is even more comfort for Amy to know that her breastmilk donation was given to the most high-risk premature babies, nourishing their bodies just as it would have her own angel son’s.