Saturday, August 1, 2015

Mom Transports 200 oz. of Breast Milk from Hawaii to Alabama

by Krystal Ness, Guest blogger

Hi, I'm Krystal!  I have two children (4 yr old girl and 1 yr old boy).  I was unable to breastfeed my first due to a low supply, so I was adamant about making it work with my second baby.  From the beginning things were phenomenal!  He latched on right away and for the majority of our nursing relationship things went smoothly.  I work outside of the home, so pumping was a daily activity for me (nurse when I was home and pump at work).

When my littlest was 10 months old I took a business trip for 2 full weeks.  I was so nervous about all things breastfeeding that I was literally nauseated while sitting at the gate waiting to board.  Would my baby take the frozen milk I pumped? Would we have enough for the full 2 weeks?  Would I be able to find the time and room to pump while away from my baby?  Would my supply go down because he's not latching?  How do I get my milk back home after I pump it?  This was no easy trip either.  I was going to Hawaii -- thousands of miles away from my little boy.

The trip out there was long, but after I got settled into my condo I got into a rhythm pumping before work, at work, and after work each day.  I felt like that was all I was doing.  The place I was working did not have a room that I could use so I either pumped in the bathroom (making sure I was sanitary) or I pumped in my rental car.  After nearly 2 weeks I had about 200 oz. of frozen milk.  During my trip I called FedEx and UPS to find out how to ship my milk.  I was so disappointed to find out that the quickest they could get it to Alabama was 48 hrs.  I thought there was no way to get my milk home.  I had spent countless hours during this trip pumping, remembering why I spent the time and effort to pump, and my hopes that he would be nourished with it were dashed.  I was in tears.  I couldn't fathom throwing away that much milk.

The only option I had was to check my milk with my luggage.  I remember being so incredibly nervous walking up to the check-in counter.  "Do you have any explosives, firearms, or flammable material in this cooler?" No.  Phew!  "If you don't mind me asking what is in this cooler?" Frozen Breastmilk.  My inner self winced as I wondered whether she would have a problem with this, but her response was as if it was completely normal that I was traveling with my own milk from Hawaii to Alabama.  I was home free.  The only thing I worried about after that point was whether or not my luggage would get lost.  Standing at the Huntsville Airport waiting for the cooler I heard the ding of the luggage belt.  Within 30 seconds I saw my box crest over the luggage conveyor!  It made it!  When I got home, the milk was still completely frozen.  Pumped with love in Hawaii.  :-)

During my trip, after determining I had to check a cooler, I searched online for the best way to accomplish packing, but I found very few resources.  I purchased a cooler on Amazon, meant specifically for shipping food.  I purchased techni-ice and blue gel icepacks.  I filled the cooler completely full with as little space as possible.  I taped (using duct tape) around the top and sides of the cooler to ensure the lid would stay shut.  I put the cooler in a box of the same size (mine came with the cooler).  I labeled the box BREASTMILK and added my address and phone number  in case something went wrong and then I put the whole package in another box.

While I was gone, we did actually end up using donated milk for about 3-4 days.  A close friend of mine who pumps for the Milk Bank brought some over for my husband when he was close to running out of my own stash.  She even offered to wet nurse him.  I have used every single means possible to feed my baby breastmilk.  Nursed, Pumped, and Donated Milk!  I wish I had these friends and community resources earlier with my first baby!

I want to share
my story in hopes that other working moms gain hope that even a business trip doesn't need to end a nursing relationship.  We truly can meet the needs of our children while accomplishing our own dreams.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Let's Celebrate the Normalization of Breastfeeding

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
Thursday a number of moms and nursing babies/toddlers descended on Point Mallard. What had first been intended as a protest against the treatment received by nursing mother Emily Jackson, turned into a full -fledged celebration of the normalization of breastfeeding! Thanks to the amazing publicity due to the article written by Anna Claire Vollers, Point Mallard was quick to issue a statement in support of nursing mothers and their families.

Recently another local mom had an unfortunate experience at a local restaurant. Alex Ragland was celebrating her husband's return after a business trip. They were enjoying dinner at Buenavista where Alex ordered a Margarita. She waited to drink it until she was done nursing her 7month old son. After securing him in his high chair, she relaxed and drank her cocktail. When she ordered a second one, the waitress began making loud comments to other customers about her endangering her baby. One of the customers, himself a Redstone Arsenal Police Officer, called the Madison Police! When Alex went out to her car, she was met by Officers who explained that they had to make a report since they were called. They informed her that they had no choice but to involve DHR. The manager of Buenavista was extremely upset by what had happened to them, and he gave them their meal for free.

That night Alex contacted me because she was so understandably upset. She did speak with an attorney, (one of our incredible ANM moms) but decided not to pursue legal action. This week I stopped in to see Antonio, the manager. He was quick to tell me that the offending waitress no longer works there. He also expressed his dismay over what happened to Alex. He couldn't understand why anybody would give a second thought to somebody breastfeeding since it is completely normal in his home country! He assured me that all his staff understands never to bother a nursing mom, and if another patron complains, he will be relocated.

In light of Antonio's wonderful attitude, and with Alex's full blessing, we are planning a  #NormalizeBreastfeeding celebration for Thursday, July 2, at 6:00 at Buenavista on Highway 72 in Madison. We are taking advantage of their $2.99 margaritas as part of our celebration. Please understand that we are NOT encouraging moms to drink while nursing. Although Dr. Jack Newman  has said that "Reasonable alcohol intake should not be discouraged at all." Basically, if you are safe to drive, a Baby is safe to dine! Nevertheless, Alex did nurse first THEN had her margarita.

Let us know if you plan to come by responding to this link in Huntsville Mommy Milk Meet-up. Of course husbands are welcome! In fact, my husband and I plan to be there celebrating with our amazing mamas and babies!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Milk Depot Opens in Madison

by Glenni Lorick, IBCLC

This morning a young man walked into my store and asked if I had heard about the Milk Depot opening up in Madison. I. WAS. EXCITED! I quickly learned that two of my amazing IBCLC friends, Stacy Ramirez and Elizabeth Dunaway, through Connections Breastfeeding have created the first satellite drop-off location for the Mother's Milk Bank of Alabama. 

This is an incredible step for mothers and babies in North Alabama because that brings us a step closer to increased use of breastmilk in North Alabama hospitals. All it takes for an infant to receive donated breastmilk in the hospital is a prescription from a physician, and with greater availability, we hope to see a steady rise in the use of banked human milk  in our area so that stories like this will become commonplace here! In fact, if you are a health professional interested in ordering breast milk for your patients, you can contact Katherine Wood at or 205-942-8911.  

The Connections Milk Bank freezer will be located at Journey Massage, 1874 Slaughter Rd, Madison, AL 35758. Drop off can be scheduled online at Journey Massage by clicking on "schedule your next appointment" and scrolling down to Connections Depot Deposit.  

Many women are truly blessed with an abundant supply of breastmilk. While some mothers share their milk with a friend, other moms really have no idea what to do with the excess milk they pump. And some mothers are really excited about the prospect of their milk being used to help a sick or premature infant! There are certain requirements for donors, but the reward of being able to donate is worth any potential hassle posed by the requirements! Mothers interested in donating at the Madison depot can download a donor packet here. 

If you have a personal story of how milk from a milk bank has helped YOUR little one, please share in the comments!

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Worship Before the Throne of God

By Glenni Lorick, IBCLC
If you come into A Nurturing Moment, you're likely to hear K-Love Christian radio playing because I love the atmosphere it provides. I listen to K-Love in my car, too. Since I spend a lot of time on the road between the store, Athens-Limestone Hospital and my home, I get to listen to a LOT of amazing songs; in fact, my little Honda transforms into a rolling worship service sometimes! Just this week I heard this version of How Great Is Our God for the first time.
It literally brought tears to my eyes because it took me back to our time in Costa Rica when we were in language school preparing to go to Peru. We had found a church that was pastured by a Peruvian pastor in a suburb of San Jose. Together with some Swiss friends from our language school we had gotten involved in this amazing congregation.

Our Costa Rican brothers and sisters take prayer very seriously. One night we had a vigilia -an all night prayer meeting where we spent time praying, worshiping and sharing sweet fellowship. As we stood in a circle holding hands and singing, I found myself between my Swiss friend and a dear Costa Rican sister worshiping with all my heart as we sang a Spanish song.

Suddenly it struck me that I was experiencing a tiny foretaste of Heaven - I imagine that we will spend all eternity praising God in all the languages of the world with all the songs that have ever been written. And the best part of all is that we will understand all the words. I don't know about you, but it sure makes me just a little bit homesick for that day when our eternity of worship before the throne of God begins!

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

My C-Section Truths

by an anonymous  Guest Blogger

For a long time I didn't think that I could get pregnant. We adopted a son a few years ago and were more than content with him. But I miraculously became pregnant in 2013 and quickly decided that I wanted a natural birth. I chose a doula who was also a midwife, so I knew that I was in good hands.

Having a C-section was not on my radar. I never read that chapter in What to Expect, and I ignored any information about it because (in my mind), I thought those were either elective or emergency—and to my prideful mind, those weren’t options for me!

But after 48 hours of natural labor, my baby became stuck, and I ultimately had a C-section. It was harder than I imagined. The entire experience and the few months that followed were the hardest of my entire life. My son’s birthday is next month, and I can’t help but think (almost daily) about that time. Recently, I read this article, and it took a hold of me and hasn’t let go:

My thoughts after reading that sweet blog post:

Yes, that OR is a scary place, especially when my heart monitor chirped in my ear and scared me each time there was a missed beat. And even though I know my next home is heaven, I didn't want to leave my boys and family. 

Yes, the preppers talked about other things (the beach). My doctor asked 2-3 times where my family was, which is exactly what my inner voice was screaming. I can remember when he quietly said that he was moving my bladder, and I was so grossed out and so thankful I couldn't feel it.  My husband and doula came in very late-he had already begun.  It seemed like just a couple of minutes (and maybe it was) that my son was out, my husband was gone with him, and so began the sewing up.

I still regret, am disappointed, and am frustrated that I didn't get to see my son when he first entered this world. I still feel that I was robbed of seeing that precious boy exit my body, his home, to enter the cold, bright OR room, so foreign to what he was used to.  I still fight bitterness that I didn't get to hold him immediately and that he was robbed of the peace and warmth that should have come from being next to his mama, and hearing her now-faint heartbeat.

I still can't/don't want to look at photos of other women and their newborns resting on their chests just after birth. I still feel fight bitterness when I see happy couples with their wrapped up newborn while in the hospital. I don't have any pictures of those.  I still fight the disappointment that I only heard my son’s cry from far away to know that he was alive, rather than seeing him and holding him. I just remember just gazing into my doula’s eyes, finding/fighting for peace and strength to get through the next heartbeat.

I somehow feel that the author's use of "brave" when describing a C-section mom is somehow too strong. We mothers did what we had to do to—it’s as simple as that. When I look back on those first few weeks being home, I am still in awe that I made it...especially those first few nights. Getting up (which is incredibly hard to do when you're semi-afraid that your insides might pop out) to feed a crying baby/change his diaper every hour and a half to two hours was just plain hard. Not to mention constantly wondering/doubting if I was doing the right thing. And to think about how now I don't feel rested unless I have 7 hours of sleep!

I will say that I totally agree that a C-section leaves physical AND emotional scars. Though I believe I had an excellent surgeon and had little/no complications and don't have problems with my physical scar like many other women (and feel VERY blessed), it's so true that it's emotional, too. Don't get me wrong—yes, the end result is what really matters: healthy baby, healthy mama. But there's much more that most people—especially those who haven't been in the same situation—can't imagine.

BUT....and here's a BIG but:

Though I sometimes struggle with my disappointment and grief, I DO realize how blessed I am that I experienced the greatest miracle of humanity (other than Jesus)--being pregnant and giving birth. I can remember the pangs of loneliness when seeing pregnant women bask in that special beauty that only comes from having another life growing inside of you. I remember watching mothers breastfeeding their babies and being saddened, thinking I’d never get to have that awesome experience. I remembering being on the adoption waiting list: full of hope and excitement, all the while being anxious about the unknown. I'm fully aware of those thousands of infertile women and/or those waiting who are waiting on an adoption waiting list who would LOVE to have a baby in ANY manner and who would switch places with me in a heartbeat. I don’t believe that they would spend much—if any—time regretting what might or should have been. In the end, they would be incredibly grateful for that baby that they could call their own.
Having a C-section was not on my radar. I never read that chapter in What to Expect

Yes, things didn't go "my" way regarding the birth, but God allowed it to happen that way. And it's ok—really. I'm thankful for the opportunity, the privilege…no, the high HONOR that it is to be a mother.  (And I realize how blessed to be a mom in two different, special ways!) So, it's perhaps much easier for me to let go of those times of disappointment than others. But, like an old injury, it aches sometimes.