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Showing posts from 2018

What is Charitable Care?

Charitable care means different things to different people. For some it is associated with shame and guilt; for others, hope, gratitude and relief.
At Mothers' Milk Bank at Austin, charitable can mean life.
MMBA is in the midst of our month-long end-of-year fundraising campaign. This is not to fund a building, conduct research, or pay anyone’s salary. It’s a campaign to support our Charitable Care Program, in place since the Milk Bank’s founding in 1999. It enables us to provide donor milk to all infants with a medical need for milk without regard to their insurance coverage or family financial resources.

Let me explain. MMBA expends substantial resources recruiting milk donors and processing their milk to make it safe for vulnerable babies. For inpatient infants our costs are reimbursed by hospitals, but some fragile babies are sent home from the hospital still medically dependent on donor human milk. MMBA continues to provide the milk, even though insurance companies very rare…

Meet "Miracle Baby" Victoria Grace Cogwin

The story of our miracle baby started early in 2014. My husband and I were living in Houston at the time. One day we got the news that my youngest daughter, Veronica, and her husband, Jack, were expecting their fifth child. The due date was late September. We were excited since Jack had just transferred from Columbus, OH, to Austin, and this child was going to be born a Texan —  yay! I wouldn’t have to fly to Ohio as I did for the births of my other four grandchildren. This time we would be making road trips between Houston and Austin.
It so happened that this baby decided to make her entrance into this world 15 weeks early via an emergency C-section. We were devastated with the news and started to pray for my daughter and the baby. We did not know what to do, but we knew we had to do something. So, I started to ask the Lord for guidance.
When we first met Victoria, she lay in her isolette in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of St. David’s Hospital downtown. It was hard not to c…

Mother's Day 2018

Being a mother is the best and hardest thing I have ever done. 

I had a textbook perfect pregnancy until the beginning of my third trimester. I hadn’t even decorated the nursery, bought a crib, or had a baby shower, when I was hospitalized as a precaution for preeclampsia with my first baby at 29 weeks. As I started bedrest, doctors ran tests and wanted to keep me under observation and delay delivery as long as possible to give my baby every moment to grow in my womb. After a few days I became suddenly and violently ill, and my baby and I were in crisis as I became eclamptic and had a seizure. Blood tests showed my liver was shutting down. I had never heard of HELLP syndrome, a very serious pregnancy complication that can cause liver damage and cerebral hemorrhage, and can be fatal for mother and baby, but now I had it!

Shocked, my husband watched the frantic race as doctors wheeled me off for an emergency C-section. Minutes later, he walked down the hall to the NICU with our 3-pound…

From Donor Mom Diana

I really didn't know that donating milk was a thing until my niece was born nine weeks early. By a twist of fate, I was visiting my sister in Austin, when my niece came into the world. I live in Virginia and was pregnant myself, so it was almost like the stars had aligned for me to be there. Anyway, it was a scary situation because I felt pretty helpless; I wasn't really able to do anything for my sister and niece beyond just to visit and worry. At some point during this visit I learned of the importance of breast milk to preemies. I mean, I knew it was beneficial, but I didn't realize it was life saving. I nursed my son until he was 2.5 years old, and I had every intention of doing the same for my daughter. I decided to add donation into the mix.

I tried to find a local hospital to donate the milk, but if there is a place, I had a hard time locating information about it. I contacted the Milk Bank at Austin because I knew of them from my experiences just a few months before…

4 Children, 3 Donor Babies, & Lots of Life-saving

Donor Mom Ashley's story:
I began pumping with my first (now 8) in order to finish out the school year. I was blessed with an abundance of milk and as the summer approached, I looked for something to do with our deep freeze full of milk. I was grateful to hear about the Mother’s Milk Bank and happily donated our excess right as we learned we were pregnant with baby number 2, who is now almost 7 years old! Because pumping had gone so well for the first, I pumped every morning with baby number 2 as a way to have a little extra on hand and in order to specifically donate to the babies the Milk Bank serves. The second time around brought in over 1000oz and it was so nice to be donating and helping, especially when our finances were lean and I didn’t have a lot of other ways to help people.

Little did I know that this pumping experience was preparing me in big ways.

A short time later, we learned that baby number 3 was headed our way and that this baby would be blessing us in a number o…

100 Words from Donor Mom Debralee

Just recently I was invited by a local college to participate in a project titled 100 Women, 100 Words. A project/exhibit designed to honor local women in the community who have contributed to or made an impact in the Rio Grande Valley. I soon was instructed to submit a 6x6 canvas with a painting, collage, or photograph of anything that interests me and 100 words to accompany.
This gave me the perfect opportunity to reminisce about my time as a Donor Mom:

I wanted a second child so badly (Samuel 1:27) I prayed endlessly.  I got the news we were pregnant during a regular scheduled check with my OB in December 2013.  Breastfeeding came hard with my first child. It wasn’t an easy task and soon enough the milk factory closed. The little I had saved in my freezer would soon be all gone and formula was soon introduced. I felt like a failure. But now I had a second chance. So I again took to prayer and prayed for an abundance of milk.
Caleb Samuel was born the morning of July 8, 2014. He was pe…

From Donor Mom Ann...

I never planned to donate milk. I never planned to even pump. I just wanted to breastfeed my baby first and foremost, for as long as I could. Of course, life often doesn’t go to plan. When my baby was born via C-section at 37 weeks, I was allowed to see her briefly before she was moved to the NICU. Although I knew it was highly likely she would go to the NICU because she had been diagnosed via ultrasound with a birth defect of the abdominal wall, I still held out that maybe, just maybe, I would get that “golden hour” after birth of holding and breastfeeding my baby.

Instead, I didn’t get to hold my baby until 12 hours after she was born, and despite the help of multiple lactation consultants in the hospital, my baby was too weak to nurse. Although 37 weeks is not considered “preemie,” the doctors described my baby as exhibiting features of a preemie. She would latch, pull back and scream in frustration, and become too tired to eat anything. It turned out she had hypotonia (low muscle to…