Mum Spends 63 Days Pumping Breast Milk To Donate After Son Dies Just After Birth
Losing a child is never an easy thing to experience, especially when it's just after giving birth.
That was the situation facing Sierra and Lee Strangfeld.
When Sierra was 20 weeks pregnant, the American couple learned that the baby they were expecting had trisomy 18 - which is a rare genetic condition that causes life-threatening birth defects.
Babies diagnosed with the condition - also known as Edward's Syndrome - usually don't survive long after giving birth. Sierra and Lee decided not interfere with the pregnancy so they would get to spend a little time with their son.
He arrived two months before his due date and when he was born, they named him Samuel Lee. He died just three hours later.
The couple, from Neillsville, Wisconsin, were understandably devastated but Sierra wanted to do something positive to help others who might be struggling.
She has now laid bare her experience in an emotional Facebook post that has racked up thousands of likes, shares and comments.
"When I found out I was pregnant again, I wanted nothing more than to be successful at breastfeeding," Sierra wrote. "But when we found out of Samuel's diagnosis, I knew that was not going to happen. Just another hope that was taken from me.
"Before Samuel passed, I told myself I would pump my milk to donate. After all, Porter [their daughter] was given donated milk more than half of her first year of life!
"I couldn't save Samuel's life, but maybe I could save another baby's life."
Sierra ended up pumping milk for a whopping 63 days and as a result she filled loads of bags of breast milk, which can be used to help women who can't do the same.
When she was finished, she had managed to pump more than 14 litres of milk. But she says the experience certainly took its toll.
"Pumping is not for the faint of heart," she added. "It's hard. Mentally and physically. And it's even harder when you don't actually have a baby.
"There were times I was angry because why did my milk have to come in when I had no baby to feed? Why was I waking up in the middle of the night for this? The other part of me felt it was the only thing connecting me to Samuel here on Earthside. I sure hope he's proud of me!
"I am not an over supplier by any means - but I did it.
"And today, his due date, I donated my milk to the NICU [neonatal intensive care unit] milkbanks for the first and last time. Walking through the hallways of the hospital was just another step in healing. And I know, (because I felt him), that Samuel was there with me."
Sierra and Lee have been raising awareness of trisomy 18 ever since and they hope their experience will let others know what can be done.
Featured Image Credit: Sierra Strangfeld/Facebook