15th November 2017

Rachael photo for website
At the end of 2014 I fell pregnant with my second child. It was a completely textbook pregnancy at first, until we found out that our daughter had several life threatening disabilities including spina bifida, hydronephrosis and an omphalocele. I did what any parent would do and I thouroughly researched these illnesses to see what my daughter would be dealing with. I knew that she wouldn’t have a particularly easy life, and was told by specialist doctors that she would spend the first one to two years of her life recieving treatment in hospital. At this point, I learnt about the SCBU and NICU and what they would do for my daughter. Unfortunately my little girl passed away at 19 weeks and 6 days, and thoughts about medical care and units faded away.
At least they did until I fell pregnant with my third child at the beginning of 2015. It was whilst I was discussing breastfeeding him with a midwife that I remembered something a specialist doctor had told me – that my daughter, Primrose was going to have to recieve donor milk alongside my own breastmilk as her illnesses would most definitely mean that her body would not thrive on formula. This was something completely new to me: I had breastfed my first son, Jacob for 7 months and fully intended to feed my second son but had never thought about donating milk. The concept was new to me and very interesting. I did a lot of research into it and found the North West Milk Bank, I decided that donating my breast milk was definitely the right decision for me. I knew that by doing so, not only would I be helping babies who would have been born with similar illnesses to my daughter but I would be honouring her memory too.
When Theodore was born it took us a few months to settle into a proper routine as he was a very sporadic feeder at first. But when he reached 8 weeks old I knew it was time to start! We donated right up until he turned 9 months old, if it wasn’t for the age restriction then I would definitely still be donating now as he is still breastfeeding now at 22 months old. We did not donate a massive amount in comparison to some, only a few litres, but I’m glad we did as I know that somewhere out there, me and Theo managed to help other babies with our milk!
I fell pregnant again earlier this year and had planned to breastfeed and donate milk again before we had even had our first scan. Unfortunately the little one passed away, but I know that one day when I have my second rainbow baby I will be ready to help the milk bank as soon as I can!