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Army veteran and NICU mom Alexandra continues to give back

Quick facts:

  • Army veteran & NICU mom
  • Child was donor milk recipient
  • Additional income is helping them save for second IVF embryo transfer

“I am 29 years old with a birthday coming up in September. I am also married with a stepdaughter and a 15-month-old son. I love sports and cannot wait to teach my son all about the New York Giants this upcoming football season as well as signing him up for lacrosse when he is older. After winning a national title in college for lacrosse, I joined the U.S. Army.

Then I went on to work in emergency medical services. After I got pregnant, I decided to go back to school to fulfill my dream of becoming a nurse. What makes me uniquely me is my goofy personality as well as my drive to work hard. My son is my absolute world and everything I do is for him.

I wanted to become a breast milk donor when I realized I had an oversupply while pumping for my son in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). I found Prolacta because I knew I wanted my milk to go to helping babies in the NICU. I went on Google looking for a milk bank that specifically works with NICU babies, which is how I found Tiny Treasures.

My son received donor milk for a few days before my supply came in and that was one less thing I had to worry about. I knew I wanted to help other Mom’s and babies like my son. With the compensation from Prolacta, my wife and I can save money for when we are ready for our second IVF embryo transfer.

Kayden was born at 34 weeks with severe intrauterine growth restriction. He was 3lbs 0.3oz and 15 inches long. My NICU experience was full of ups and downs. My son was not a typical 34 weeker due to the growth restriction. He was born in respiratory distress and was unable to regulate his blood sugar or body temperature. Kayden had a hard time staying off oxygen. He would stop breathing and his heart rate would drop during feeds. Kayden had a patent foramen ovale (PFO) and right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) but luckily did not need any intervention. Kayden was in the NICU for 5 weeks before coming home one week before his due date.

Today, Kayden is 15 months old and thriving. He recently doubled his birth height and has been gaining weight appropriately. He has jumped from less than 1st percentile to 25th percentile. He loves to climb everything, play outside, and read books with Mommy.

In terms of advice for other donors, first and foremost, give yourself a break and go easy on yourself mama. Take it day by day and make it a point to write down a few positives each day. Naturally we tend to focus on the negative events. Cherish the small details and take a lot of pictures. Celebrate every single milestone no matter how big or small. Something I wish I did when I knew we were getting closer to going home is turn the monitors off in my son’s NICU room. I did not realize how much I relied on the monitors until I got home making the transition a little more difficult. The nurses can still monitor from the nurses’ station.

The most rewarding aspect of my milk donation journey was attending the Prolacta advocacy tour and listening to the statistics of how Prolacta products, made from my breast milk, are significantly improving the lives of premature babies.”

Learn more about Alexandra from her interview with the NICU Alumni Podcast.