On Wednesday, January 9, 2008 at 2:46 p.m. my wife Kimberly Sciulli gave birth to my daughter Isabella Cecilia Sciulli. It was unexpected, as she was born three months early. Isabella was born weighing in at only one pound and four and a half ounces. That’s it. Her back was the size of my three fingers. My wedding ring could fit up her entire arm or leg. Her head was the size of a racket ball. We were informed Isabella was going to have to “fight for her life”. Every day the doctors reminded us of everything that was going to go wrong and of all the obstacles and challenges our beautiful daughter would face. Kimberly and I were helpless with the situation but we did what we could. We would sit by her incubator and pray…and Kim would pump breast milk.
The doctor told Kimberly and me that breast milk would greatly increase Isabella’s chance for survival. At that point, Kimberly made it her goal to pump as much breast milk as possible. She created a schedule, and she would pump, and pump, and pump. She would wake up in the middle of the night to pump breast milk, it was Kim’s mission. It was what she could do to help Isabella survive. She pumped everyday and she made sure she got every drop; it was her “liquid gold”. None was wasted. Soon, our freezer at home was completely full and we began bringing small coolers full of breast milk to the hospital on what seemed like a daily basis. Kim stayed so dedicated and passionate and had collected so much, but still continued to pump. One day our best friends from Charlotte visited. I remember Kimberly and her friend Michelle talking for two hours about how important breast milk was for Isabella. Two hours, just about the importance of breast milk. Michelle’s husband Chris and I could hear the passion in Kim’s voice. Unfortunately, 40 days after Isabella was born, tragedy struck; one thing the doctors didn’t warn us about. Kimberly, my love, passed away on February 19, 2008. She passed away due to postpartum cardiomyopathy.
Days after the funeral, Chris and Michelle called to talk to me about companies that offered safe, pasteurized donated breast milk. They knew it was Kimberly’s priority for Isabella to continue on a human milk diet for her health and growth, and that Kimberly’s milk would go quickly. After working with them and doing my own research, I chose to use Prolacta’s pasteurized breast milk due to the testing and processing of their milk. With the help of our friends, we got the hospital to agree to bring in Prolacta’s human milk fortifier for Isabella. Isabella is truly a miracle. She is two and a half years old and is completely healthy. She has her mother’s personality and is so loving and pleasant, always smiling. All of the concerns the doctors warned Kim and I of never happened. I attribute her health to a few things: God, Kimberly looking over us, the fabulous care from the doctors and nurses in the NICU, and last, but definitely not least, donated breast milk.
Isabella is nearly seven years old today! See the before and after picture.