Evelyne is our first baby. Prior to her birth, I had several miscarriages. My pregnancy with Evelyne was not easy—I experienced many complications starting with a hematoma in my early months, followed by an incompetent cervix at 19 weeks which required transportation to another hospital and a rescue cerclage (surgical stitch of the cervix to prevent premature labor). After weeks of bedrest, my water broke at 24 weeks and I was admitted to the hospital on bedrest. Four weeks later, Evelyne was delivered via emergency c-section at 28 weeks gestation weighing 1130 g (2 lb 8 oz).
My husband and I are vegan and are adamant about living a chemical-free lifestyle. Given this, we really felt it was important to minimize our daughter’s exposure to unnecessary chemicals during her NICU stay. We asked the NICU staff to use chemical-free soaps, lotions, and creams that we brought in and the staff obliged our requests.
Evelyne was on respiratory support until she was 35 weeks and had jaundice but was otherwise healthy under the circumstances. She also had frequent apneas, which were closely monitored and required manual intervention.
The same day Evelyne was born I met with a lactation consultant who told me about Prolacta’s 100% human milk–based fortifiers. Prolacta’s fortifiers were available at Evelyne’s NICU, but only for the sickest preemies.
Since Evelyne did not qualify she would be receiving a fortifier made from cow’s milk. As a vegan, we were opposed to this. I insisted that if the NICU felt that a fortifier was necessary for my baby I would refuse anything other than a human milk–based fortifier. Our request moved up the hospital chain of command and eventually we were granted permission to feed Evelyne Prolact+ H2MF® human milk fortifier, the only fortifier made from 100% breastmilk. It was a long process but completely worth it.
Evelyne was discharged after 81 days in the NICU and weighed about 4 and a half pounds. She is currently 1 year old and thriving, but still quite small weighing only 15 pounds. Her doctor said that she excels in her fine motor skills and was impressed that she could walk with assistance at 10 months of age (6 months corrected). She is a bright and alert baby, with no developmental shortcomings for her actual age. She is truly the happiest baby. My husband and I always tell people she has two moods: happy and sleepy! I credit her current health and vitality to breastmilk, kangaroo care, and Prolacta!
Be an advocate for your baby and follow your instincts! We were polite but firm with the staff. We listened to their recommendations and did our own research. I know that I did everything in my power and control to ensure that my baby had the healthiest start in life. Speak your mind and advocate for YOUR baby!