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Mom and nurse Kayla helps others by donating

Quick facts:

  • Kayla is a NICU nurse
  • Her son Elliot is NICU warrior and Prolacta fortifier recipient
  • Donating her excess breastmilk makes her feel like she is a part of something bigger than herself

“Donating my breastmilk makes me feel like I’m a part of something so much bigger than myself. Leaving my little guy Elliott in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) was excruciating. Knowing that my son was receiving the best possible nutrition at least gave me one less thing to worry about during that stressful time.

Elliott was put on Prolacta fortifiers when he was 6 days old. I’m a NICU nurse, so I had a base-level knowledge of Prolacta prior to having to use it for my own NICU baby!

At 30 weeks, I was hospitalized for a few nights due to preeclampsia. The plan was to monitor our son’s heart rate, do some repeat ultrasounds, and manage my blood pressure.

Routine labs were drawn and it was discovered that I developed Hemolysis, Elevated Liver enzymes and Low Platelets (HELLP) Syndrome. From diagnosis, we were in the OR in less than 30 minutes. After a huge blur of chaos, consent forms, and scrub caps, our sweet Elliott was born via emergency cesarean at 30 weeks and 5 days gestation, weighing 2 pounds 15 ounces.

In the NICU, Elliott experienced a brief stint of intubation requiring oxygen up to 44%, a week on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, total parenteral nutrition and fluids, lipids, umbilical venous and arterial catheters, a peripherally inserted centra catheter (PICC) line, isolation due to neutropenia, and nasogastric/orogastric (NG/OG) feedings. During Elliott’s earliest days, he received my breastmilk fortified with Prolacta.

After 41 days in the NICU, Elliott was discharged on Christmas Eve and spent the holidays at home with us! After discharge, the only complication Elliott experienced was mild retinopathy of prematurity. Thankfully, it resolved quickly! Our little guy is still on the small side, but he has such a big personality and is thriving in every way.

I am also a NICU nurse for the same hospital where my son was admitted. I am thankful for the knowledge I had of the NICU, breastmilk, prematurity, and Prolacta prior to Elliott’s early debut. Our NICU stay was one of the hardest things our family has ever experienced, but having some base knowledge was really beneficial!

I am absolutely amazed in the things my body has accomplished over the last year! Not only have I been able to provide breastmilk for my own child, but I’ve been able to help some of the most fragile NICU babies with my supply. That is just something so special.

These tiny tots were brought into this world early, given obstacles from their first breath. Knowing that I’m able to help these little ones grow and develop with my breastmilk is beyond rewarding.

I intended to donate my breastmilk for at least a year, but my milk supply drastically decreased recently. Regardless, I intend to pump for my own baby until he is a year old!”