Three years ago, Brianna and Monica Lira knew they wanted to have a baby of their own but were unsure of the process to have a baby as a gay couple.
“I reached out to the LGBTQ+ Center of Los Angeles for help. Luckily, they were able to send us great resource tools and recommended a great office in Pasadena, about 15 miles east from home,” recounts Monica. “We went in for a consultation, and our minds were blown— we did not know there were so many options for purchasing specimens to conceive. We also learned more about a woman's body and let me tell you a woman’s body is still a mystery, even for us two women.”
The couple faced many difficulties during their journey to conceive but finally became pregnant after multiple rounds of insemination.
“The pain was getting unbearable,” said Monica. “Brianna and I talked about taking a longer break to help "heal" but decided we would try once more before the break...then puff! I became pregnant after that last try.”
Monica had a normal pregnancy and enjoyed being spoiled by her wife and father-in-law. Everything changed on October 23 when Monica started experiencing pain in her lower chest. Thinking it was related to an old gallbladder surgery scar, Brianna took Monica to the hospital just to be safe. The couple were surprised to find Monica’s blood pressure was high.
Initially, doctors planned to attempt to control Monica’s blood pressure and keep her in the ICU for the next three months. However, three days after being admitted to the hospital, Monica was rushed to the operating table for an emergency C-section due to Preeclampsia complications. Christina Eloisa Lira was born at 26 weeks, weighing 1lb 4oz (567 g).
During their stay in the NICU, Monica struggled with pumping due to the separation from Christina. One fateful day in the NICU, the moms happened to overhear a very interesting conversation.
“We overheard a Prolacta rep in the NICU giving all the nurses a presentation about human milk-based products. We must have heard that orientation about 4 or 5 times in one week,” recalls Brianna. “When the doctor told us about the products, we did not think twice. We knew she needed all the help she could get, and that using breast milk-based products would give her the nutrients she needed.”
Baby Christina was the first inborn baby at the Queen of the Valley NICU to receive Prolacta’s human milk-based products, and the rep that the family had overheard was none other than Amy Gertz, Senior Clinical Sales Specialist, who introduced us all to the Lira family.
After 92 days in the NICU, Christina was finally discharged on January 26, 2022, weighing 4lbs 8 oz.
“It was a fun and very emotional day for us all,” said Brianna. “All her nurses had a graduation for her. They signed a banner for her, wore party hats, and brought balloons for her. They all walked us out of the building and cheered us on as we put Christina in the car.”
Today, Christina is a happy, healthy 1-year-old who loves playing with inflated balloons, learning about new foods, and spending time watching her two weenie dogs play around her.
When asked about advice for new parents in the NICU, the Lira’s agreed that getting to know your NICU nurses is essential.
“We felt a lot of love in the NICU and absolutely loved how much the nurses loved our daughter,” recounted Monica. “They reminded her how much she was loved every day and sang and talked to her. We knew we hit the lottery when we ended up at Queen of the Valley NICU in West Covina, California.”