See Luminosity

Meeting My Milk Baby

Meeting My Milk Baby

I got to meet my Milk Baby this week.

Lest you’re confused, let me clarify that this is different from Therapy Baby. Yes, I know, I’m racking up kind of a lot of babies that are pretty daggone significant in my life, but aren’t really mine.

Milk Baby is the child to whom I’ve been giving my milk – the milk my own baby never got to drink.

I’ll start at the beginning.

Nursing Dominic

Breastfeeding is a pretty big deal to me. I’m a natural kind of gal who tries to do just about everything the healthy/alternative/as-close-to-the-way-God-made-it kind of way. I mill my own wheat for the flour I use in baking for my family, I always go to garlic in the ear canal for ear infections first instead of antibiotics, and I do home births. Breastfeeding is a non-negotiable in our family, because of the physical and emotional benefits for both my children and myself. Both of my girls were breastfed until past 18 months of age, and I very much anticipated the joy of nursing my son.

One of the main concerns I had, that first day of Dominic’s birth, after he was whisked to the NICU, was…

“When can I nurse him?”

It wasn’t the right question, though. I didn’t realize, at the time, that the correct question was, “Can he nurse?”

The answer, devastatingly to me, was “No”.

I had begun to pump almost immediately when Dominic went to the hospital, before we had any idea of his diagnosis, in anticipation of breastfeeding him “as soon as we get home”. Very shortly my concerns about having enough milk were completely eclipsed by those just a bit greater – the reality that we would not only not be nursing; we would be losing our baby all together.

So, ample milk supply I had. Yet in just a couple of days…baby to drink it? Not so much.

What to do with all of this liquid gold that God gave me, when its recipient had been given back to God?

God provided an answer.

What To Do With My Milk?

Right after Dominic’s death, I continued pumping and storing my milk, simply because I could not bear to throw it away. To do so somehow felt like I would be throwing away the only vestige of Dominic I had left. A mother’s milk is just so precious, so life-giving – I could not bring myself to let this amazing source of life diminish, when I was already surrounded by death. So I pumped and saved it; not knowing exactly why or for how long, but just knowing I had to.

About a week after Dominic’s death, I began praying about what to do with my milk. I knew I didn’t want to stop pumping, and began to feel like I wanted to give my milk to a baby who could use it. I didn’t have any idea, though, how to go about making that happen, and I didn’t have the emotional or physical energy at that time to figure it out. Fortunately, when we are weak, the Lord does his best work. And He put together a connection I never could have dreamed.

A couple of days later, a friend, who had been a right hand of support to us throughout our situation with Dominic, let us know that her sister had gone into the hospital. Her sister was very, very sick, due to some complications from her recent pregnancy and birth, and was unable to nurse her weeks-old baby, although she wanted to, desperately. Because of her health condition, she was likely not going to be able to nurse him for a significant period of time. I knew, as soon as I heard about her, that I wanted to give her my milk. I had never met my friend’s sister, but I just knew that she was the answer to my prayers about what to do with my milk.

As we worked out more of the details, I found out just how much the Lord was working in this. A personal, intimate experience of how He “works all things for good”. Yeah, God worked a miracle.

I found out, after agreeing to give her my milk, that her sister was on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet because of the baby’s needs. I am, due to my own dietary issues, on…(wait for it)…

A gluten-free, dairy-free diet.

In the entire world, the Lord put before me a person to take my milk, whose baby needed milk from a person on a gluten-free, dairy-free diet. A person personally connected to a friend that had been so meaningful to me during Dominic’s tragedy.

It was a little miracle God put together, just for me. Just to show me that He is good, and is always working for good. And, because God is an equal-opportunity miracle giver, it ended up being a miracle not only for me, but for another family as well.

Meeting my Milk Baby

So we have begun this relationship. A relationship through milk. Through my body weeping for the baby it never got to nurse, another baby has been nourished. Life from death. The way God works.

Now, almost 8 months of “milk runs” later, I’ve gotten to meet my Milk Baby. His mother brought him over and we spent the day just enjoying him and enjoying each other and enjoying the miracle that God has worked in our families because of Dominic. He is an adorable little guy with chubby cheeks and beautiful brown eyes. Well, “little” is actually not quite the right term, because if size is any indication, he is destined for the football team! I took a little pride in that fact – my heart is filled knowing that the milk Dominic never got to drink helped provide life for this healthy, bright-eyed little boy.

Meeting him was bittersweet. I held him toward the end of the afternoon, and he fell asleep in my arms as I rubbed his back and stroked his perfect cheeks. Being with him brought out emotion I haven’t felt acutely in a while; I was a bit surprised by it. This little tie to Dominic, this life-giving sustenance that still flows out of me reminds me of what I have lost. And it reminds me of how much I want another child; another baby that I can nurse, and how I have no idea if that will ever actually happen.

But, as in every moment since Dominic’s death, I have to make a choice. A choice whether to focus on what I have lost, or focus on what God is doing where I am now.

The Need and the Fulfillment

My devotion this week was focused on the book of Hosea. Hosea 14:8-9 says,

“I am like a green pine tree;
your fruitfulness comes from me.”

Who is wise? He will realize these things.
Who is discerning? He will understand them.
The ways of the Lord are right;
the righteous walk in them…”

The ways of the Lord are right. And my fruitfulness comes from Him, if I focus on Him and what He is doing, rather than on the ways I wish things were. So, although my Milk Baby’s visit connects me viscerally to what I have lost, He also connects me to the miracle of what God is doing. The ways of the Lord are right. Because of that, I have hope that, just as the Lord connected a mother with milk and no baby to a mother with a baby and no milk – He will continue to do more than I can ask or imagine. He will continue to connect the need with the fulfillment.

Please, Lord, in my life, continue to connect my need with your fulfillment.

2 Responses to “Meeting My Milk Baby”

  1. Monica Pugliani says:

    This story touches me in so many ways! I too want to thank you for being in such fine tune with the Lord and for nourishing my nephew, Eli. I am Mike’s other sister and I cannot tell you what you have given to our family. Becca means everything to us and it has been a very long, hard road to recovery. Your willingness to serve others and give your milk has helped in that recovery, Just knowing that her baby was being provided for nutritionally has allowed Becca to focus on what her body needed to get better. I believe that nursing is extremely important and I know that Becca does too. An answer to prayers seems like an understatement but that is truely what it was. The Lord works in mysterious ways and this is proof that He is over all things. I am so sorry for your loss and there are no words that I can offer that could ease any of your pain. I hope that you find some comfort in knowing that you have touched so many lives and we truely appreciate you. God bless you and your family.

  2. Michele Fralick says:

    I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing for Eli. Your milk baby is my nephew (Mike’s sister) and for such a long time, we were afraid we were going to lose Becca, Eli’s mom. She was so so sick and we prayed and prayed for her. She was absolutely devastated when she couldn’t nurse him and was willing to put her health in severe danger to continue to try to nurse him before you came along. You are an answer to many prayers and I thank the Lord so much for the miracles and blessings He has provided in this situation. I can’t imagine what it was like to lose your precious Dominic but I want you to know how thankful I am for what you are doing for Eli.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *