A US woman is being hailed as an ‘angel’ online after she pumped breast milk for 63 days while grieving the loss of her own newborn child, who passed away just hours after being born.
Neillsville resident Sierra Strangfeld and her husband, Lee, were elated when they found out that they were expecting their second child. They decided to name the baby boy Samuel. However, during the second trimester of the pregnancy they discovered their unborn son had Trisome 18 or Edward’s Syndrome, a rare genetic disorder. There is still no treatment for the condition in which a child is born with an extra chromosome, and often results in stillbirth or early death.
The parents decided to have an emergency caesarean section ahead of the due date, in order to see him alive.
However, while dealing with her grief, Strangfeld decided to pump the milk she was producing and donate it to other newborns. She decided to donate the breastmilk since she had relied on similar donations during the birth of her daughter Porter.
“Before Samuel passed, I told myself I would pump my milk to donate. Afterall, Porter was given donated milk more than half of her first year of life! I couldn’t save Samuel’s life, but maybe I could save another baby’s life,” the woman wrote in a Facebook post which went viral.
Strangfeld admitted that there were many days when she questioned her decision, but said it was her son that kept her going. She said it felt like the activity was the only thing connecting her to Samuel.
“Pumping is not for the faint of heart. It’s hard. Mentally and physically. And it’s even harder when you don’t actually have a baby,” she wrote in her post.
On the due date of her son’s birth, she bagged 500 ounces of milk for the NICU milkbanks.
“Walking through the hallways of the hospital was just another step in healing. And I know, (because I felt him), that Samuel was there with me💜” she wrote.
Many parents responded to Strangfeld’s post by thanking her for her contribution and highlighting the importance of human milk banks.
“Honestly those hours felt like minutes, and even now it’s hard to look back and remember that we had three hours with him because they went so fast,” Strangfeld told local WEAU News recalling her birth and demise of her son.
“I can guarantee most of our community didn’t know what Trisomy 18 was until Samuel. And if what this did was educate one, two, more people on it then I feel like I’ve done my job,” Strangfeld added.
“We promised him we would tell his story, but we never expected it to go nationwide like it has,” she told People. “This is his story to tell, and he is certainly telling it though every Facebook like and share, and through every news article. Our goal is to have a non-profit organization is Samuel’s name called Smiling for Samuel — we have big hopes and dreams to carry on his legacy.”
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