If you’ve been following my story from the beginning, you’ll know I planned on donating my breast milk if I were emotionally able. I got to do that and I pumped for a while even through physical and emotional obstacles. Donating Aerilyn’s “Liquid Gold” and legacy was rewarding and something I was extremely determined to do. It helped me honor her and help needy babies in the process.
I ended up donating to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast (MMBNE). They were beyond helpful, supportive and encouraging during that time. I would recommend donating to them if it all possible. They’ve had over 3500 donors since they opened their doors in 2006; many of them bereaved mothers.
I only recently found out how many bereaved have donated to them. See, they hosted a Memorial Quilt Dedication on October 16th, 2016 at their domicile near Boston. At this gathering I learned that there have been many, many bereaved mothers who’ve donated their breast milk. You’d think I’d have known that since I’m friends with other donors and have heard many stories involving donation. However, seeing these women and families and hearing their stories slammed home how often bereaved donation actually happens.
The Executive Director, board and staff said many things regarding donations. Everything from thanking us, to offering condolences to talking about how much we’ve helped babies in need. While there we heard testimonies from a handful of parents who’ve lost their children and donated as well. One woman donated so much milk and runs a Facebook page for it; Donating Through Grief and her story was amazing. It was extremely touching and hard to hear so many losses from so many different causes. However, knowing that all these mothers dedicated their time and energy into helping other children even though they themselves didn’t get to nourish their own was a silver lining.
They called this get together “Memorial Quilt Donation” because one of the MMBNE’s staff members, Raechel Hackney, took her own time to create a quilt dedicated specifically for the babies who’ve been lost. She created a tree and on each leaf was written the name of a baby. They even filmed the name reading live on Facebook which you can watch below.
It was an honorable experience to share with these families. Josh encouraged me to go up and talk about Aerilyn and I very reluctantly went in front of roughly 70 people and spoke. If you know me at all, you know I have huge stage fright and I’m not comfortable talking in front of groups.
But I did it. I got to share her and her story, educate others on Anencephaly and spread awareness to others. It was nerve-wracking, it was terrifying and it felt amazing. I 100% attribute my willingness to speak to Aerilyn. Before her, I’d never of gotten the nerve to speak. Also, thank you to Josh for even suggesting and gently pushing me to get up and speak.
While there Josh and I wore our “Hope” t-shirts. They were created by a wonderful bereaved mother that lost her daughter to a Neural Tube Defect many years ago. The shirt has 160 names on it, including Aerilyn’s. This was yet another way to spread awareness and show how united this community is.
On our shirts we also pinned Baby and Infant Loss awareness ribbons that were sent to us by the Luca Hill Acrania and Anencephaly Foundation. It as just another touch to the already special day. They were a surprise in the mail and were perfect.
If you would like to know more about Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, milk donation or some other way to help in this, please contact them. They’re a wonderful group of people and they’re willing to help as much as possible.
(Keep scrolling for the Boston part of our Trip)
377 Elliot Street, Building J. Newton Upper Falls, MA 02464
(617) 527.6263 or (212) 993.1566
Slide show photos courtesy of Mira White Photography
Since we drove an hour away to attend the Quilt Dedication, we decided to make a day of it. Josh and I took Kanin to the USS Constitution in Boston, MA while they’re in dry dock. Kanin loved being on the big boat and seeing all the dodads and thingamajigs (so technical, I know LoL). I think the highlight of that tour and going to the museum was writing our names on copper that will be placed on the finished Constitution. It will go on the hull to preserve the wood and it has all our names, Aerilyn’s included.
We took a short nap on hammocks that represented what Sailors used to sleep on. There may or may not have been some swinging involved. Stamped coins were a must as well as buying a book from the gift shop. After a long day, a Sonic trip for a Route 44 cherry-limeaid was essential. It was a great cap to a full day of emotions, learning and shenanigans.
It should go without saying, October 16th was an extremely emotional and fulfilling day that will be remembered for a long time.