A NSW mother has revealed how she kept her stillborn daughter in a “cuddle cot” as she tried to nurse the little girl’s twin brother to health – and how the tragedy led her to helping others.
Griffith woman Yana Williams, 32, found out at 12 weeks her little girl, Halo, was not going to survive birth due to a heart defect.
The mum-of-four told Yahoo7 she and husband James were informed Halo would not survive the first trimester, but “scan by scan she was still alive just measuring behind Kyzan (her twin brother)”.
Halo passed the second trimester and held on into the third but “gave up her fight” at 33 weeks, bringing Ms Williams into labour in September 2017.
Adding to the family’s stress, little Kyzan was having breathing difficulties. He was put on breathing apparatus.
Luckily his breathing became more relaxed after his mother made skin-to-skin contact for the first time.
“It was very emotional to see him like this and also the loss of our precious Halo,” the mum said.
“I truly believe she held on to give him (Kyzan) the best chance of life.”
Ms Williams kept her little girl in a “cuddle cot” nearby for three days.
“I kept her with me as long as I could before we said our goodbyes,” she said.
The 32-year-old also had issues feeding her little boy too.
She said Kyzan had to be fed through a tube and had to use syringes to extract colostrum. He was fed five millilitres of milk every half-an-hour via a nasal tube.
“I was really determined to give Kyzan the best start to life,” Ms Williams said.
But by day three, Ms Williams got a pump and managed to get 180 millilitres of milk from each of her breasts.
“Kyzan was only having 10 to 30 millilitres every three hours the first couple of weeks so having 360 millilitres was heaps,” she said.
“Enough to feed four babies.”
The Williams family freezer space was full of breast milk and Ms Williams had no idea what to do with it.
The mum-of-four then realised she could use it to help others.
On a trip to Melbourne not long afterwards, she decided to take six litres of the milk with her in case her husband needed to feed Kyzan.
She then jumped on a Facebook page called Human Milk for Human Babies – Victoria, and got in touch with a man who needed the milk for his child.
“He was a lovely man who was relying on milk for his 18-month-old,” she said.
Ms Williams donated another six litres to Mother’s Milk Bank on the Gold Coast. It was flown from her home in Griffith to Queensland via Sydney.
“It was such a good feeling knowing it was going to some precious child,” she said.
Ms Williams is now recommending any women with an oversupply of breastmilk to donate, and added before she donated there was a shortage.
“They were so extremely grateful,” Ms Williams said.
“It is already feeding so many premature babies.”
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According to Mothers Milk Bank Australia, breastmilk contains a “variety of nutrient and immunological factors that cannot be replicated” for babies with antibodies which protect them from infections and diseases.
It cited the World Health Organisation and UNICEF as supporting donor’s milk when mother’s milk is not available.
If you would like to donate breast milk, click here for more information.