Baby Abigail's Lasting Legacy
Amanda and Allen knew their journey as parents would be unique. In December, their unborn daughter, Abigail, was diagnosed with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. This condition meant the left side of her heart would not form correctly, so blood flow would be affected. Just weeks later, they received a second diagnosis of Trisomy 18 – a condition that causes severe developmental delays and is usually fatal before or soon after birth. With the tragic news they’d received, Amanda and Allen began to prepare for the next steps.
The search began for a way to do good despite the situation. Because of Abi’s chromosomal abnormalities, her organs could not be donated and the family couldn’t participate in research. With no prior knowledge of milk donation, Amanda and Allen learned about the opportunity to make a difference at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas.
“We wanted Abi’s legacy to be that of helping other babies,” Amanda said. “As an added benefit, milk donation helped me heal emotionally.”
Throughout Amanda’s pregnancy, she and Allen constantly talked to Abi and would feel her kicks. “She was an active baby, and a happy baby I would like to think,” Amanda said. Abi was stillborn on April 5, 2016, which Amanda describes as the happiest and saddest day of their lives.
The family’s donor journey began just after Abigail’s stillbirth. Allen was dubbed the “Milk Master” as he cleaned all pump parts and labeled all the milk bags during their three month donation period. The two of them would then go together to drop off their donations at the nearby depot.
For both Amanda and Allen, milk donation meant creating something good out of the tragedy of losing their baby. “It helped us both work through those early steps of grief,” Amanda said. “It meant a lot to both of us knowing that Abi was part of the reason other little babies were getting nourishment.”
For more information on how to become a donor, click here.
Photo credit: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep