A mom whose baby passed away found a way to turn her loss into a way to help other babies in need.
Sierra Strangfeld lost her unborn son, Samuel, in September after he was diagnosed with a rare condition called Trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome. Sierra had been excited to breastfeed Samuel, who was her second child. But she never got that chance.
Heartbroken, Sierra decided to donate her breast milk to babies in need.
“I couldn’t save Samuel’s life, but maybe I could save another baby’s life,” she wrote on Facebook.
She pumped for 63 days after Samuel’s birth — until November 13, his due date. That day, she went to the NICU milk banks to make her last donation.
“Pumping is not for the faint of heart,” she admitted. “It’s hard. Mentally and physically. And it’s even harder when you don’t actually have a baby.”
Sometimes, she was angry that her milk came in in the first place: “Why did my milk have to come in when I had no baby to feed? Why was I waking up in the middle of the night for this?” But ultimately, she said, it was all worth it, as it felt like the only thing connecting her to Samuel. “I sure hope he’s proud of me! 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.”
In total, Sierra — who describes herself as “not an over supplier by any means” — managed to donate 500 ounces of breast milk. Her original goal was 1000 ounces, but she didn’t produce quite enough milk for that.
Sierra also started a nonprofit organization: Smiling For Samuel. Her organization, and her touching story, are raising awareness about Trisomy 18 — and warming hearts everywhere.