It was earlier this year that Sierra Strangfeld and her husband Lee got the exciting news. They were going to have a second child and her daughter would finally be a big sister. Everything was going fine and after having some complications with her daughter that prevented the ability to breastfeed, she knew that she would attempt at breastfeeding her son, Samuel. But then she was given notice of something that no parent wants to hear. The unborn son had a condition that would ultimately cause him to die likely prior to being birthed.
The condition is Trisomy 18, which is a rare genetic disorder that causes birth defects. It’s very rare for a child to live past 24 hours and from there it’s life outlook is likely less than a year. Heartbroken, the couple decided that they would have an emergency C-section just a few weeks ahead of the scheduled birth in order to spend just a few moments with Samuel alive.
“I couldn’t save Samuel’s life, but maybe I could save another baby’s life.
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”
Samuel only lived for three hours, but it was during those three hours that the mother and father got to see their son and have skin-to-skin contact. The mother felt that Samuel knew he was with his mother as the heart rate and oxygen levels raised immediately when she held him.
While the couple couldn’t save their son, Sierra hoped that by donating her breast milk that maybe another baby could survive. She spent over two months pumping breast milk and donated over 500 ounces to the Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes. It’s her hope that this may also bring out some awareness of Trisomy 18. For now, other babies have the need nutrients thanks to the generous act from Sierra and the memory of her newborn son, Samuel Strangfeld.