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Thank You

Rebekah Whelpley
San Marcos, CA, USA
From New Beginnings, Vol. 25 No. 6, 2008-09, p. 14

La Leche League made a huge impact on my life last year. My husband and I lost twins (one boy and one girl) at just shy of 21 weeks gestation. Our daughter had died in utero about two weeks earlier, but our son was quite healthy and the doctors hoped that I could carry him to term. Well, the water around our daughter broke and I went into labor. Worse, the fluid around her had become infected and both our son and I became infected too. I had 17 hours of natural labor and our babies were born eight hours apart. Our son, born second, died five minutes after he was born.

When it was all over and it was time to go home, the nurses put cabbage leaves on my breasts and bound me. I went home and before long I was engorged and in terrible pain. The hospital told me not to pump, the nurses told me not to pump, my obstetrician told me not to pump but I felt like I was going to explode. I had golf balls of milk in my armpits. My dear husband and my mother thought I should pump.

When our first daughter was born a few years before, a La Leche League Leader had helped me with latching issues. I called LLL and the Leader I talked with helped me through it. I pumped only until I was comfortable, and continued to do so until my milk supply was gone and then (again, thanks to the Leader's suggestion) I donated my milk to the non-profit milk bank in San Jose, California, USA. It was the most wonderful feeling in such a very sad and dark time.

I love LLL and am so grateful to this organization. As a result of donating my milk, I was given the opportunity to participate in a PhD study on women who donate milk after a loss. My experience (along with the experiences of other mothers who have lost babies and donated their milk) is now a part of research on the issue and I hope will be of some help to others in the future. It has been a tough road, but LLL helped me make something good come out of this horrible situation. I hope you don't mind the fact that I shared, I felt compelled to.

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