Don't Retract Pack

Ill Baby in Southeast Michigan NEEDS DONATED BREASTMILK

If you or someone you know is willing to donate even a little breastmilk for this local baby in SE Michigan - she needs your immediate help. I received this letter today from doula, Courtenay.

Hello friends and family!

I am writing (perhaps again for some of you) to ask you whether you or
somebody you know (friends, family, clients) might have frozen breast
milk you are willing to donate, or whether you (or they) would be
willing to pump even just one time a day to donate to a very sick baby
in our community. Her name is Jayden and I will give you some of her

Jayden was born cocaine and alcohol addicted, with congenital
syphilis, at 31 weeks gestation. She had no skin on the palms of her
hands or feet and had to have skin grafts. She was the fourth child to
be taken from her mother, and was taken at birth and brought directly
to the NICU. The birth mother's parental rights were terminated within
12 weeks, which is very fast in Michigan. They could find no formula
that Jayden could tolerate well, but settled on the one that she had
the "least severe reaction to."

When she was about eight weeks old, she was assigned a foster parent,
who came to do kangaroo care with her for eight days before she took
her home, as Jayden was completely blind and profoundly deaf, and
would need to be accustomed to "mom's" smell and touch before they
sent her home. When she went home, she was the most critical discharge
they have ever had from that NICU, which routinely sees the sickest of
babies. Basically, with tears in their eyes, the nurses sent Jayden
home to die. Jayden was insulin dependent (with critically unstable
blood sugars, typically either below 60 or above 400), on oxygen 24
hours a day, and set off her apnea monitor 6-10 times a day. In order
to set off a monitor, she would have to not breathe for many seconds
at a time. She had gained and lost the same three ounces since birth,
and was no more than four and a half pounds. Her foster mother asked
over and over again of anybody who had authority why this baby
couldn't be on breastmilk, shouldn't this baby be on breast milk, what did she have to do to get this baby on breastmilk?

Over and over, she was basically told that this was a medicaid baby and that the state
wouldn't PAY for banked milk (which costs between 1-2 dollars an
ounce, and has been pasteurized) for a MEDICAID baby. Finally, one
day, when Jayden was literally actively dying, an infectious disease
doctor looked at her foster mom (who is a friend of mine because of
foster work and doula work) and said, "I won't tell you NOT to give
her breastmilk. We know that it would give her the best chance!" So,
we got her some frozen breastmilk.

With her first bottle of human milk, Jayden's blood sugar regulated.
She is typically somewhere around 120 now. Within the first three
weeks, she regained her sight and hearing. Her new pediatrician says
that when somebody is actively dying their brain will shut off all
non-essential functions--and hearing and sight are non-essential
functions. The first week on breastmilk she started to only set off
her apnea monitor during the night's deepest sleep...and only then
typically once a night. Within three weeks, they took it off of her
completely, because she just didn't set it off any more. The first
week she gained and KEPT ON four ounces. The next week three. The next
week SEVEN. Now, she has gained nearly four pounds (eight weeks
later). We now have full cooperation with her new pediatrician and the
state to give her human milk, no questions asked.

We have tried her on formula again, and on "extra calories" breastmilk
boosters several times, to see what would happen should we run out of
breastmilk. The baby immediately goes into cirsis again. Formula is
NOT okay. She is showing strong allergies to cow's milk proteins, soy
proteins, and corn and corn derivitives, which pretty much eliminates
every form of artificial milk we have available. This baby was
literally dying (the new pediatrician looked at her stats on intake
and stood up and hugged foster mom saying, "If you hadn't started this
baby on human milk a week ago, she would be dead today--you are a
Hero!"), and now has a chance at life.

My friend's freezer is nearly empty of the frozen milk we were able to
collect and the baby drinks significantly more fresh milk than we are
able to get pumped weekly by the several donors we have been blessed
to find to pump one pumping a day for her. The foster mom is now
looking into "milk share" which is an online community of pumpers who
donate for the cost of supplies. However, if we can get donated milk
from our immediate community, this would make life a lot simpler! We
have pickups in Madison Heights on Monday/Tuesdays, in Troy on
Wednesdays, and would be willing to have another pickup on Fridays in
another part of town (perhaps more north?).

Please, if you or somebody you know who is breastfeeding would be
willing to continue to save a baby's life, she, her foster mother, and
all the people who have come to love Jayden would be eternally

Again, we are looking for any freezer stashes that might need to be
culled, and also for freshly pumped milk...even one pumping a day is
gold to us right now!

Thanks so much for reading, considering,and passing this on to as many
people as you can. With interest or questions, please contact me at

Courtenay Grabowski


  1. Past it on to a wonderful mom I know in MI. I truly hope this family can find some donors.

    -Nicole Murray

  2. What an amazing story. I wish this family was local to me.

  3. This is heartbreaking. Do you know how the baby is doing now? I wish I was local too so I could help.

  4. Hello! I'm the Courtenay who wrote this original letter. I would like you all to know that we now have drop points in Lake Orion, Fenton, Okemos, and Ann Arbor, as well as the orginal points posted.

    Also, Jayden is now seven months old, and is nearly ten pounds! She is still having issues with her pancreas and her lungs, but she really is a miracle...she is meeting the milestones for babies born on her birthday at FULL TERM, rather than adjusted for prematurity.

    However, we still do need pumpers. Though Jayden is seven months, she is severly allergic to most food proteins, and is in no way able to tolerate solid foods at this point. We are working with a naturapathic doctor to remedy this, but it will take quite some time to heal her gut from the issues she faced at birth and in the three months she was taking in formula that was killing more and more of her healthy gut cells. She will need milk for at LEAST the first year, and very very likely beyond that--we are still fairly critical as far as "if we run out of milk she will back slide and probably start to actively die again" so if you are just seeing this now and live in SE Mich, please do consider donating. You can contact me through the email address in the original post.

    Thanks so much, to everybody, for reading, for passing this on, and for continuing a miracle as this baby who was dying is now healing and growing--and living!

  5. Brianna Henao PeaceDecember 12, 2009 5:57 PM

    I heard about this from another mother, Colleen, at a mom to mom sale today. I have been in search of someone locally to donate milk to. Please E-mail me if milk is still needed for this sweet baby.