Any parent who’s ever had a baby in the NICU knows how awful it feels to be powerless in protecting and keeping your baby healthy, which is why one mom jumped at the chance to do anything she could to help her baby boy.
Demi Frandsen’s baby boy, Leo, was born two months premature and spent the following 10 months months in the NICU at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska. Leo was extremely tiny, but his condition was further complicated when doctors discovered he was born with gastroschisis, a birth defect that causes the baby’s intestines and other organs to stick out of the body through a hole in the belly.
“There was no skin to pull over his exposed organs. It was kind of a new case they had never seen before,” Demi explained. And because of his condition, he couldn’t handle much breast milk, however, Demi continued to pump religiously since it was the most tangible thing she could do to improve her baby’s condition.
“With a Q-tip, we’d put it in my milk and we’d swab his mouth,” Demi said. Despite the obstacles, Leo seemed to be doing well, but then he suddenly passed away last October. Demi was obviously devastated, but after 10 months of pumping breast milk every three hours night and day, she was left with an abundance of breast milk that was meant for her son.
Instead of letting it go to waste, she selflessly decided to donate all 17,503 ounces- or 131 gallons- of breast milk. “Donating milk that was supposed to be for my son was emotional,” Demi explained.
“I pumped every single ounce for him. He is the reason for all of this. But if he couldn’t have it, I am so grateful that other babies like him could benefit from it. There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for my Leo, and I know other moms feel that desperate love as well. I am glad I can help those moms provide for their little fighter. Other babies surviving from Leo’s milk is just another way his life has affected and bettered the lives of so many others.”
“He was worth it. He was worth all of this,” Demi said. “His life in 10 months was the best 10 months of mine.”
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[Featured image: DEMI FRANDSEN]