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Warning: This article contains content that some readers may find upsetting and/or triggering.
An incredibly brave mum has donated litres of her breast milk to help premature babies, after her newborn daughter sadly passed away at two months old.
Arabella Grady, 29, and husband Michael, 32, from Los Angeles, were devastated when Eloise died of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
Hairdresser Arabella said: "Life is extremely different now we have lost Eloise. We are trying to find purpose.
"When she died my freezer was absolutely full of milk for her, it was heartbreaking to see it go to waste.
Eloise was born weighing just 3lb 14oz, at Ronald Reagan UCLA Westwood in Los Angeles, on 12th April.
She was born at 34 weeks and so remained in hospital for five weeks before Arabella and Michael were able to take her home.
But tragically, Eloise passed away in Michael's arms at two months old.
Arabella said: "I could see tears rolling down under the masked nurses and doctors standing around her. I kept thinking 'I must be sleeping, this must be a nightmare'.
"I had so many plans for Eloise. I will never be the same without her. I feel like I died when she did.
"I spent most of the time Eloise was alive setting up pumps every three hours in order to pump milk. When she passed I couldn’t believe I had spent that much time pumping and not spending time with her instead.
"I didn’t want to feel sad when opening the deep freezer to see all that time and sleepless nights I put into pumping."
Arabella says she remembered hearing about 'donor milk' from one of the nurses while in NICU.
A few days after Eloise's death, Arabella donated 21 litres (710 fluid ounces) of Eloise's milk to charity Mothers Milk Bank.
She said: "Sometimes mothers aren’t fortunate enough to have milk come in and if they do it’s just not enough.
"I was fortunate enough to always produce more than Eloise needed. It only takes a quarter of an ounce of donated breast milk to help a premature baby thrive.
"Many NICU babies really need this milk, there just isn’t enough of it. Most NICU parents will claim this breast milk is the only reason their baby is alive today.
"Donating has definitely helped us as we feel so powerless and hopeless without our daughter. We will continue to try to help in whatever way we can."
Arabella and Michael have also consented for the Robert's Program at Boston Children's Hospital to study Eloise's case to learn more about SIDS.
Police officer Michael has since had Eloise's handprints tattooed on his chest, exactly where they were when she passed away.
Our thoughts are with Arabella and Michael.
If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article and need support, please contact Sands here.
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