Grieving Mum Spends 63 Days Pumping Breast Milk To Donate After Her Son Dies
Sierra Stangfeld and her husband Lee only got three hours with their son Samuel, but she went on to spend the next 63 days producing breast milk for other babies in need.
Midway through her pregnancy, Sierra and her husband Lee, from Neillsville, Wisconsin, discovered their unborn baby had condition known as Trisomy 18, or Edwards syndrome - which causes developmental delays and birth defects, and tragically often stillbirth or early death.
Tragically, Sierra was forced to have a C-section two months early after learning that he was likely to die in utero, so that they could spend as much time as possible with him before he passed.
But even before his death, Sierra had vowed to offer her breastmilk to those in need, in order to salvage the little good she could from the devastating situation.
"Before Samuel passed, I told myself I would pump my milk to donate...," she said. "I couldn't save Samuel's life, but maybe I could save another baby's life."
Sierra knew all too well how invaluable breastmilk donations were, having used them with her daughter Porter, one, for the first six months of her life.
However, on occasions, it didn't make the pumping any easier.
In an emotional post on Facebook, which now has over 5000 shares, she explained: "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.
"There were times I was angry because why did my milk have to come in when I had no baby to feed? Why was I waking up in the middle of the night for this? The other part of me felt it was the only thing connecting me to Samuel here on Earthside. I sure hope he's proud of me!"
Sierra pumped for more than two months after her son passed away, donating all the milk to a NICU milk bank on November 13th - the day that Samuel was due to be born.
"Walking through the hallways of the hospital was just another step in healing. And I know, (because I felt him), that Samuel was there with me," she said.
What an incredible woman.
Trisomy 18 occurs in roughly in 5,000 live-born infants, according to the National Institutes of Health, and just five percent of babies with the condition survive for more than a year.
Following her son's death, Sierra is hoping to raise awareness of the condition, and set up her own Not For Profit organisation to help families of those affected by the condition.
To help Sierra in her mission you can click here and buy a Smiles For Samuel t-shirt or hoodie. All profits are going towards her new venture.
To find out more about Edwards Syndrome visit Soft UK.
Featured Image Credit: Sierra Sangfeld