Caio was a recipient of donor milk both in the hospital NICU and then as a medical necessity recipient after he graduated from the NICU and went home. This is his story:
Caio tried to make his entrance into the world too early at 29 weeks. After doctors were able to delay delivery another four weeks, he was born on his Grammy and Poppy’s 40th wedding anniversary - a special day, made all the more special.
Despite more time to grow, Caio was still very premature, weighing a little over four pounds at birth. He began receiving donor milk in the NICU when his mother, Becky, was unable to produce breastmilk. After just 15 days in the NICU, Caio was making great progress and began transitioning to formula to prepare for his release home. Becky shares, “That’s when everything changed, and our world was turned upside down.”
After 24 hours on formula, Caio was near death. Unable to breathe, he was intubated and prepared for transfer by helicopter to a better equipped hospital.
Caio was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC), a devastating gut infection. On the cusp of needing surgery, miraculously, his condition was caught in time. Caio’s team was able to stop all feedings and start antibiotics before his tiny intestines perforated. Caio was held in NPO status (“nothing by mouth”) for 10 days. After receiving donor milk again, he progressed enough to be discharged and switched to formula.
Then, it happened again. After trying four or five different types of formula, Caio’s intestines became inflamed and infected, requiring a transition back to donor milk. When discussing options with his medical team, Becky learned about the outpatient donor milk program at Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas. Because of his medical condition, Caio was able to receive donor milk, by delivery, at home. After more treatment and the plan to receive donor milk at home, Caio graduated from the NICU weighing 6 pounds and 12 ounces.
Unfortunately, challenges continued for Becky and Caio. A week after Caio returned home, Becky was laid off from her job. She was extremely worried how she was going to pay for rent, bills and the processing fees for Caio’s donor milk. Reduced fees for donor milk, through the program’s sliding scale, were still too high. That’s when the milk bank called and waived all fees, made possible through its Milk Money Fund. Becky shared, “I literally fell to the ground in a Walmart and cried my eyes out.”
Becky explains, “Week after week, the shipments come, and my son is thriving and growing exactly as he should. He is now 8 months old, and we owe it ALL to Mothers’ Milk Bank of North Texas and the donor moms who voluntarily give their excess milk to the milk bank.”
Becky shares this message with the moms who donate their extra breastmilk, “Your gift is a blessing beyond measure. It has saved my son’s life and enabled him to continue to live, thrive, and experience life. We know that he is destined to do great things in this life, being spared at least twice already, and your donation helps ensure that he has the opportunity to grow up.”