Story of HOPE

Amy ~ Breast-milk Donation
Bryson ~ stillborn on October 30, 2010  
Joey Skylor ~ born into heaven in the end of December 2009.
Bryson unexpectedly passed on October 28th, 2010 and was stillborn on October 30th at 20 weeks due to complications from a lower urinary tract obstruction (LUTO).  Joey Skylor was born into heaven at 13 weeks in the end of December 2009, and was born on January 5th, 2010.

I am working through my grief by pumping and donating Bryson’s breast-milk.  Even though I felt that I had lost everything, I still had something invaluable to give… Bryson’s “liquid gold” or breast milk and a chance at life for another sick infant.  This realization came about when I felt that through my heartbreak, I still had some purpose as Bryson’s Mommy (all thanks to my forever babies, Bryson and his previously past sibling, Joey Skylor). 
It is said that all life has a purpose, maybe the short lives of my angel babies were to inspire their Mommy, giving hope, courage, and the strength to save the life of someone else’s baby, though I could do nothing for my own.  
A woman who pumps breast milk is said to be ‘expressing her milk’.  For me, donating Bryson’s breast milk is the only physical way to ‘express my love’ for my angel babies, to keep their memory alive and give meaning to their short lives, not only to me but to complete strangers as well.  The other invaluable benefit would be to prevent another family from feeling the deepest, most horrific despair ever imaginable… the loss of a precious child and all the hopes and dreams that went with that new little life.  
My inspiration stemmed from my desire for others, in addition to myself, to have an appreciation and remembrance for the short lives of my forever babies.  It was pretty loud and clear how I was going to help.  Not only did I get the message in my heart, but physically my body had already prepared for the job.  
Bryson and Joey Skylor gave me the hope, courage, and strength to be able to help others even in my time of heartbreak and sadness . . . what a comfort to be able to turn my personal tragedy into someone else’s triumph.   After I lost Bryson at 20 weeks, the doctors didn’t think I would produce milk.  When Bryson’s milk did come it, it came on hard and strong and I didn’t know what to do.  I was hurting horribly both physically and emotionally . . . this was supposed to happen when there is a baby to latch on not when my baby has gone.  
Pumping was emotionally hard at first but then it became therapeutic, almost like an obsession, to get as much as possible to save others from this pain.  Also, I loved the way his milk made me smell like a newborn… like he was here with me in a way.  
The external critics get in the way on occasion, wanting to know why I am holding on to this pregnancy symptom and how long I will continue.  Roadblocks have come in two forms… finding room in our deep freezer for storing the milk and trying to find some local family/families to donate our gift.  We are still on a search for the latter.  
My inspiration lies in my family (living and spiritual) and in the stories of women who have been able to find peace in their lives even though a piece of their lives is missing.  A sentiment that helps me get through the difficult days is:  
Until the glorious reunion with my forever babies, I intend to serve others in their time of need as much as I possibly can, with hopes that they will continue in ‘paying it forward’.  We don’t ‘get over’ our grief, we learn to live a new life.  We never forget our forever babies and always look forward to our glorious reunion… (unknown)

To read more about Amy’s story you can visit Faces.
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  1. Good for you! When my Nathan died, having my breast milk come in was just one more reminder that he was not coming home. Its inspiring to hear that faced with that same reminder, you turned it into hope for other babies. Than you for sharing your story…

  2. Kathleen Marinelli says:

    Dear Amy,
    May I offer you my heartfelt thoughts and prayers, sympathy, and support for your courage and grief in what you are doing to honor you babies and help other babies with the gift of your milk, the gift of life. I am a neonatologist, and I am also a medical director of a non-profit donor milk bank. What you are doing is an amazing gift, and you should be very proud, as should all those who know and love you. I am proud of you! And I know that besides helping other babies with this gift, you are helping yourself too, to stay close to your babies, and to work through your heart-wrenching grief.

    What you may not know, is that the milk you are making is not only precious usual mother's milk, but because your baby was so premature, it is different from term milk, and may be especially precious to premature babies, having more infection-fighting substances, more calories, more proteins–more of the things these babies need so desperately, and cannot get from term mother's donor milk. You may want to consider contacting a milk bank associated with the Human Milk Banking Association of North America ( and letting them know you have preterm milk to donate. If mother's milk is liquid gold, preterm mother's milk is liquid platinum! It will only go to the smallest sickest babies who need it the most. There is no cost to you–the milk bank pays for everything and makes it as easy as possible for you to do. I am happy to help you with this if you wish. Feel free to contact me. And bless you for your gift to those babies. I am certain your little angels are looking down and are smiling with love and pride in their mama.

    Kathleen Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP

  3. Kathleen Marinelli MD, IBCLC, FABM, FAAP says:

    Dear Amy,
    Please contact me at my email adress–I would like to ask you a question. Thank you! Kathie Marineli

  4. You are doing a great thing Amy and I know someone will be so blessed by this selfless act you are doing!! Much love to you!

  5. Anonymous says:

    You are an inspiration.

  6. Awesome.
    My baby Isaiah was stillborn on October 28th, 2010. I'm sure he was just waiting for Bryson so that he'd have another friend to play with!
    Thanks for doing what you're doing!

  7. *Ivette* says:

    After my 28 week old preemie passed away, I donated all her breastmilk I had pled while she had been in the nicu. It almost felt like a betrayal that haunted my dreams but it felt so good knowing other little babies who couldn't have this gold were eating strong all because of my lil angel! Thank you for being so brave!!


  1. […] in 2011 when MMBNE’s founding medical director, Kathleen Marinelli, came across Amy’s post on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope about seeking a recipient for her expressed milk. Ultimately, Amy and her son Bryson […]

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