The Detroit Free Press recently featured Micah’s story for the second time in less than a year. I am grateful for the support and awareness their coverage has provided in my efforts to honor and remember my sweet Micah.
Their first story focused on my first Mother’s Day without Micah…how I was coping and learning to live without him, just five months after my loss. The story brought an incredible amount of support for the NICU’s Micah and Zachary Giving Library and Micah Smiles Fund supporting music therapy at Mott Children’s Hospital. The story mentioned that necrotizing enterocolitis claimed Micah’s sweet life, but didn’t get into the details of the disease. You can check it out here if you’re interested.
Their second, most recent, story focused on my efforts to raise awareness and advocate for changes to best protect premature infants from the devastating impacts of necrotizing enterocolitis. Specifically, the work of dozens of University of Michigan NICU mothers urging the UoM NICU to establish a donor milk program or milk bank, as well as the newly established NEC Society.
Micah serves as the epitome of preventable necrotizing enterocolitis. He was not destined to die. Micah was not a sick baby. Micah was born early, but incredibly strong and healthy. I watched Micah become sick because he could not properly digest the formula that was added to his breast milk. I whole heartedly believe that if Micah only received breast milk, he would be just as healthy as Zachary is today.
It is well known that formula increases the risk of NEC in premature infants. Formula fortifiers used for premature infants are a manufactured, commercialized, processed product that will never offer premature infants the robust benefits of breast milk. The nurses and parents who have witnessed their premature babies respond negatively to formula and formula fortifiers will attest that this is not a benign intervention. We do not need a stack of double blind, randomized, controlled trials to do what is best for premature infants. Sometimes all the evidence we need is right before our eyes.
Top NICUs across the country have established donor milk banks and provide their most vulnerable, premature infants with an exclusive human milk diet. Many of the barriers to achieving these goals are superficial. When neonatologists prioritize and request an intervention that can save the lives of premature infants and saves money, they are very likely to receive it. Lack of resources, funds, and superficial barriers are not acceptable arguments. The UoM NICU does not have a donor milk program and does not provide their most vulnerable premature infants with an exclusive human milk diet because they do not believe the benefits are strong enough. That is infuriating.
Please take a moment to recommend, comment on and share the Detroit Free Press story. Your support is hugely beneficial to honoring Micah and helping to protect other preemies from this devastating disease that stole my baby’s life.