Detroit Free Press sheds light: Micah was not destined to die.

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.

Surrounded by love

Surrounded by love

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.

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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.

Micah, prior to developing NEC

Micah, prior to developing NEC

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.

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Mama love for Micah

Mama love for Micah


9 thoughts on “Detroit Free Press sheds light: Micah was not destined to die.

  1. I gave birth to a daughter with a Congenital Heart Defect 8 1/2 years ago at U of M. We mothers were encouraged to express our milk, label it, and store it in the freezers in the ward our baby was located in. My daughter could only use a small portion of what I produced due to digestive issues for the first 4 weeks of her life. I had an overabundance that I would have felt honored and blessed to donate to other babies that were in need. This really does need to be enacted there, and at every children’s hospital in the world!

  2. We had a micro premie born into our family. I was lactating and when hospital cut her off and mommy dried up we smuggled in my breast milk as mommies. I was more than happy to pump a little extra for our littlest addition. I wish it was more widely accepted.

  3. Pingback: Detroit Free Press sheds light: Micah was not destined to die. | capturedthruthelens

  4. my own son harrison was born preemie on 6th sept 2012. he qas push fed formula with my milk to bump his weight up. other than his prematurity a healthy baby even coming of cpap.NEC took him in a painful horrible way at 11 days old on 17th sept 2012. i believe if he hadnt had the formula hr would b with us.

  5. I’ve never had a premie, but my son was a ravenous eater, when he finally slowed down, I had an abundance in the freezer and was so happy to have a birth center nearby that would take the surplus. I’d have been thrilled to give it to a NICU instead. Those dear ones… I’m so sorry for your loss of Micah, and proud of you for your efforts to honor him and help others.

  6. Such an undervalued, simple way to protect a very vulnerable infant population. One case of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) can cost $250,000 to treat. The preventative costs $4.00 an ounce for donor breast milk would never add up to a fragment of treatment cost. Not to mention potential prevention of life long problems related to surviving NEC.

  7. I can so relate to you story. My daughter was born 8 week early on February 3, 2014 and came home with us just 2 weeks ago. Life at the NICU is nothing short of hell on earth. We were lucky in that our daughter was a healthy little girl and did not require extensive intervention. She was on IV TPN for a week and only required CPAP for a little over an hour. She is a fighter. I have been lucky that as soon as she was born and I started pumping my milk came in quickly and with abundance; however, I had to fight the neonatologist tooth and nail to keep them from adding the fortifier to my breastmilk. No matter what research I showed this physician there was nothing I could do that would change his mind that I was doing the wrong thing for my baby, but I knew that I was. The most infuriating thing was when I got a call from this physician the day of my baby shower telling me that my daughter had been given the fortifier without my consent and he wasn’t sure who ordered it or when she actually got it because it wasn’t documented properly but we needed to keep giving it to her so that she would continue to gain weight. There were so many things wrong with the statement it wasn’t even funny. This physician was lying through his teeth to me to scare me into doing something that I didn’t want because he was a cocky arrogant doctor that I “needed to listen to”. The weight gain he claimed she made because of the fortifier occurred before it was actually given and he was the one who ordered it without asking my permission. I was furious! I wish more NICU physicians would understand how terrible the fortifier can be and that it is not a necessity for the sake of the babies and Mama’s who are going through the most traumatic days of their lives.

  8. The powder that is added to breastmilk os supposed to take the milk from the average 20 cal/oz to 22 cal/oz. There is a machine that NICUs should purchase that allow moms to test the I pumped milk and write down how many calories it contains. It is known that hind milk is more fat than foremilk. This way you can avoid the use of additives made from cows milk and still feed your baby high calorie food!

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