A while ago I heard a story about breastfeeding that was so horrendous it still sends chills down my spine. A story so gruesome it almost sounded unbelievable… And it can happen to anyone.
A few years ago a mom gave birth to twin daughters. Since they were born prematurely, the mother wasn’t able to breastfeed them because they were in the NICU in incubators. Instead, the babies were given the mother’s milk manually and the surplus milk was stored in containers in their fridge in the “milk room” until needed.
If you have ever, as a mom of a sick baby, been unfortunate enough to see the inside of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, you will know about the “milk room”.
It is a small room with a few comfortable chairs and a small kitchen where you can sterilize your bottles and containers and store them in the fridge clearly marked with your baby’s name. If we were animals this would have been the equivalent of a milk factory, only much nicer.
Now this mother used it the same way as so many before her, except something along the way went terribly wrong…
When the two little baby girls were strong enough they were released from hospital and the mother took them home with a heart full of love and dreams in her eyes not knowing what life had in store for them.
But in the following years to come one of the twin daughters was in and out of hospital constantly battling some sort of infection. While the one sister was as healthy as can be, this sister was constantly sick and struggled to put on weight.
The doctors contributed all her sickness to the fact that she was born prematurely, however, when she was 5 years old a doctor asked her mother the unthinkable; can they test her for HIV? The mom was shocked and outraged! Her daughter had never had a blood transfusion and there was no way that she could have been in contact with this virus. The doctor persisted and said that all her daughter’s symptoms ticked the boxes of the dreadful virus.
By now the mother had exhausted all options and gave in to the doctor’s request still thinking it was absurd. Both doctor and mother were surprised and horrified by the POSITIVE result. How could this have happened? In a way her little girl had been given a death sentence.
After careful investigation it was found that while the twins were in NICU this daughter was mistakenly given the breast milk of another mother with HIV and that was how she contracted the virus.
But at this stage it doesn’t really matter how it happened. This little girl will never have a normal life, or experience motherhood, and she will have to find some way to live with this.