Sprouted from struggles.
José Guadalupe Martinez
When her first child was finally conceived after 14 long years of trying, Sandra Martinez was overjoyed. As the months of her pregnancy whittled down to weeks, Sandra dreamed of the moment when she could finally hold her little boy in her arms. But that moment came much too soon when little José Guadalupe Martinez was born more than three months premature.
“I felt pain, but I was only 26 weeks pregnant. I did not realize my water broke,” Sandra said.
Sandra was rushed to her local hospital, where her baby was born within half an hour. She was not prepared to deliver her baby so early, much less for her baby to be transferred to Woman’s to fight for his life in Woman’s Newborn and Infant Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
“He was so tiny. He was only two pounds,” she said.
She knew that breastfeeding José would help him to get strong, especially in those first precious weeks, so she started providing her own breast milk for him immediately. She learned the importance of breast milk from her mother, who breastfed Sandra and each of her siblings.
Woman’s prides itself on having the latest advancements in medical technology.Though incubators and ventilators are necessities in the NICU, one of the most effective medical tools is also the most basic: mother’s milk.
With philanthropic support, Woman’s began the Human Donor Milk Program in 2011 to accept human donor milk from several licensed human milk banks across the country. Sick and premature babies have better outcomes when fed breast milk. Human milk has been proven to have significant health benefits, especially protection against necrotizing enterocolitis, an often fatal illness that affects the small intestine.
“Woman’s encourages and supports breastfeeding. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why some mothers of premature babies are unable to breastfeed,” said Staci Sullivan, Vice President of Infant/Pediatric Services. “Despite the fact that human donor milk saves lives, Medicaid and private insurance companies do not cover it. With continued philanthropic support, Woman’s Human Donor Milk Program is here to help the tiniest infants in our community.”
Now 5 lbs and 3 oz, José is getting healthier with each passing day. He has moved from an incubator into an open crib and was recently discharged.
“He’s my miracle baby,” Sandra said.