Tulsa mom drives to Houston to donate breast milk

September 5, 2010 6:51:54 AM PDT
One mother gave a gift to another mother, even after the death of her infant. On Saturday, a very special exchange took place between two mothers of babies with a serious chromosomal defect. One mom drove hundreds of miles to donate her breast milk to a mom here in Houston. When Denise Williams first began to blog about her 4-month-old daughter Trishtan's battle with Trisomy 18, she never imagined the support and help she got on the Internet would turn into something like this.

"It just means the world to me that she's doing this," Williams said.

Trisomy 18 is a chromosomal defect also called Edwards Syndrome.

"When the child has an extra chromosome like that, it causes a lot of birth defects and problems for the children," said Michelle Anderson with Trisomy 18-13 Circle of Friends.

And only 10 percent of babies born with T18 make it to their first birthdays. So when Williams began to lose her breast milk, she was worried. Trishtan had a hard time with formula.

Then Williams got into contact with another T18 mommy, Chrissy Whitten, on the Internet.

The Tulsa woman lost her daughter, Lily, about a month ago to T18.

"My daughter's first breath was supposed to be her last," Whitten said.

Lily lived 103 days, and Whitten credits her breast milk to her daughter's three-and-a-half-month survival.

But when the baby girl died, Whitten had a freezer full of pumped breast milk. She gave some to a friend.

"It's the liquid gold," she said.

And on Saturday, she drove more than 500 miles to bring the rest to Trishtan.

"This is a little different because it's another T18, a child like my daughter was, and I know that she really needs it," Whitten said.

It was a gift of life from one mother to another.

"We realize that you can't take anything for granted, and these kids teach us that," Williams said.

About half of babies diagnosed with Trisomy 18 in the womb are stillborn. But there is a small percentage of those born with the defect who survive into adulthood. And according to the Trisomy 18 Foundation, girl babies survive more often than boys.


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