Michelle’s Mother’s Day Story: The Greatest Gift from My Mother

Mother's Day photo of grandma, mom, and baby
Grandmother Ilene, baby Arava, and mom Michelle

In a Mother’s Day tribute, Michelle tells her story of receiving donor milk for her baby, with gratitude and love to her own mother for a lifetime of support.

By Michelle Fabisch

As early as I can remember, stuffed boobs and dolls were staples in my household. My mom, Ilene Fabisch, is an IBCLC and was a La Leche League Leader for many years. My mom has always been my best friend and always included me at all her League and work conferences and meetings. Even before I had my own child, nursing had always been a big part of my life.

A Perfect Pregnancy and Birth

I had as close to a perfect pregnancy and delivery as I could have dreamed. My water broke while my husband and I were at lunch with my parents. I labored mostly at home, arrived at the hospital eight centimeters dilated, and delivered via all-natural water birth, eight hours start to finish. My daughter, Arava Kai, was born July 31, 2017, weighing 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

I had been around breastfeeding so much growing up I figured it would be a breeze to pick up. Plus, it’s natural, so why should something that’s supposed to be natural be difficult? My midwife had warned me that one of my nipples was inverted but I kind of blew it off thinking it wouldn’t be an issue. The first few days are pretty much a blur to me. I know Arava had trouble latching and the lactation consultant at the hospital seemed a little wary of giving me advice, I assume since she knew who my mom was.

Support from Mom, Then and Always

We left the hospital before my milk had really started coming in and my mom knew we had to get some milk to Arava or the pediatrician would have forced formula. My mother had worked with the milk bank just as it was forming and was able to make an emergency call. The next day we picked up donor milk and we were able to feed my daughter through an SNS at-breast supplementer.

We used donor milk for about a week. The milk bank gave me peace of mind while we struggled to figure out a way for my daughter to latch. We tried lots of different methods, herbal tea, lactation cookies, and different holds. In the end, I wound up having to use a nipple shield for about a month. How appropriate that Arava would figure out her latch at our annual La Leche League Labor Day camping trip.

Mom’s Greatest Gift to Me

Arava is now 20 months, a pro nurser fully engulfed in the toddler gymnastic nursing phase. For years I wondered what it would be like to nurse my own child and it is just as special as it always appeared to be.

My mom has given me so much, but one of the greatest gifts has been giving me the knowledge and help on my journey with my own daughter. Arava and I couldn’t be more appreciative or fortunate. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom; we love you!

Is there a woman who helped you in your parenting journey, as Michelle’s mom helped her? Or is there a special person in your life you would like to honor this Mother’s Day?  Make a donation to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast and we will send a Mother’s Day card to the person you choose to honor. Just fill out the special purpose fields on the gift form and we will take care of the rest. Your honoree will be proud to have inspired a gift to an organization that cherishes mothers and babies.