Tiny Future Linebacker, TyQuell

Tiny but mighty TyQuell

Introducing TyQuell . . .

Baby TyQuell came into the world early and small. Born at 24 weeks, he weighed just 1 lb., 11oz.. As a 911 emergency dispatcher, mom Sherita knows how to keep a cool head in an emergency. But nothing could ease her fear when, after a 16-hour work shift, she realized that she was in labor. It was early – very early. When she started feeling contractions both she and her doctors assumed that it was just Braxton-Hicks, or “false labor.” They were wrong.

The day after TyQuell was born, the doctors asked Sherita if she would consider feeding him donor milk from Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. Human milk can be lifesaving for preterm babies who can’t digest anything else without running significant health risks. “The doctors told me it would be beneficial, that it would help him grow,” she explained. “I had never heard of it. But I knew I wanted TyQuell breastfed, and my own milk wasn’t in it yet. I quickly said yes.” 

A gift from moms she would never meet . . .

TyQuell received donor milk in Yale New Haven’s neonatal intensive care unit for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile, Sherita was pumping every few hours, working to build her own milk supply. At first, there was no milk at all. This is common when a baby is born so early. Mom’s body is not expecting the baby to arrive so soon and so lactation isn’t ready. But Sherita was committed and with persistence TyQuell was soon able to make the switch.

Sherita was so grateful to have donor milk, a gift from other moms whom she would never meet but who nonetheless had given of themselves to help her sweet boy grow and flourish. After a few months, the hospital told Sherita that they were running out of space to store all the milk she was pumping. Now certain that she had plenty for TyQuell with lots to spare, she reached out to Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast. She was ready to become a milk donor. 

“This was meant to happen,” Sherita explained. “There was a reason for me having this excess milk. I want to do everything I can to help another baby – just like TyQuell was helped. Being able to help fragile infants? It’s the best feeling. I knew exactly how much it would mean to these families.”

Tiny but mighty TyQuell today . . .

TyQuell is six months old now. He weighs 14 lbs. and doctors think he’ll likely need another few months of hospitalized care. Still, Sherita and her husband can’t help but hope he will be home sooner.

“We want him to come home. We have the nursery all ready. Although I didn’t do too much on it in those early days, those terrifying days when I wasn’t 100% sure he would be coming home.” But now she feels confident that he will be. It’s just a question of when. 

“We want him to fully experience life, to see the whole world that is out there, a world I didn’t get to see much of when I was younger. I want him to have it all,” she tells me. Then she laughs, “Of course, my husband Tyrese wants him to be a football player.”

And maybe he will be. For now, we join Sherita and her husband in excitedly anticipating the day when TyQuell will come home to be, “loved and spoiled.” Our milk bank works hard every day to play its part in helping more babies come home so they can grow and see the world that is waiting for them. 

You can make a huge difference for babies like TyQuell by sharing the gift of your milk. Interested? We make becoming a milk donor as easy as possible. Click here to learn more about our simple four step process. Together, we can make a splash for babies in need . . .

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