Last night, around 3 a.m., Leyna woke. And it was one of those cries that let me know she was hungry or just plain annoyed and wouldn’t go back down easily… unless I nursed her. Yes, we’re still breastfeeding. I try not to do it in the middle of the night anymore, but some nights it’s just so much easier to appease her and get her back to sleep than to battle with her. Last night was one of those nights. I trudged to her room with all the enthusiasm of doing chores.
I always bring my phone with me to her room for middle-of-the-night feedings because 1. I like to use it as a flashlight to help find her ALWAYS MISSING pacifier and 2. I like to check emails and Twitter and such while she nurses.
I clicked on my email app, and noticed a name pop up that I’m very familiar with. Of course I would be. She’s been reading and commenting over here and on my Facebook page for… ever? A long time.
The opening of her email sounded like a lot of emails I get from readers. Something about how she hates to bother me for help, etc. etc. Usually this is followed by very sweet requests for advice on how to start a blog, how to potty train, how to survive postpartum anxiety.
I kept reading, wondering if I’d send her the sort of form response I’ve drafted on “how to start blogging” or if I’d have to send her a few links to Postpartum Progress.
And then I caught my breath.
And a tear fell from my cheek and onto my phone. I wiped it from the screen, off the words that read:
I am six and a half months pregnant and was diagnosed last month with some pretty serious breast cancer. I also have a two year old at home. I will be going through four rounds of chemo before the baby is born and will have a mastectomy within a month after she comes so between chemo and surgery and follow-up chemo and radiation there is no way I will be nursing her.
The heaviness of that moment took over me. Life, you are so very fucking unfair sometimes.
Her name is Jamie Thomas, and this is her family:
“my beautiful monkey Jack who keeps me going, and for whom i will fight harder than i thought possible”
“my husband Bob, who… is pretty kick ass, especially with all of this going on….”
Her request? Breastmilk for her unborn baby.
This amazingly strong woman who has such a fabulous outlook on this battle she’s waging has one simple request, and it’s breastmilk. I have a feeling we can all come together and make that happen for her.
I immediately replied to her from my phone, sitting in my rocking chair in the pitch black room, holding my toddler closer than ever, the sound of the white noise machine droning on and my fingers tapping away at the screen.
In our email exchange she said, “This has been a huge blow but I’m going to beat this because I have no other choice in this matter. It’s just going to be a long hard road, but I’ll deal with that.”
To which I replied, “I have no doubt you will kick this in the ass and emerge a victorious mother warrior.”
Because she WILL.
Jamie and her family live in Orange County, CA. Her baby is due to arrive on October 27th. If you live in her area and think you can help her, please leave your email address in the comments below. She (or someone she knows) will be in touch with you. If you don’t live nearby, aren’t lactating, but know someone else who might be able to help, please share this.
If you just want to leave her some words of encouragement, feel free to do so in the comments, or even better, support her and read about her journey over on her Caring Bridge page.
UPDATE! I’m so excited to announce that Best For Babes has worked with us to set up a Miracle Milk Fund for Jamie. Read more about it here.
Also, I’m so honored this story was featured by Bonnie Rochman for Time.com. This community is amazing and inspiring. Thank you for being a part of that.