After Mikah Duncan gave birth to her son Cash three months premature, she wasn’t allowed to hold him. She wasn’t allowed to rock him to sleep, or place him on her chest for skin-to-skin bonding, or breastfeed him like she had planned.
But the one thing she could do? She could pump.
“I couldn’t touch him, I couldn’t hold him,” Duncan explains to ABC News. “So I decided I was going to pump my heart out. It was all I could do.”
And pump, she did.
At first, she was only able to pump about a syringe’s worth. But with the support of the hospital nurses, she continued to pump every two hours.
“My husband would wheel me down to the NICU to deliver this tiny bit of milk and I felt so defeated,” she said. “But I had to keep trying.”
Eventually, Duncan was able to pump more and more. Once she surpassed what Cash would need, she kept going.
“I realized that he probably wasn’t going to be able to eat everything I had stored at both the hospital and home,” she said. “So I decided to donate it.”
In the end, the mom was able to pump a remarkable 15.5 gallons to donate to other children in need. According to JoAnn King, a spokesperson for San Antonio Children’s Hospital, that’s the largest amount the hospital has ever collected.
Cash had been born premature because of a complication due to his mom’s shortened cervix. While Duncan had surgery mid-pregnancy to allow Cash to continue growing, at 24 weeks she began to leak fluid and one week later, Cash was born.
Now, both mom and baby are home and “thriving” after Cash was released from the hospital on Tuesday, according to ABC News.
The proud mom is happy to have been able to not just help her son, but to help other children, too.
“It feels amazing,” she said. “Just to help in some small way.”
Amazing is an understatement for you, Mikah.