Hello! My name is Emily Bell. I am a mother of two amazing preemie warriors. One is a growing almost 17 month old toddler and the other is an angel in heaven. On May 24, 2015 my life changed forever. It was on that day that my boys Nickolas Steven and Dylan Mark made their entrance into this world 14 weeks early at 26 weeks gestation. I was absolutely terrified, it was WAY to soon for my babies to be born. I remember laying on the table in the operating room and the doctor saying "I will bring one of your boys quickly to see then we have to get them to the NICU." Next thing I knew I got to see the most beautiful little baby boy I'd ever laid eyes on to that point. Nickolas was so tiny it was surreal. As quickly as they brought him over he was gone and it would be hours before I'd get to see him or his twin brother Dylan. Everything was so hectic and scary. I met with their doctor who stressed how fragile my little warriors were and how with so many obstacles stacked against them the best possible medicine would be breast milk and all the nutrients along with it. From that moment I was determined to provide my boys with just that. The only problem was since my boys came so early I never got my milk. I tried and tried pumping every 2 hours and even set alarms so I'd wake at night. I was mentally and emotionally drained and couldn't produce the liquid gold my boys would need to survive. Luckily for us the hospital had a grant to fund donor milk for babies like my boys who were medically fragile and needed it for survival. My boys thrived on the donor milk. They were growing beautifully and it was amazing to see. As time passed it got close to my return to work and the boys would need to be transferred to a hospital closer to home. That's when life once again took a huge turn throwing my family into turmoil. Since we had to move the boys to another hospital donor milk would no longer be available and the boys would need to be transitioned to formula. Within 24 hours of this transition my son Nickolas developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis or NEC. Within hours of his diagnosis I was holding my perfect little baby boy as he drew his last breath and passed away in my arms. My son Dylan would never know his brother and my heart would forever be broken.
Over the summer I was contacted and asked if I would join forces with The New York Milk Bank to help get a bill passed that would have NY pay to provide donor milk to babies who were in need. There was no way I could refuse. 13,785 supporters to date signed out petition backing us on our journey to the New York Senate. Dylan and I traveled up to Albany NY and spoke with members of the senate sharing our story and talking about how vital this bill is and how many lives it could change. It was to late for my Nickolas but so many others can be saved. Well the senate agreed and passed the bill unanimously. The bill will be in effect as of January 1st!
Now that brings us to today...with the success of our bill comes a higher demand for donor milk. The New York Milk Bank needs our help. Every dollar counts and will help keep babies alive. The donations will go towards a larger pasteurizer, additional freezers and a larger space for the additional milk. Please help us save the lives of so many babies and help keep Nickolas memory alive.