Isabella Sciulli was born 3 months early weighing 1 pound, 4 and two-thirds ounces.
At birth, doctors told her parents that the she would have the best chance of survival if she had breast milk.
Determined to see her daughter thrive, Kim Sciulli pumped 8 times a day.
“Barely anything came out,” Jerry Sciulli of Pittsburgh, Pa., said. “Barely anything. She would tap the bottle to get every drop out … she would say it’s liquid gold.”
“After Isabella was born, I saw all of her determination, making sure she pumped eight times a day,” Sciulli said of his wife. “Sometimes I would say ‘seven times is good, you’re not gonna lose your milk tomorrow.’ [Kim] said, no, it has to be eight … it didn’t matter what time. She had to get eight pumps in.”
The baby started to grow.
Without warning or reason, Kim unexpectedly collapsed and died.
Baby Isabella was still in intensive care and about to run out of breast milk. Formula was an option, but it didn’t have the antibodies to protect against illness. Most important, Kim’s friends knew it wasn’t what she wanted. So friends contacted the International Breast Milk Project, a group of mothers who donate their breast milk to orphans in Africa.
Today, all of Isabella’s milk comes from donating mothers.
“Knowing that this milk came from people across the country; I wish it were her mother’s but that’s the next best option,” the baby’s father said.
He says he feels humbled that people are producing milk for her — something he can’t do to nourish his baby but other mothers can.
Isabella was released from hospital in Monday. She weighed in at 6lbs.