Tristan’s Story: Second baby to receive donor milk at Children’s Hospital

Twins Tristan and Carson made their way into this world 10 weeks premature at Magee-Womens Hospital, three hours away from home. Carson weighed only 2 lbs. 8oz. and Tristan was a little over 3lbs. They were doing great, then after three weeks the unthinkable happened – Tristan was diagnosed with Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC).

Tristan became very sick, very quickly. He was transported to Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital, and within an hour of being there his condition worsened. Tristan underwent surgery to have half his small intestine removed. For eight weeks he had a stoma, was closely monitored, and received most of his nutrition through IVs before he would have another surgery to reconnect his small intestines.

Months later, after many long and difficult days, Tristan was finally able to join his family at home. After only two weeks of being at home he started to show life-threatening signs of the disease again and was life-flighted back to Pittsburgh. Two days later, he was diagnosed with NEC for a third time and his family learned he would need to have another surgery. During his hospital stay, Tristian was given donor breast milk. At the time, he was only the second child to receive donor milk at Children’s Hospital.

Throughout his first nine months of life, Tristan endured five surgeries, seven blood transfusions and numerous other complications and procedures. Despite all this, however, he is one of the lucky ones. He thrived on the donor breast milk. Tristan is now a happy, healthy, loving, energetic four-year-old. To look at him today you would never know all he had to endure.

Note: Donor milk is now the standard of care for at-risk infants at all UPMC neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). Children like Tristan are why Mid-Atlantic Mothers’ Milk Bank was created – because donor milk provides powerful protection from necrotizing enterocolitis and other serious complications. We are grateful for the support of the physicians at Magee-Women’s Hospital and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh who have generously volunteered their time and expertise as members of our founding board, current board, and medical advisory board.

Want to share your story? Contact us at info@midatlanticmilkbank.org.