Sarah’s Gift: Turning Tragedy into Hope Through Ella’s Memory

This is the heartfelt story of Sarah, a mother who transformed her grief into compassion by donating her breastmilk in memory of her baby, Ella. Join us as we honour her incredible journey.

With Heartfelt Gratitude, We Share Sarah's Story of Love and Strength

We are honoured to be able to share Sarah’s story, a mother whose world was turned upside down by the painful loss of her baby, Ella, due to complications. Her grief was overwhelming, yet, through her immense pain, Sarah found a way to turn her sorrow into an act of profound love. With remarkable strength, she chose to donate her breastmilk to Mother’s Milk Bank, committed to nourishing the lives of babies in need. Through this selfless act, Sarah transformed her deepest sorrow into a beacon of hope, shining a light of kindness into the darkness. We thank Sarah and the Lean family for sharing Ella’s story.

Sarah Lean’s Touching Story In Her Own Words

“ Ella was conceived after a long 5-year IVF journey and a few losses, I had such an easy first trimester and thought we were finally going to get our perfect little girl. On our 20-week scan, I was told they found something wrong with her heart and would need to see a specialist. We saw the specialist the following weeks who advised us to terminate and to get genetic testing done as her heart was pretty complicated and he was sure she would have genetic disorders too. Terminating was never an option for my husband and me and after a few very hard weeks we found out Ella didn’t have any genetics concerns and we took this as a sign that Ella wanted to fight. 

Every time we went to a heart scan we were told a different diagnosis, meanwhile the pregnancy was flying by, and there were no other problems. I was induced at 38 weeks due to some concerns of internal bleeding. Ella was born on the 29th of October 2023, Absolutely perfect and stubborn (she was told not to be born over the weekend or at night time so people could be around). But that’s exactly what she did. Ella was born late on a Sunday evening. 

Our first week was spent working out Ella’s diagnosis and what this meant moving forward. We soaked in every moment of that first week as Ella was just like any other baby at this time. Ella then went into major heart surgery at just 1 week old and although the surgery was a success, the sad reality is that Ella never recovered the way she should and lost all of her kidney function. Being so young there was sadly nothing they could do for Ella, given she wouldn’t be able to get a kidney transplant due to her heart condition. 

The last few weeks were spent soaking in every moment we could and making memories together. Ella was taken to Bear Cottage in Manly NSW where we finally got to spend our first real family moments together with our first breastfeeding experience and going for a walk in the pram and the first time cuddling without all the tubes and wires in the way. In classic Ella form, she was stubborn right to the end. Ella was given 10 minutes before she would pass away from not being on the ventilator, however, she survived a further 23 hours and Ella passed away on the 27th of February at 4 months old.

Ella fought all the way to the end and was a strong, brave, stubborn, cheeky and perfect little girl who was very loved and is missed every day.

During this whole horrible hospital time, I was pumping every 4 hours in the hope that one day Ella may be able to breastfeed. This was the only request I had before taking her away from me. Ella had sips of milk at stages and I saw how happy that made her. 

My only hope is that this donated milk supports you or your child/children the best it can. 

It came from such a loving place and I am honoured that it gets to be donated and to help others so that their story can have a happier ending than ours.

Kind Regards,
Sarah Lean ”

Heartbreak to Hope

Inspired by Sarah’s remarkable generosity, we reach out with deep respect to other mothers. If you have the capacity to donate breastmilk, or if you find yourself in need of this precious resource for your child, we encourage you to contact us.

By coming together, we can form a network of care and support, ensuring that no mother or baby has to face their challenges alone. Your contribution could make a world of difference to another family in need. Please join us in our mission to spread compassion and hope.

Sarah’s Gift: Turning Tragedy into Hope Through Ella’s Memory

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