After Mikah Duncan gave birth to her son three months premature, doctors told the new mother that there was only one thing she could do to help her baby: pump breast milk.
Since Cash was delivered at 25 weeks and weighed only two pounds, Mikah wasn't even allowed to hold him. Pumping was the one thing she was able to do to help her baby boy thrive — but the determined mom could only physically produce a syringe's worth of milk at a time.
"I couldn't touch him, I couldn't hold him," Duncan told ABC News. "So I decided I was going to pump my heart out. It was all I could do."
Despite feeling defeated when her husband would wheel her down to the NICU to deliver only a "tiny bit" of milk at a time, Mikah continued to try pumping every two hours, around the clock, as nurses cheered her on. Her milk production slowly started to increase, and the new mom went from struggling to pump even small drops to eventually pumping six ounces at a time.
After Mikah realized that she had more than enough milk stored for Cash in the NICU and at home, she decided that she wanted to donate the rest to other babies in need. "It can be stressful having a baby in the NICU and I can understand how [other moms] might not be able to pump," Mikah said.
Mikah recalled signing a consent form that would allow Cash to receive donor milk if needed and wanted to give back. She knew that the hospital required at least 100 ounces of milk in order to make a donation and hoped that she had that much stored at home.
Meeting that requirement turned out not to be a problem — when Mikah emptied out her freezer, she ended up having 15.5 gallons of milk. This is the largest single donation that The Children's Hospital of San Antonio has ever received. "It feels amazing," she added. "Just to help in some small way."