Funny fact: I never wanted to have kids. Jokes on me because I got pregnant on my 17th birthday. To my incredible surprise, I loved being pregnant. Pregnancy changed my life for the better and I don’t ever regret my decision to be a mom.
It was 2002 and I was about 8 months pregnant in high school. I read an article about a new technique called surrogacy. It enabled women that could not carry their own kids have a surrogate to carry their child for them via IVF. I thought this was incredible and at that moment, I put it on my bucket list of things to do for the future.
Fast forward to 2014, I had had my last child the year before, my husband had a vasectomy and I was ready to start my bucket list. In late September I posted an advertisement stating I wanted to be a surrogate. Within two weeks I had chatted with a few couples but things didn’t feel right with them. I then spoke with an OBGYN who was looking for a surrogate for herself and she happened to be in my state of Oregon. I felt a connection with her and we soon met in early October. We hit it off and by November 21st I was being flown out to St. Louis, Missouri for an embryo transfer that was successful and resulted in a girl born in July 2015. I went through the process without an agency. This is known as an independent journey and for the most part, the entire process was very easy, uncomplicated, and straightforward.
I was able to nurse her at the hospital. A conversation that I previously had with her mom. If she was not able to be at the hospital I could nurse her daughter. The parents were 3 hours late so they were not able to see her birth. Nursing her was a special bonding moment and a great way for me to get some closure on the journey. My son was under 2 years at the time and while I wasn’t nursing him, I was providing him my breast milk so I was pumping. At the time, flange sizing was still an undiscussed topic and different flanges were not common at all. In range, 20-21mm were the smallest. I, however, was still using the 24mm flanges the pump came with and had used this through my other three pumping journeys.
In 2017, after the delivery of my surrogate twin boys, I started pumping solely for them. The Facebook lactating communities were growing and while I was on bed rest at 26 wks until the twins came at 34 wks, I had nothing better to do but be on Facebook. I started noticing so many moms having the same issues with pumping. I just responded to comments and after a few months moms were coming to me for help with their pumping issues. I eventually had so many moms asking for help and they pushed me to create a business out of it. During this time I was donating and selling my own milk to moms and I also noticed that there were some that were taking free donations and selling milk as their own, among other questionable acts.
In 2018, I created my own Facebook group to help stop breast milk scammers. I called it Save The Milk – Breastmilk Scammer Prevention. So later when moms said I should create a business for flange sizing, I naturally settled on what I was already being known for, Save The Milk.
Since late 2018 I have been learning how to navigate my business and always keep mom’s pumping goals in mind. I had another surrogate baby in 2018 and since I had a lot of knowledge on the logistics of shipping breastmilk, I started offering Shipping Cooler Kits so moms could ship their milk within the USA.
Fast forward to 2021, I had my last surrogate baby and though it all I created my own Pumping Pretty Inserts to help moms that use Elvie OG, and those that may have flat/inverted nipples. I am very proud to have also created my own Nipple Queen Ruler that sizes nipples to the products they need to buy. The money I took from my 1:1 consults went right back into my business. I created 2 patents, 4 trademarks and a few techniques all specializing in breast pumping. I have a few more goals that I am working on this year with the hopes of expanding resources to the pumping community.
I want to say Thank You to all the moms out there that have pushed me these last 4 years to continue trying to make changes for them in the pumping community. I created a Facebook group where the women there are so supportive and it makes me so happy just knowing we are all lifting each other up. Thank you for working with me on your pumping journey. I also could not have done any of this without the help of my husband. The first two years I was able to contribute some financial funds to our household but since 2020, all funds I have brought in from the business have been going right back out to continue working on these Pumping goals. I have been blessed to have a husband that supports me in these goals. I have hope that I am doing enough to better moms pumping journeys now and for the future. Together we can get there!