As a Wyoming mom continues to recover from the coronavirus after being separated from her newborn son and family following giving birth, she is grateful to God. Molly has gratitude for being back home, for the prayers and support they’ve received, and for the band of women who stepped up to donate breast milk for her baby.
“This has been the most humbling, hardest, and yet most powerful experiences in my life,” she said.
“The amount of people praying for me from across the globe has been incredible,” said Molly. “Friends and family have shared prayer requests, and as God does ... He turned them into a wildfire of prayers!”
Molly gave birth to son Boone via C-section Sept. 5 at a Lander, Wy, hospital. She dismissed a cough that surfaced that night as a normal part of her caesarean section recovery. But it worsened after she went home on the seventh. The wife and mother of three would develop pneumonia and test positive for COVID, and after visits to urgent care and two local hospitals, she was admitted to the ICU in Lander on Sept. 13. Her condition continued to deteriorate, and she was airlifted to Salt Lake City overnight into Sept. 14. Her husband Dustin followed the helicopter in his truck making the five-and-a-half-hour drive with their two other children at home with Molly’s mother.
Dustin said he will never forget the time the helicopter left the ground; 2:22 a.m., Molly said. He looked at the clock as they took off and followed in his truck as fast as he could.
“I cannot imagine what went through his mind as he drove,” she told Pregnancy Help News. “I'm sure he got mad at me from being worried I was going to leave him with our three children to raise.”
Over the next few weeks, Molly would face a harrowing scare with her health, fighting hard in the hospital to stay off a ventilator and make it home to her three kids, from whom she was separated until returning home Sept. 27.
Despite a slow road to recovery and the varied burdens with being so sick, Molly remains thankful, including for an estimated 400 ounces of breast milk donated from women in Wyoming, Iowa, and Nebraska, arranged by two friends and her sister, and transported by her aunt and uncle from eastern Nebraska to Wyoming.
“I am still amazed at all the support,” she said. “God is so good!”
Molly had been able to pump milk while in the Lander hospital, but at that point she’d been thinking in terms of days for a milk supply - not weeks.
“Unfortunately, when I got life flighted, my energy had to go to fighting this horrible illness,” she said, “so pumping was taking too much energy."
She tried not to panic, as two Wyoming moms had begun to donate some milk for Boone.
Then, in sharing her story and prayers on social media, two of her best friends from high school had some inquiries from other moms in Iowa and Nebraska to donate milk.
Some other women she knew personally also donated milk they had frozen, and others, whom she had never met, reached out to her two friends to donate milk for Boone.
“It just kept coming in,” said Molly. “So amazing!”
“Dustin and I both are both blown away by people's outreach and support,” Molly told Pregnancy Help News.
Dustin and Molly were born in Nebraska and grew up in Iowa. They run a dump truck hauling company and raise Texas Longhorn cattle. The couple moved to Wyoming in 2020, where they began their dream of owning a ranch. Molly, who loves wearing multiple hats, also works for her family medical billing business and homeschools their children. Boone’s oldest sibling is brother Cannon, 10, and sister Everlie turned three Oct. 17.
Her parents had originally planned to come from Iowa help with the kids for a time after Boone’s birth, her mom staying longer. But her father would end up returning to offer them support in Salt Lake City as Molly’s mother held down the fort at home with all three children.
Molly’s sister helped arrange gathering all the donated breast milk and got it to her aunt and uncle, who were traveling from Omaha to Wyoming for her uncle to go hunting and her aunt to stay with Molly’s mom to help with their homestead and kids.
There were two full coolers of breastmilk headed Sept. 22 on a multi-state trip to help feed Molly’s baby boy.
“It was just mind blowing,” she told Pregnancy Help News.
One donation was especially powerful.
“A friend of mine from high school, who was actually Dustin's first girlfriend, reached out about donating the milk she pumped after delivering a beautiful baby girl stillborn this summer,” Molly recollected. “I was blown away. Her little baby is being used by God in a BIG way still - add I am forever grateful for her and her mommy!”
Tweet This: Moms in @least 3 states donated breast milk for a mom struck by COVID after giving birth-the milk transported over miles 2help feed her son
Breast milk donation is common, even outside medical emergencies, as some mothers produce more milk than they need, while others don’t produce enough, and milk banks can be found in many places around the world. Breast milk can be lifesaving for medically fragile babies, according to La Leche League International, and the World Health Organization says that donor milk is the best option following a mom’s own expressed milk.
Among the many values in breastfeeding one’s own child is fostering the powerful bond between mom and baby.
Despite her physical struggle and being separated from Boone, Molly held onto her faith throughout her time in the hospital, posting updates on Facebook, expressing hope, and requesting prayer.
“Prayer warriors I need all I can get,” she said on Sept. 16. “I'm in SLC in ICU fighting Covid pneumonia; my immune system was already weak from C-section. I need all the prayers I can get to get stronger and stay off the ventilator. I’m praying for Jesus to be my lungs and fill them with His healing breaths so I can get home to my babies and be there to raise them in His perfect path.”
Molly remained hopeful even while little Everlie was afraid to talk to her over video because she was scared by how her mother looked.
“She was confused, as she knew I had to go to the hospital to have Boone,” Molly said, “but now he was home, and she kept asking why I was not.”
“I finally got her to look at me by making it funny,” said Molly, “asking her about if I have something in my nose, meaning the feeding tube and O2 stuff, of course, and I got her to make silly faces with me.”
Molly expressed profound gratitude on social media for the moms’ breast milk donation.
“As a mom, I am in absolute tears right now,” she said on Sept. 21. “But tears of joy and appreciation.”
“The number of mamas who have stepped up, and donated breastmilk to Boone is beyond amazing,” Molly said. “Some of these women I have been blessed to have grown up with. Others I have never met. But all of them are helping support my baby boy's immune system with their own milk.”
“I have never experienced such kindness and support from fellow moms,” she continued.
“Not having to worry about Boone's milk is a huge relief since there is nothing I can currently do to feed him myself,” added Molly. “God will bless all of you mightily for all your love and support!”
Dustin was moved by the support as well.
"I think it is pretty incredible that so many moms came together to help Molly out with feeding Boone,” he told Pregnancy Help News. “It definitely is a blessing for us, and I know it was a huge relief to Molly. One less thing for her to worry about as breastfeeding is so important to her."
Molly is also quick to point out her son stepped up to help with her mother running things at home. He was really worried about his mom but pushed through.
Cannon, whose activity is bull riding, was supposed to start junior high rodeo and have his first rodeo while Molly was in the hospital. This was a big sacrifice for a 10-year-old, she said, but “He has not complained one time that he had to miss the rodeos.”
“His concern was helping my mom,” said Molly, “being a big brother, getting home school done without a fuss, and praying his mommy home.”
The family had other misfortune during Molly’s stay in the Salt Lake City hospital.
Their pickup truck was broken into at a hotel where Dustin and Molly’s dad stayed. Her breast pump and their diaper bag were stolen, and Everlie's car seat was ruined from the glass.
However, Molly pointed out, there were blessings even in this.
Her father and Dustin went to Target for a new car seat. The manager there approved a trade-in credit for the glass-covered car seat and gave Dustin 30% off on the new seat.
“Then Dustin had a lady they met out there ask what she could do for us,” Molly said. “At first he said nothing but pray, as he is not one to ask for help.”
“After texting daily and telling him she would not stop asking, she finally said, "If you will not accept my help financially, then will you let me replace you wife's breast pump?" He then agreed. So, she bought me the exact breast pump I had.”
Once Molly was moved out of the ICU on Sept. 23, she worked hard on her therapy to decrease oxygen usage. The doctors were amazed at her progress each day, she recalled, saying she was one of the most determined patients they had ever seen.
“I had a husband to kiss, and three babies to get home to,” Molly said.
Because of her determination and support team she was going home to, the doctors agreed to discharge her several days earlier than projected. They arrived home on the evening of Sept. 27.
“And let me tell you, that homecoming was the most joyous moment in my life,” said Molly. “To see our children, be together as a family of five, to hug my mama, and to just soak in God's blessings was incredible.”
That night she and Dustin barely slept.
“We soaked in having Everlie sprawled out between us in our bed with Boone in my arms,” Molly recollected. “We just smiled at each other and kept thanking God for what He had given us.”
Molly’s parents stayed until she was strong enough to do most things on my own, “a huge blessing,” she said.
There have been tough days since she returned home. She is still on oxygen 24/7 and doing in-home physical therapy, hoping to be off the oxygen by Thanksgiving.
“I have a long road ahead of me with home care,” said Molly. “So, we still need lots of prayers.”
Her sister has also set up a GoFundMe account for them as Dustin has not worked in over a month and they will be facing a lot of medical bills.
“People have been donating to that,” she said, “as well as some sending gift cards or diapers our way. So those things are huge blessings!”
Molly has also had more Wyoming moms donate milk since she’s returned home and she’s had two offer to continue to pump for her, if needed.
She said she is overwhelmed by the love, support, and prayers from everyone, and it has been great just being home with her family.
The Holy Spirit filled her in the hospital, she said, and she is striving to be an even better wife, mother, daughter, sister, and friend.
“I don't just want to know Jesus more. I NEED to know Him more,” said Molly. “It has been an incredible feeling and experience.”
Editor's note: The author is acquainted with Dustin and Molly.