Carly Yocke's son Nicholas arrived 10-weeks early. "He just wanted to come out. There was no reason for it. He was just a stubborn little guy," she said.
Nicholas was born on Tuesday and remains at Sarasota Memorial's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for premature babies.
"It is horrible. It is the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. All I want to do is hold him and love him," Yocke explained.
Yocke's body was not ready for birth. She has been unable to breast feed Nicholas and relies on help from breast milk donors.
"It is the same thing to me as donating blood. It is just an essential thing for life and his intelligence," she told FOX 13.
Sarasota Memorial Hospital works with the Mother's Milk Bank of Florida. Now Sarasota Memorial has started its own Milk Depot. They collect breast milk from donors like Kim Cannon.
"To be able to give that gift to another mother so they can take their baby home just feels really special and really good to do that for somebody," said Cannon.
Cannon's son spent time at SMH's NICU unit when he was born last year. She decided to start donating breast milk one month ago. Before she worked with a bank out of North Carolina, but once she heard SMH was starting its own bank she switched. On Friday afternoon she dropped off 40-packets of breast milk. The packets totaled more than two gallons of milk.
"If you are able to produce milk, not every mother can, so if you are able to and you have a surplus why not help other babies and other mothers and other families to have healthy children," she added.
Donors are placed though a screening process similar to blood donations. Once approved the milk bank analyzes the milk of approved donors for calories and protein content and then pasteurizes it to kill any viruses or bacteria. It then tests the milk to ensure it is free of contaminates before deep freezing and distributing it to hospitalized babies in need, like Nicholas.
"I am so grateful. I almost just want to cry," said Yocke.
As soon as Yocke can produce her own milk for her son, she hopes to one day give back and become a breast milk donor.
"I am so blessed I came to this hospital and they have this program," she said.
Local moms interested in donating their breast milk can start the screening process by calling the Mothers' Milk Bank of Florida at (407) 248-5050 or visiting milkbankofflorida.org. Once approved, they can bring their frozen milk to SMH's Milk Depot, which accepts donations daily (7:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. Monday-Friday; 10:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. weekends).