Linette faced her biggest challenge in her motherhood journey when she was pregnant with her younger son, Sherman. During a routine check, he was diagnosed in-utero with a rare congenital condition, known as Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH). He was only given less than 5% chance of survival. Linette and her husband took the risk and decided to continue with the pregnancy.
The hospital provided them with a lot of support such as bereavement counseling. But instead of grieving over the grim prognosis, they decided to find ways to contribute to the society such that their baby can leave his footprint in this world, regardless of his survival outcome. It was then that Linette learnt about the hospital’s milk bank program. It made sense for her to take part in the pilot program as she would be producing breastmilk regardless of her child’s survival outcome.
At 6 days old, Sherman underwent a major hernia-repair surgery and spent a total of 68 days in the NICU. As Sherman was not ready for any milk intake yet, several mothers who struggled with breastfeeding approached Linette to ask if she could spare them some of her breastmilk. It was then that Linette felt really encouraged to do something for the community. She then began donating to the milk bank on a monthly basis.
Sherman was sent home on respiratory and feeding support, thus requiring 24/7 attention even during sleep. Amidst these challenges, Linette was pumping exclusively for Sherman as he has cow’s milk protein allergy and can only tolerate breastmilk that is tube-fed.
Linette is the Singapore representative for Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia (CDH) International. As a volunteer, she needs to be on-call to local parents who needs support and for her to share her CDH experience in Singapore.