They say you shouldn't cry over spilled milk. But, I think it's perfectly acceptable to cry over 200+ ounces of frozen pumped milk that thawed in transit and had to be poured down the drain.
Welcome to the miracle story of the traveling breastmilk. I'm here to tell you how God performed a miracle and for some reason He chose FedEx, a delayed package, and a cooler full of my breastmilk to show that He is above all things, can do all things, and we should pray to Him for all things. Let me explain...
Last week I shipped a cooler of my breastmilk to my best friend in California to use for her 5-month twin baby girls. She was exclusively pumping and got mastitis so bad that she had to get IV antibiotics at the hospital for three days straight. Her milk supply dropped and she needed more breastmilk for her girls.
I had started pumping when Brenner was two weeks old. I wanted to build a freezer stash for him. In a month's time, I had pumped over 200 ounces of milk (on top of breastfeeding him around the clock every 2 hours). Every morning I used the Willow Pump (God's precious gift to moms BTW) after his morning feed to collect an additional 6-8 ounces for the day. Then throughout the day and night, I used the Haakaa pump (another Heavenly gift to breastfeeding moms!) to collect 1-3 ounces while feeding Brenner on the other breast. It took me a month to express all of that extra milk, always squeezing every last ounce out that I could.
But when my friend needed the milk, I knew I wanted to send her my freezer stash to help her through this time. So I researched options on how to ship breastmilk and ordered a specialized insulated cooler box. I called FedEx's Cold Shipping line to gather instructions, printed off a special label to affix to the box, and bought the dry ice. Matt and I packed the frozen milk inside the cooler and had to properly insulate it with dry ice wrapped in newspaper. And since dry ice is considered a "dangerous good" to ship, we had to take it to FedEx's special shipping hub down by the airport.
Matt and the boys came with me because I couldn't lift the box and bring it inside because of my C-section lifting restrictions. So, Matt brings the box inside and sits it on the conveyor belt. Then I go in and handle the shipping details. In order for the milk to arrive frozen, it needed to get there in two days. However, because we shipped on a Saturday, we needed to ship it "overnight" so it would arrive Monday morning. This cost $196 because of the overnight fee and the extra dry ice fee surcharges. It was expensive but worth it to send the liquid gold.
So off went my freezer stash in a white box from Wichita headed to San Francisco. On Monday, my friend waited around at home ready to sign for the precious goods. However, things took a turn when on Monday the tracking notification changed from "Will be delivered by 8 PM" to "PENDING" and the last tracking history showed the package still at the FedEx hub in Memphis. Oh no! It wouldn't arrive on Monday night. I started to worry.
So on Tuesday, I call FedEx Customer Service and they tell me that it's stuck in Memphis and they'll put a trigger alert out to the hub and have someone in their trace department reach out to me to explain what's going on. But they don't call me back. And the tracking still says it's in Memphis on TUESDAY NIGHT and WEDNESDAY MORNING. No new tracking updates.
At this point, I am convinced that the milk has thawed and is completely ruined. I am upset, sad, and angry.
I picture it turning to liquid sitting in some Memphis warehouse, wasting away all those late night pumping sessions and all the hours we spent washing and sterilizing all the pump parts. I just wanted to cry (or yell at FedEx, but I didn't because I'm always nice to Customer Service people). I was so defeated.
Wednesday AFTERNOON comes around and the trace department had still not called me (they never did), but we saw that the package had finally left for San Francisco. But I had already given up hope and was just going to wait to call Customer Service back once it arrived. We planned to call them and show them the spoiled milk and try to get a reimbursement for the overnight shipping charges. However, it never arrived on Wednesday. It stayed at the San Francisco hub Wednesday night and didn't go out for delivery until Thursday afternoon! Yes, a full 5 days later from the time we shipped it! So much for "overnight" shipping! I would have been better off shipping it via Amazon Prime! My attempt at a joke ;)
So, Tuesday until Thursday, I mourned the loss of my milk. I seriously went through all five stages of grief during those three days. Anger, sadness, and finally acceptance. But during that time, I never thought to pray for the milk to arrive sooner or arrive frozen. I just assumed it was thawed and ruined. I accepted the situation at face value and said "it is what it is." I think 2020 taught me that.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't even think to pray to God for a miracle to keep the milk frozen. As soon as I realized it was not going to arrive on Monday, I assumed that by Tuesday the milk would be thawed and there would be no chance that it would be usable. I imagined my friend opening up the package and having to dump it all down the sink.
So imagine my disbelief when the package arrived Thursday afternoon and I receive a text, accompanied by pictures, "The milk is frozen!" What!! I wish my response would have been something holy like "Halleluiah! Praise Jesus!" but all I could muster was "No freaking way!"
They said the milk was firm like ice cream, but had not liquified at all! All the milk could be safely re-frozen and used for the girls! I was shocked! I couldn't believe it because I had already grieved the lost milk which was never lost at all.
As I reflected on the miracle of the traveling milk, I wondered how many other times in my life am I just accepting "what is" and not praying for more? How many times am I accepting the status quo instead of believing that God can actually do something about it? How many more miracles could I witness if I did?
Prayer should be our first line of defense not our last ditch option. The milk arrived five days later and was still frozen! This is a miracle and although I don't fully understand scientifically how this happened, I do know that God used this experience to teach me to trust Him deeper.
Addie & Arden enjoying their Aunt Ashley's milk.
So, friend, what are you grieving that you haven't actually lost? What are you worrying about that hasn't actually happened? What could you pray about that God can turn around? Kneel down to pray and stand ready to witness a miracle. It may just come in unexpected circumstances, like a box of frozen breastmilk.
I would love your comments below!
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