My quest to become a breast milk donor has stalled. I am not able to find anyone that is willing to help me get my blood drawn. I'm sitting here writing and feeling the defeat, and the tears threatening. I can't remember the last time I cried, or felt this helpless and depressed. Here I am, doing a phenomenal thing. Donating my breast milk to babies that need it. Preemies in the NICU. Babies of Mommas that can't provide their own breast milk. I thought the phrase "I'm registering to become a breast milk donor" would win over hearts and get me the help I need to continue. Not so. I've been met with silence and "what are you doing? Oh."
So far, I've called five different establishments. That is including the CVS minute clinic (they don't do blood work) and the "Family Practice" that turned out to be an optician. Why would an optician name their practice "Mr. Whoever Family Practice"? Sounds like a doctor's office right? Incidentally, she gave the only warm response I received. I heard in her voice that she thought I was doing a great thing. If testing my eyes was a prerequisite for breast milk donation, she would have helped me no problem. On calls, my opening explanation goes something like this:
Hi <name of="" person="" who="" answered="" />, I am registering as a breast milk donor and I need to have my blood tested. I have a kit with instructions and only need someone to do the blood draw. Can you help me?
I'm sure I wasn't that clear. Each time I pick up the phone I'm very nervous as what I'm asking for is way out of the ordinary. The more I get rejected, the more nervous I become. And with that comes stuttering and a loss of words. I thought the hard part was going to be pumping the milk. Boy, was I wrong. Here's a rough transcript of the conversations I've had. I'm still surprised with the responses.
After explaining that I was donating breast milk and need blood drawn, she said the office I called doesn't do blood work. She was apologetic but gave me the impression that she was going to find me something that can help me. After about a minute she said she didn't have anything. No numbers. No one I could call. It was odd. Almost like some invisible force stopped her. She was helping one second, the next she stopped and said she had nothing to offer me. I thanked her and hung up.
A local general practice doctor's office:
After going back and forth a little bit explaining that I only need blood drawn and not tests conducted, the receptionist went on to explain how the practice does not do their own blood work. They use Quest Diagnostics for any lab work needed by their patients. Apparently, it was cheaper that way (cheaper for who, she did not say). She told me I needed to talk to the milk bank and tell them to give me a request to have my blood drawn at Quest Diagnostics. The milk bank should mail me a request form that I would then bring to Quest. Abruptly, she said she would ask the doctor if she can help me anyway, and that she couldn't promise me anything.
Receptionist: Let me see. Are you a patient here?
Receptionist: Oh. No. No, no, no. No, that's a.. We can't help you then.
Me: Ok, thanks
A local a birth center:
Midwife (I assume): What kind of blood test do you need? We can only test for pregnancy.
Me: Well, the blood will be shipped back to the milk bank and they will test it. I only need someone to do the blood draw. I have a kit with directions on what to do.
Midwife: Are you pregnant? We only work with pregnant women. Were you a patient here?
Me: No, I'm not pregnant. No, I am not a patient.
Midwife: We have a gynecologist here but I'm not sure what she will charge you for just that.
Me: Ok, thanks.
Perhaps I could have inquired about pricing for a blood draw but having experience with asking about cost for services, I decided to cut that conversation short. I have no insurance. I am not a patient. The milk bank representative thought that I should have the blood draw done for free. The Co-op FAQ shows this:
Do I have to pay for my blood test?
The Mother's Milk Cooperative covers the cost of donor screening through your donation of 60 oz of milk. MMC donors should not incur any out of pocket costs to participate in our programs.
Which, at this moment, seems like candies and rainbows. I'm not sure who will do anything for me without charging me. I'm not even sure I will be able to get through the red tape that seems to be surrounding anything related to medical services here in the states. I've contacted the milk bank for help, as they offered to make some calls on my behalf if I have any difficulties. Wish me luck. I could really use some cheerleaders right now.