LUBBOCK, Texas — Jacob and Libby Eubank couldn’t wait for the birth of their second child, a little brother for their four-year-old daughter Hadley.
Jacob could never have imagined that he would come home from the hospital with a newborn but without his wife.
“She loved her family so much,” Jacob said, holding back tears. “It’s not uncommon that women do die during childbirth, unfortunately, but you never think it’s going to be your wife.”
In September, Libby died of a rare complication when amniotic fluid gets into the mother’s bloodstream. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 700 women die from pregnancy or childbirth complications in the U.S. every year.
“I just stood there feeling helpless,” Jacob said.
After her water broke, Libby had trouble breathing. Doctors performed an emergency cesarean section to save their little boy Huxley, but Libby died an hour later. She was 34.
What should have been one of the happiest days of their lives turned into tragedy.
“I think I went three or four days without sleeping … It was hard, and it’s been hard. I see her every day, I wake up, and we have her pictures everywhere. I don’t want that to change,” Jacob said.
Now, Huxley is three months old.
“He’s our little miracle baby,” Jacob said.
But this miracle baby will never meet his mom.
“When you see a dad left behind, there’s something about that that’s tragic and heartbreaking … and I think people are drawn to help out in those situations,” said Jacob’s friend Kyle Joy.
Joy runs a nonprofit that is donating breast milk to help Jacob feed Huxley.
“Our donor moms have never met Libby and never met Hux and never met Jacob, but they were lined up at the door to donate milk,” Joy said.
His organization is called Third Strand, based in Canyon, TX, near Amarillo, and it gives breast milk to babies who have lost a mom or whose moms can’t breastfeed — all for zero cost.
Third Strand has fed babies in 42 states across the country, but for Joy, this work is personal.
In 2016, his little sister died the day she brought home her baby from the hospital.
“I know she’s making fun of me now up in heaven because her big brother who’s the chief of the fire department in Amarillo is running a breast milk organization. Before she died, I wouldn’t even say breast milk without turning red in the face,” Joy joked.
Jacob emphasized how grateful he is for Third Strand’s support, encouragement and help in keeping baby Huxley healthy.
“It means the world—I can’t thank them enough. I can’t thank anybody enough,” Jacob said.
If you’re a mom interested in giving breast milk to families like the Eubanks, you can apply here on the Third Strand website. The nonprofit also accepts monetary donations.