"I decided I wanted to see her and hold her so I decided to continue on with the pregnancy," the young woman said.
A young couple that was waiting in anticipation for the birth of their baby to start a family together was given a news no expecting parent should have have to hear. Alexis Marrino and her husband were told by the doctors that their baby wouldn't make it after birth. The couple was heartbroken to know that even if Alexis did give birth, they would still lose their child. But the young woman was not ready to terminate her pregnancy; she and her husband Michael, were ready to accept whatever little time she could have with her little one.
The same day that Alexis and Michael found out that they were having a baby girl, they were also told by doctors that there was no brain development found.
Later, a specialist told them that they were dealing with a birth defect called Anencephaly. "All of us just broke down. I felt as if someone was suffocating me and I just couldn’t breathe because within my 6 days of research we knew what this was," Alexis wrote on Facebook.
"They gave us ideas of what we wanted. In my mind I was like, yes, I want to terminate. My initial thought was how could I continue on when I already know what the outcome is going to be," the young woman said, as reported by The Sun.
Babies born with this fatal condition pass away within hours, days, or weeks of birth, according to Cleveland Clinic. And the couple were devastated to know that their baby girl, McKinleigh Jade Marrino, would not be a part of their lives for long after her birth.
But she finally decided that she would carry her baby for the full term, just like how she had imagined. She wrote, "Michael and I have decided to continue on with the pregnancy and will treat this pregnancy as any other, but we may not bring her home in the end."
All she wanted was just to hold her baby in her arms, even if it was just for an hour or so. The 22-year-old said, "I decided I wanted to see her and hold her so I decided to continue on with the pregnancy."
On July 29, McKinleigh was born and the little one gave her parents an entire hour that they would forever treasure.
"It was shocking to meet her. I thought she would have different features. She definitely looks like her dad more than me," Alexis said. "It was a really precious hour and 10 minutes."
Getting to meet their baby girl meant so much to them. "McKinleigh had my toes, my lips and the roundness of my nose. She had the wideness of Michaels nose, his fingers and long legs," Alexis wrote in a post. "She was and is so perfect. When she came out, Michael got to cut her umbilical cord and brought her over to me. As I was getting sewed back up, I got to do skin to skin with McKinleigh and it’s something I will never forget."
Before the little one passed away in her arms, the couple were able to cradle their baby in their arms, an experience they would never get to share with their daughter, McKinleigh after that day. "Feeling her small, warm body on my chest was too magical. As she was still with us, we got to baptize her and, shortly after, she passed in my arms," she wrote. "We got to dress her, get her foot and handprints, get some hand and foot molds and Michael even got to change her diaper. A few hours later, the funeral home picked her up and we had to let her go."
Despite it being a painful experience for her, Alexis bravely and selflessly decided to donate her breast milk to other mothers who might be struggling or to premature babies, in memory of her daughter, according to the Daily Mail.
"When I found out I was pregnant, I actually always wanted to breastfeed or at least use my breastmilk for my own children. I figured I had already planned on using it, so I might as well donate it. At first, it was emotional pumping breastmilk after losing my baby," she said. "It was stressful and frustrating. But eventually, after a few weeks, it became the norm. I don't know if pumping helped to process my emotions, but I know I was one of the luckier women."
"I just had to remind myself who I was doing it for and that got me through it. It is going to premature babies and babies who have difficulties when they are born."
In 7 weeks, she was able to pump a great amount of milk for babies who desperately need it. "I believe I pumped 1,130 ounces in the end. I was shocked when I counted it all," she said. "People keep telling me it will help a lot of babies. I am proud of how much I managed to pump."
What Alexis and Michael will never forget is the few hours they spent with their daughter in a hospital for the precious moments she gave them.
In a message to her little one, Alexis wrote, "McKinleigh, you were and always will be so beautiful to me and your daddy. I never knew I could love someone as much as I love you. You weren’t on this earth long but you touched so many peoples lives. I’ll never forget carrying you those 8 months and feeling you kick like crazy! You were tiny but so mighty. Daddy and I will always love you forever and you will always be our little girl. I love you, baby girl."