When Alexis Marrino attended a routine ultrasound during her pregnancy in 2019, nurses broke some devastating news. Doctors recognized that her baby was unlikely to pull through. Nevertheless, Marrino decided not to terminate. However, when her daughter arrived, the infant was indeed too poorly to last much longer than an hour. But this brave mom knew exactly what she needed to do.
McKinleigh Jade Marrino arrived into the world shortly before noon on July 29, 2019. Devastatingly, doctors had diagnosed anencephaly some months before her birth. The condition affects parts of the brain, and skull bones fail to fuse as they should early on in the pregnancy. Moreover, with large portions of an infant’s brain missing, there is nothing that can be done to cure the affliction.
Nevertheless, Marrino doesn’t regret carrying her baby to full term; her intention was merely to hold her daughter. She told UK newspaper the Daily Mail in October 2019, “It was a really precious hour and ten minutes. She was very warm and soft, so I was glad that I got to hold her.” What happened next became a source of pride.
Marrino had made the decision to breastfeed early on in her pregnancy. Furthermore, having given birth to McKinleigh, her body would continue producing milk for a while longer. So she put it to good use and donated pumped breast milk to moms who were unable to feed their own babies. As is well documented, sick and stressed moms may have problems producing their own milk.
It was emotionally painful for Marrino, who donated around 1,130oz of breast milk within two months. “There were days that I just cried because I kept thinking, ‘How is it fair that I’m doing this for someone else’s baby instead of mine?’” she wrote in a Facebook post. “But I wanted to make McKinleigh proud and I’d like to think I did.”