There is nothing more painful for a mother than burying her child, that moment represents an indescribable suffering that cannot be compared.
Alexis Marrino is a 22-year-old from Rapid City, South Dakota. Her life was filled with darkness when her little angel died just one hour and ten minutes after being born due to anencephaly, a condition that affects the development of the spinal cord and brain.
The rare disorder affects three out of every 10,000 pregnancies in the United States.
The tragic news left this mother devastated, but she decided to do something truly incredible that would help hundreds of premature babies. Alexis pumped 33 liters of breast milk for seven weeks, the time she was given off before returning to work.
Baby McKinleigh Marrino was born on July 29th of this year.
Alexis and her husband Michael Marrino were aware of their little baby’s diagnosis, whom they named McKinleigh.
When the mother learned of the grave diagnosis, she didn’t know whether to terminate her pregnancy or give birth. Her greatest wish was to breastfeed her and hold her in her arms, so she decided to continue with the pregnancy. In the midst of her pain and complex emotional process, she felt fortunate to be able to help other babies.
At 20 weeks gestation, they discovered that the baby had no brain activity. There is no treatment for anencephaly, diagnosed babies are either stillborn or only live a few days
The young woman always knew that when she became pregnant, she wanted to breastfeed her children with her own milk, and as she had already planned to store it, she could donate it. The most complex part was pumping all the milk, she commented that it was a stressful and somewhat frustrating process.
For one hour and ten minutes, the time that the baby lived, her parents did not stop hugging her.
For Alexis, the first few days were quite challenging, but after a couple of weeks, pumping milk had become part of her daily routine.
Extracting and storing milk had helped her to channel her emotions, knowing that it was going to help premature babies with difficulties made her feel fortunate. She said:
“Many women have trouble pumping milk after losing a child and I really didn’t have any issues with depression or anything like that.”
Thinking about the destination of the milk she was pumping helped Alexis a lot. When she finished the process, she admits feeling a bit empty because she had been doing it for a long time. In the end, she was surprised by the amount of milk she had pumped.
For the young couple, the one hour and ten minutes they spent with their baby was a valuable and quality time. Their little angel is now in heaven, and her mother has helped hundreds of children. A loss is never replaceable, but the satisfaction of helping those who need it most can offer great comfort.
Undoubtedly, it is the little things that make the difference. Help us share the story so that everyone can know about this wonderful gesture.