It is the Best Feeling in the World to Hold Brenna Again

Their 20-week ultrasound should have been a milestone to celebrate. Scott and Ashley Marko were going to find out if they were having a boy or a girl. Instead they were given some devastating news. They were having a daughter, and there may be something wrong.

Brenna Lee Marko was diagnosed with Truncus Arteriosus, a condition where the heart forms with one large artery instead of two to carry blood to the lungs and body.

“Your whole world comes tumbling down,” Ashley remembers. “You don’t even know what to think.”

“It was the worst day ever.“ Scott said. The doctors gave them two options. “We were told we could go through surgery or terminate the pregnancy. That wasn’t even an option for us.”

A week before Brenna was due to be born, Scott and Ashley moved into the Ronald McDonald House. “Then it hit home that it was real and was going to happen,” Scott said.

Shortly after Brenna was born, she was taken to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) for a week to prepare for surgery. “We got to hold her for a minute, then they whisked her away,” Scott recalls. “There will never be anything this world can throw at me that’s as scary as handing over your 1 week old child to a group of strangers who are going to stop her heart in order to save her life.”

Brenna’s surgery lasted 8 hours and she spent the next 4 days in the NICU. Scott and Ashley were grateful to be staying at the Ronald McDonald House which gave them a home away from home during an extremely difficult time. “It was overwhelming,” Scott described. “It changed my view about a lot of stuff.”

Brenna Marko celebrated her second birthday on April 29th.