Catt McGrath was days before her due date when she noticed something wasn't quite right with her baby. She woke up to find no movement in her belly, and while she tried not to think of the worst, she headed to the hospital to get checked out.
"The nurse tried to find his heartbeat and couldn't find it," McGrath told People. "I started crying. I knew. Then they did an ultrasound and I could see his head and his spine and nothing was moving."
Soon a doctor came and confirmed that her son Daniel, had died because a "true knot" had formed in the umbilical cord. According to a study posted by the National Institutes of Health, this is a very rare case, where the fetus slips through a loop in the umbilical cord early on in the pregnancy—usually between nine and 12 weeks of gestation. As the fetus grows bigger, the knot becomes tighter, and eventually cuts off circulation which then leads to death in utero.
McGrath and her husband were heartbroken when their son was stillborn. However, in hopes to make the best of a truly tragic situation, she decided to donate her breast milk to help others in need. (Read: After The Unexpected Loss of Her Stillborn, Mom Donates 17 Gallons of Breast Milk
"I started pumping right there at the hospital, and the first two weeks it was amazing," she said. "I was thinking, there are so many babies that need this."
Even when she found it difficult, McGrath continued to pump for an additional three and a half months, donating to a milk bank in North Carolina. She wanted to help women in her hometown of Charlotte, where she also made donations. (Read: This Empowering All-Woman Biker Gang Delivers Breast Milk to Babies in Need)
One of those women was a stay-at-home mom, Alexandra Malissen, who wasn't able to produce milk for her newborn daughter.
"I was really struggling with my milk supply," Malissen told People. "I didn't have enough to feed her."
"It's unreal to think that someone who is going through one of the most gut-wrenching, life-altering, heartbreaking experiences is still willing to sacrifice and pump for other people's children," she says. "It's mind-boggling." And it truly is. We can't help but be in awe of women like McGrath who have the courage to turn an awful loss into an act of kindness.