GREENFIELD — Shelbi Gilleland signed up for Sunday’s March for Babies months in advance, back when she was still pregnant with daughter Laynie Mae.
Gilleland, 20, of Greenfield, had found out when she was 20 weeks pregnant that her daughter suffered from a heart defect that would require surgery immediately after her birth in April. The March for Dimes event, Gilleland reasoned, would be the perfect opportunity for her family to celebrate the infant’s recovery.
But complications after Laynie’s surgery changed everything. Doctors successfully implanted a shunt to help Laynie’s heart pump blood throughout her body two days after she was born, but she then developed a blood clot. Laynie died 18 days after her birth.
Sunday, the event Gilleland had hoped would signify triumph took on a more somber tone.