BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A young couple getting ready to start a family experiences a tragic loss three weeks after the birth of their son.
Anthony Reed and his longtime girlfriend MacKenzie Odle were excited about starting a new chapter in their love story. They were getting ready to welcome their first child.
This love story goes back to high school. Both Reed and Odle attended North High and were friends during their time at school.
The two started dating after high school. The two instantly connected.
“At first, I though this kid is like really cute,” Odle said. “Everyone always says his smile is always super infectious.”
Reed worked in the oilfields while Odle went to CSUB.
“He had to make sure I had everything,” Odle said. “We both grew up without our dads so single-mom homes, and he wanted to make sure we could do everything for our future kids.”
Days before MacKenzie gave birth, the couple had tested positive for COVID-19.
Since he was infected, Reed was not allowed in the hospital to be with MacKenzie as she gave birth. He watched his son enter the world via FaceTime.
As MacKenzie got ready to go home, Anthony’s condition worsened.
Anthony was admitted to the hospital so he could recover and finally be with his son.
“He would text us and say, ‘Hey, I can’t talk but can I just look at you guys’ and so we would sit on FaceTime for awhile,” Odle said.
Early on August 20, Anthony became very ill. The nurses, doing everything they could, picked up his cell phone to FaceTime MacKenzie and his son.
“He wanted to see Christian and I before they sedated him and put him on a ventilator and he just waved to me and gave me a thumbs up like trying to be so brave, you know?”
The nurses said Anthony wouldn’t make it through the night. MacKenzie, as a faithful partner, watched nurses shut down the machines that kept Anthony alive.
“I just wanted to be able to hold his hand and let him know it was okay,” Odle said. “I didn’t want to say those things but you know, I didn’t want him to keep sulfuring.”
Unable to be there in person, MacKenzie watched Anthony, her best friend, take his last breath on FaceTime.
Anthony was 26-years-old.
He passed three weeks after his son, Christian, was born. He never met his son in person.
Although Anthony is gone, MacKenzie says the love story continues as she cares for their newborn son.
“As hard as it is to have him and not have Anthony here, it would be so much harder for him to be gone and not have a piece of him,” Odle said. “It absolutely brings me some peace and just knowing his love is still here.”
MacKenzie says Anthony was planning on proposing to her in December.