LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)  —  The Southland couple who placed pictures of their stillborn baby on the Internet this summer are speaking out about the decision to share their grief.

When the photos of Monroe were published in August, the world literally debated the couple’s decision.

READ MORE: Disney Cruises To Require COVID Vaccines For Children 5 And Older

Emily and Richard Staley sat down with KCAL9’s Kristine Lazar recently for a story that is Only On 9.

The delivery room was quiet when Emily first met her newborn daughter.

“I just pleaded with God to bring her back, to hear her cry,” Emily says.

Monroe Faith was stillborn July 26, two weeks before her due date.

The photos were taken just moments after she arrived by Caesarean section.

“She had red hair like me. Her daddy’s nose,” Emily says.

The pregnancy had been problem-free. Emily has a healthy 5-year-old son, Quinn.

Monroe was to be her first child with husband Richard.

“I was so excited,” Emily says. “I’d waited so long to see her beautiful little face.”

On the morning of July 25, while fixing breakfast for Quinn, Emily noticed she hadn’t felt the baby kick since the previous night.

When she couldn’t hear the baby’s heartbeat on a baby monitor, she said her heart sank.

She rushed to the hospital, and nurses told her they couldn’t detect a heartbeat.

“That’s when the ultrasound tech had come in and told me that her umbilical cord is only showing about 2 inches and everything else was wrapped around her face,” she recalled.

The couple was told to return the next day to deliver the baby girl they knew would be stillborn.

“I just sat in the car for an hour and a half, just crying. I couldn’t believe what was going on,” Emily says.

The Staleys went home to prepare. One of Emily’s friends contacted family photographer Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro and asked whether she would be willing to come to the hospital to document Monroe’s birth.

The photographer agreed without hesitation.

“I really wanted to capture these first-time moments with this family, because they were never, ever going to get it back with this baby,” Natzic-Villatoro said.

She and Richard were both there to capture the baby’s arrival.

“I think the hardest part was her saying to Richard ‘Is she out yet, is she out yet, is she out yet?’ and she was out,” Natzic-Villatoro remembers. “I just remember looking at her, and she knew, she knew when she saw like my face that the baby was out and that this is not a dream.”

READ MORE: Traffic Nightmare? SoFi, The Forum Both Hosting Events Wednesday Night

Monroe Faith was full-term size: 6 pounds and 2 and one-half ounces.

“And I just yanked my mask down and I just said ‘She is perfect.’ And [Emity]  just screamed,” Natzic-Villatoro said.

Doctors placed the baby on Emily’s chest.

The photographer also captured those moments.

“I thought she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen,” Emily said.

He leaned down and kissed the baby on the forehead.

“The only thing I wanted to do was hold her,” Richard said, “and not let go.”

Natzic-Villatoro remembers wanting to take all the pictures that any new parents would want — the tiny toes and little fingers, mother grasping her child’s hand.

“If I wouldn’t have told you that this child was deceased, you wouldn’t have known it.  And she is not the only baby that this happens to,” the photographer said.

In fact, one in 160 births end in stillbirth.

Hoping to raise awareness, Natzic-Villatoro posted Monroe’s photos to her Facebook page. She had 180,000 followers.

“This happens to thousands of people. Every month. With this stillbirth, I really wanted to change the stigma of that whole hush-hush thing. Let’s not talk about it,” she said.

The response to the photos was overwhelming. There have been hundreds of thousands of comments. There have also been hundreds of thousands of shares.

The latest count of people who have seen the photos? By last count, more than 100 million.

The proud parents said they think the fact so many people have been positive was an unexpected blessing amid their tragedy.

“We only initially did it for ourselves, to have pictures of our daughter, but sharing it with the world. Nothing but love and support, basically that I’ve gotten out of it, and it’s truly been a blessing,” Emily said.

In addition to the positive feedback, the couple said many people also sent gifts, including necklaces, jewelry, home decor.

There’s also a little bear that weighs the same as Monroe did. The couple also has a little stuffed bunny with a recording of Monroe’s heartbeat, taken during one of her ultrasounds.

Lazar said the couple is surrounded by many reminders of their little girl; she might not have spent a second on Earth but managed to make a mark on the world.

“She’s touching people’s lives,” Richard says.

“And her memory is living on,” Emily adds.

MORE NEWS: Driver Tries To Run Over Beverly Hills Officer, Sparking Pursuit; One Arrested

What are YOUR thoughts about the controversial photos? Sound off on our Facebook page.