When Keri and Royce Young found out they were going to be having a baby they were ecstatic. They began to make plans and imagine their future with this precious little one.
When they went to the doctor to find out the sex of their baby they were full of excitement and anticipation. They had no idea the doctor was about to give them some news that would change their lives forever.
As the doctor looked at the ultrasound he discovered something devastating. The baby, a girl the Youngs named Eva, had anencephaly, a terminal condition in which the baby is born without a fully developed brain. Doctors told the Youngs their daughter would most likely die within hours of being born.
The news would be devastating to any parent, but Keri’s response left everyone in the room stunned. Royce was so moved by what his wife said that he wrote about it on Facebook, and his post has since gone viral.
“Literally 30 seconds after our doctor told us our baby doesn’t have a brain, somehow through full body ugly crying, Keri looked up and asked, ‘If I carry her full term, can we donate her organs?’” he recalled.
He said the doctor put his hand on Keri’s shoulder and kindly said, “Oh honey, that’s so brave of you to say,” fully expecting her to change her mind. But Keri was insistent.
“This is our daughter’s perfect heart. She has perfect feet and perfect hands. She has perfect kidneys, perfect lungs and a perfect liver. Sadly, she doesn’t have a perfect brain,” Keri wrote later.
As excruciating as it will be to carry on with the pregnancy knowing they will probably only have mere hours with little Eva, the Youngs are confident in their decision, knowing that in death, Eva will give many others life.
Doctors have said that Eva’s heart valves, kidneys, liver, and possibly her pancreas can be donated to people who need them, and her lungs can be donated for scientific research.
“This was not an easy decision,” Keri wrote. “For the next 20 weeks I will feel her kick, have the hiccups and we’ll be able to hear her perfect heart beating all while knowing we’ll only get a few short hours with her when she’s born.”
However, Keri continued, “Eva will have life even though it will be short. She’ll donate anything she can and do more in her time on earth than I ever will.”
Thousands of people all over the world have been moved by Keri’s strength and selflessness in the midst of one of the darkest times of her life, not least of whom is her husband. Royce said watching Keri has been like “watching a superhero find her superpowers.”
“In literally the worst moment of her life, finding out her baby was going to die, it took her less than a minute to think of someone else and how her selflessness could help,” he wrote. “It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced. In the eight years we’ve been married (and 15 years together) I’ve had a lot of moments stop me in my tracks where I thought, ‘holy crap, this woman I’m married to, lucky me.’ But this one was different. It hit me that not only am I married to my very best friend, but to a truly remarkable, special human being.”
Nothing can make this situation easy for the Youngs, but they can find comfort and strength knowing their daughter will be the miracle several families may already be praying for.
“There’s another family out there hurting and hoping for a miracle for their baby, knowing full well someone else’s baby will need to die first,” Royce said. “Eva can be that miracle. ”
Baby Eva is due on May 7 and the family has asked for continued thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
“This is not over for us,” Keri said. “We’ll almost assuredly have doubts on if we’re actually doing the right thing. Or if we can even handle this. May 7th is far away. Please continue to think and pray for us.”