Back in February, we reported on the heartbreaking story of parents-to-be Royce and Keri Young who had been told by doctors their little girl – whom they’d already named Eva – would be born without a brain and wouldn’t survive more than a few days after birth.
They decided to continue with the pregnancy so their baby’s organs could be donated.
Brave mum Keri has now given birth to little Eva Grace, and has shared a pic of her newborn daughter on Instagram, writing: ‘We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva yesterday. She was so perfect in her own little way’.
When the heartbreaking story first broke, we wrote on how usually, in cases like the Young’s, it’s usual for the birth to be induced fairly soon after the (awful) diagnosis is made – so as not to unnecessarily increase the parents-to-be’s suffering by making them wait the full 9 months.
So the fact Keri decided she wanted to carry her daughter to full-term so they could donate her organs once she passed away was just amazingly selfless and generous.
At the time, in a devastatingly beautiful tribute to his wife on Facebook, Royce wrote:
“The other night, before I left for New Orleans, I was watching my beautiful wife sleep peacefully on the couch.
“I looked at her laying there, her belly big with our daughter kicking away, a daughter that won’t live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is.
“I’m a writer, so when I’m feeling something, I tend to have to write it down. So I pulled out my phone and started writing what I was thinking.
“And I realised tonight sitting a thousand miles away in a hotel room, especially after meeting this awesome kid named Jarrius that’s been everywhere at All-Star Weekend who needs a liver transplant, that instead of just keeping this one for me, like I normally do, I should tell everyone else just how incredible Keri Young is. (I also miss her 5 seconds after I leave the house for a trip, so I’m thinking about her all the time anyway.)
“I thought back to the moment where we found out Eva wasn’t perfect, and how, 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?’
“I remember our doctor putting her hand on Keri’s shoulder and saying, ‘Oh honey, that’s so brave of you to say.’ Like, how nice of you, but come on. Keri meant it.
“There I was, crestfallen and heartbroken, but I momentarily got lifted out of the moment and just stood in awe of her. I was a spectator to my own life, 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.
“It’s one of the most powerful things I’ve ever experienced. In the 8 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.
“This whole process has been rough, but I say that as someone watching from the bleachers like the rest of you. Keri has been in the trenches the entire time, feeling every little kick, every hiccup and every roll. She’s reminded every moment of every day that she’s carrying a baby that will die.
“Her back hurts. Her feet are sore. She’s got all the super fun pregnant stuff going on. But the light at the end of her 9-month tunnel will turn into a darkness she’s never felt before a couple hours or days after Eva is born.
“She’s the one that is going to deal with all that comes with having a baby – her milk coming in, the recovery process, etc, but with no snuggly, soft, beautiful newborn to look at to remind you that it was all worth it.
“We made our choice to carry Eva to full-term for a lot of reasons, but the first and foremost was to donate her organs. We don’t say that to try and sound like great people or anything.
“It was just a practical endgame that in our minds, before we came to the realisation Eva is alive and our daughter deserves to meet her mama and daddy, gave us a purpose to continue on.
“Donating was on Keri’s mind from darn near the second we found out and while the experience of holding and kissing our daughter will be something we cherish forever, the gift(s) she’s got inside that little body of hers is what really matters.
“Keri saw that almost instantly… 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. Eva can be that miracle.
“We’re getting closer to the finish line, and while it’s going to be amazing to run through that tape and meet Eva, it comes at a cost. We’ll go to the hospital for a birth, and go home without a baby.
“A lot of people say things like, ‘I wouldn’t change anything’ after a trying circumstance, but I’m not about to say that. I would definitely change this if I could. I want my daughter to be perfect.
“I want her to blow out her candles on her 1st birthday. I want to watch her bang her head on our coffee table trying to learn to walk. I want her to run up a cell phone bill texting boys. I want to walk her down an aisle. I want to change it all so, so badly. But I can’t. This is our reality. And there’s no stopping it.
“Keri’s TOUGH. She’s BRAVE. She’s incredible. She’s remarkable.
“She’s cut from a different cloth, combining wit, beauty, courage, silliness, character and integrity into one spectacular woman. And somehow, she’s my wife. Not that I needed some awful situation like this to actually see all of that, but what it did was make me want to tell everyone else about it.”
As you can imagine, the post has had a HUGE response – being shared nearly 2,200 times and getting almost 1,000 comments.
“So brave and inspirational, I don’t know if I could do it,” reads one post. “But it’s not just Keri that’s brave (although she is) but you are too. You are going through this massive thing along with her. All of my heart goes out to you both xxx”
“Your story has me in pieces, what amazing people you are,” wrote another fan. “I am so sorry for your loss but you can take small comfort in knowing your beautiful daughter will be able to save lives and give other families hope and a chance. Best wishes you all xxx”
Keri has said on Instagram that she will eventually share more of baby Eva Grace’s story, but for now, the response to her beautiful photo has been huge – strangers have told her she has given an incredible gift, and that they have done an amazingly generous thing. We agree. RIP little Eva Grace. ?
Photo: Royce Young on Instagram