Social media has had its fair share of circulating heartbreaking stories of parents losing their infant children from disease and accidents, but Eva Young's story is one of incredible strength that many would remember.
Eva, born to Oklahoma couple Keri and Royce Young on April 17, was diagnosed with anencephaly in December 2016. Instead of terminating the pregnancy, however, the couple decided to carry their terminally ill baby to full term to donate her organs to give hope to other babies and their families.
Discovery And Decision
The Young couple's decision was not an easy one to make, especially since anencephaly — a condition where major parts of the brain do not develop during pregnancy — is a definite sign that a baby will only have hours or a few days at most to live.
"[We] have decided to continue the pregnancy to full term so Eva, which literally means life, can grow strong and give life to multiple people through organ donation.... 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," Keri wrote in December, along with an ultrasound photo of the baby.
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. We found out recently she has anencephaly and is terminal. Faced with terrible options we have decided to continue the pregnancy to full term so Eva, which literally means life, can grow strong and give life to multiple people through organ donation. This was not an easy decision. 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. As you might expect, we're devastated but have an amazing support system with our family, friends, church and doctors. We're choosing to try and see the positives in this situation and cherish our time with Eva, and be grateful for the impact she will have on the world in the short amount of time she'll spend in it.
A post shared by Keri Young (@keriyoung) on Dec 13, 2016 at 4:54pm PST
Though heartbroken, filled with dread and not really wanting to go through the pain of carrying a child they can't take home after birth, the couple thought that their baby could be the hope other families are desperately searching for and decided to go through with organ donation.
The entire process had been rough for the couple and they both shared their experience and thoughts in their social media accounts.
"This whole process has been rough... 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 to change it all so, so badly. But I can't. This is our reality. And there's no stopping it," Royce wrote. He also reflected on Keri's incredible strength throughout the process.
The couple finally welcomed their daughter, Eva Grace Young, on April 17 and also officially said their goodbyes to the infant. On an Instagram post, Royce uploaded a black and white photo of himself carrying and looking sadly at his daughter and bearing the caption "We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva Grace yesterday. Eva Grace Young -- 4-17-17."
We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva Grace yesterday. Eva Grace Young -- 4-17-17 A post shared by royceyoung (@royceyoung) on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:00am PDT
Keri also shared a photo of her family, but despite the sorrowful situation, she decided to focus on the happiness of meeting her daughter.
We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva yesterday. She was so perfect in her own little way. I'll be sharing more about her incredible story later. A post shared by Keri Young (@keriyoung) on Apr 18, 2017 at 7:00am PDT
"We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva yesterday. She was so perfect in her own little way," Keri wrote.
The Real Story
On April 27, Royce published the story of his family's trial during the pregnancy with Eva, and unlike how some people would assume that the couple had enough time to prepare themselves, he revealed that it was not the case.
The story. Link in profile. A post shared by Keri Young (@keriyoung) on Apr 27, 2017 at 3:06pm PDT
"Keri and I had seen enough ultrasounds to immediately know. There was no heartbeat. Eva was gone before we ever got to meet her. The brain controls steady heart functions, and Eva's finally gave out," Royce writes.
You can read the full story on Royce's Medium.