Real Life

Pregnant mum is carrying her terminally ill baby to full term to donate organs to babies in need

Brave Keri Young was told at 19 weeks that her baby would die

Keri and Royce Young were like any normal parents-to-be.

When the couple from Oklahoma, USA, found out they were expecting a second baby, they couldn't wait for her to be born, and their two-year-old son Harrison was excited about having a baby sister to play with.

But at the 19-week scan when they should have been excited to hear about whether the baby was a girl or a boy, tragedy struck the family.

The Young family (Credit: Facebook/ Royce Young)

Devastatingly, they discovered that their baby, who they have now named Eva, had anencephaly – meaning she will be born without a fully-developed brain.

Keri described the moment that the nurse told them the news to ABC News: "She just opened the door and said, 'I'm really sorry to have to tell you this, but your baby doesn't have a brain'."

Royce also wrote about the moment in a heartbreaking Facebook post. He wrote: "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. 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 hit me that not only am I married to my very best friend, but to a truly remarkable, special human being."

Keri and Royce have been together for 15 years (Credit: Instagram/ Keri Young)

According to professionals, Keri and Royce will have around 36 hours with Eva before she succumbs to her condition and passes away. It's at this point that her organs will be donated.

Royce, who is a writer for ESPN, continued: "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. She's got all the super fun pregnant stuff going on. But the light at the end of her nine-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, 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. It was just a practical end game 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."

Eva's heartbeat soundwave (Credit: Facebook/ Keri Young & Royce Young)

"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.

"While it's going to be amazing to meet Eva, it comes at a cost. We'll go to the hospital for a birth, and go home without a baby.

"I want my daughter to be perfect. I want her to blow out her candles on her first 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.

"Whenever Harrison gets hurt, or has to pull a bandaid off or something, Keri will ask him, 'Are you tough? Are you BRAVE?' And that little boy will nod his head and say, 'I tough! I brave!' I'm looking at Keri right now and I don't even have to ask. She's TOUGH. She's BRAVE. She's incredible. She's remarkable. And somehow, she's my wife."

A 4D scan of baby Eva (Credit: Facebook/ Keri Young & Royce Young)

Announcing the news to their friends and family on Facebook, Keri posted a photo of the soundwave of their daughter's heartbeat and wrote: "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."

She went on to say that her husband was struggling to deal with the diagnosis: "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."

Keri with two-year-old Harrison (Credit: Instagram/ Keri Young)

This was emphasised in their interview with ABC, when Royce said: "Once we kiss her and say goodbye, she's gone - it's final. In my mind, the moment I found out she was terminal, she was already dead. It was hard for me to come to the understanding - you know, she doesn't have a brain, so is she even a person?"

Keri continued on her Facebook post: "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."

We can't begin to imagine what Royce, Keri and Harrison are going through, but we wish them the best ❤️

Have you or a loved one ever been through a traumatic pregnancy? Let us know over on Facebook and Twitter.

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