Update: The Young family has since said hello and goodbye to sweet baby Eva, who was born and passed on April 17. In a post to Facebook, Royce shared a striking and emotional photo of him and his baby girl, while Keri shared a lighter, smiley family photo on Instagram and Facebook, which included the couple’s son, Harrison. “She was so perfect in her own little way,” Keri wrote. “I’ll be sharing more about her incredible story later. And of course, this is NOT a sad post. Don’t hit that button.”
Original Story: “The other night, before I left for New Orleans, I was watching my beautiful wife sleep peacefully on the couch,” writes Royce Young in a heartbreaking post to Facebook. “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.”
Young’s loving ode to his strong and incredible wife, Keri, is making its rounds on the internet, simultaneously breaking hearts and helping the world to see what true selflessness looks like. After getting the unthinkable news that their developing daughter, Eva, does not have a brain and won’t live long after birth, Keri asked through sobs whether she’d be able to donate Eva’s organs if she carried her to term.
“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,” Young writes. “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.”
Young’s post continues as he outlines the entire devastating situation while marveling at Keri’s strength.
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 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 — 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 realization 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. . . .
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 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.
Young finishes his soul-crushing post with final thoughts on Keri’s character. “She’s TOUGH. She’s BRAVE. She’s incredible. She’s remarkable,” he writes. “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.”