A mother in the US has made the heartbreaking decision to carry her terminally ill baby so that she can donate her daughter's organs. Keri and Royce Young, from Oklahoma, found out that their baby has anencephaly and is terminal. The birth defect means that their baby Eva, which means 'life' in Hebrew, will be born without a fully developed brain. Keri has decided to continue the pregnancy to full term so that her baby can "grow strong and give life to multiple people through organ donation".
Posting a photo of her baby scan on Facebook, Keri 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." The brave mother went on to say that for the next 20 weeks, until her May due date, she 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 has received an outpouring of support from people all over the world, and has been keeping her Facebook followers updated with her pregnancy. Earlier this month, she had a 4D scan of baby Eva. "It was so, so amazing," wrote Keri. "She has chubby cheeks and long fingers and toes. I've been feeling more pregnant than 27 weeks and sure enough, we're officially over the normal range in fluid. Basically all this means is I'm about to get real big."
She also described the tear-jerking moment a shop assistant asked about the sex of her baby. Keri, who has a son Harrison with her husband, wrote: "Yesterday I had to purchase some new maternity clothes so I knew it was coming. I tried to talk about Harrison's pregnancy as much as I could but she finally asked, "Do you know what you're having?" "Yes, a little girl." "Oh how exciting, now you'll have one of each!" By the grace of God I kept it together and didn't cry. Did I have a small panic attack when I got to my car? Absolutely. But overall, it wasn't the worst experience and I'm proud of myself for not breaking down in the store. This morning however, I can't say the same."
Her husband Royce has been praising his wife for her bravery. Royce reminisced on the moment doctors told the couple that their baby was terminal. 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.
"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 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, "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."