Royce and Kerri Young were ecstatic about adding another member to their family until devastating news made their worlds come crashing down.
During a routine ultrasound, a doctor told the Oklahoma residents something that no parent ever wants to hear -- their second child, Eva, had anencephaly, a rare birth defect that causes babies to be born without parts of the brain and skull. The condition is as serious as it as rare. Most infants with the disorder don't survive longer than a few hours or days after birth.
Royce and Kerri were presented with the option of terminating the pregnancy, but they both made an incredibly selfless decision to give birth to Eva so they could donate her organs. Royce was so touched by his wife's bravery that he recently wrote about how much he loves and admires the way she's handling their heartbreaking reality. Make sure you have a few tissues at hand as you read his heartfelt message below.
"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 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?'"
"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, '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."
"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. 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 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."
"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."
(via Little Things)