A mother who decided to carry her terminally ill baby to full term so that she could donate her organs has given birth, but was forced to say goodbye to her daughter later that day.
Keri and Royce’s devastating story went viral earlier this year when the dad-of-two wrote a touching post dedicated to his wife after she decided to carry their baby girl to full term.
The couple hoped to donate their daughters organs to ‘another family out there hurting and hoping for a miracle’ after learning that she would be born without a fully formed heart.
The parents decided to name their baby Eva, which means giver of life, and on Monday 17th April their little girl was born.
Doctors told the family they would have between five minutes and 36 hours with their newborn. It is not known how long Eva Grace lived for but she is thought to have died on the same day she was born.
Mum Keri has posted a sad but sweet Instagram post to mark Eva’s birth, sharing a beautiful picture of the whole family including two-year-old Harrison.
She captioned it, ‘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.’
Dad Royce also took to social media to share a touching photo of himself holding his daughter, which he captioned, ‘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
Both parents posts have been flooded with messages of sympathy and support.
One social media user said, ‘You’re truly an amazing lady! Such unbelievable strength. I don’t know how you do it. Gorgeous Eva is lucky to have you as her family. Always in my thoughts.’
Whilst another added, ‘You held a angel for a brief moment, but saved lives for many more years to come,to think Evas heart could be beating on for the next 70 years brings a tear to my eye. . The few precious moments you had together will last forever more. You’re both an inspiration’
Royce’s original post which went viral, described the heartbreaking experience of finding out with wife Keri that their baby wouldn’t survive.
’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”.
‘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.’
Royce described how hard it’s been for Keri feeling their baby grow inside her, knowing that ‘she’s carrying a baby that will die’.
‘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.
‘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.’
Royce went on to explain their decision as parents to carry baby Eva to full term, saying there was ‘a lot of reasons but the first and foremost was to donate her organs.’
‘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.’
As Keri had not yet given birth, the couple could just imagine what it would be like to meet their daughter.
‘The experience of holding and kissing our daughter will be something we cherish forever’.
‘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.’
Despite their bravery, Royce admitted how hard he imagined it will be not witnessing life milestones of his youngest.
‘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.’