Parents who chose to carry their terminally ill baby to term so that they could donate her organs have shared their heartbreak as they revealed she died shortly before her birth.
Royce and Keri Young chose to deliver their daughter Eva, who had a rare birth defect called anencephaly, with the intention of giving her organs to ‘another family out there hurting and hoping for a miracle’.
The couple, who also have a son, two-year-old Harrison, shared news of their plans online, and quickly went viral, with thousands of people around the world commending them for their bravery and determination.
But now Royce has shared a new, tragic side to Eva’s story, in a Medium post where he explains that she passed away before she was born.
We said hello and goodbye to our sweet Eva Grace yesterday. Eva Grace Young — 4-17-17
‘We spent months bracing and preparing for the death of our daughter. But guess what? We weren’t ready,’ Royce told readers.
He explained that his wife had planned to have a C-section delivery, in order to ‘maximize our chances of seeing Eva alive, and be able to control as many variables as possible’, but at 37 weeks into her pregnancy, Keri stopped feeling Eva move.
‘They told us to get ready to rush in for a C-Section. I freaked out. I just remember repeating, “I’m not ready I’m not ready I’m not ready I’m not ready.” I was supposed to have two more weeks,’ Royce recalled. ‘What about the plan? What about Harrison? What about Eva’s aunts and uncles and grandparents? What if they couldn’t make it in time?’
‘They brought in a better ultrasound machine. Keri and I had seen enough ultrasounds to immediately know. There was no heartbeat. Eva was gone before we ever got to meet her.’
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. And of course, this is NOT a sad post. Don’t…
At first, it was believed that they wouldn’t be able to donate any of Eva’s organs, a time which Royce described at the ‘darkest, most painful hours of our lives’ – particularly as they were also dealing with the realisation that they’d never get to see their baby alive.
‘I wanted to watch her die, because that would mean that I got to watch her live,’ he said. ‘All of that practical stuff about organ donation was irrelevant to me now. I just wanted to hold my baby girl and see her chest move up and down. I just wanted to be her daddy, if only for a few seconds.’
However, minutes after Eva’s arrival, they received a call stating that they had a recipient for her eyes.
‘She’s the first ever — not baby, but person — in the state of Oklahoma to donate a whole eye, and she donated two,’ he concluded proudly.
‘I had latched on to kidney or liver donation, grasping to the thought Eva would directly save a life. She’s not saving one like I dreamed of, but she will be changing one.’
‘We always knew organ transplant was only just a chance anyway, and a slim one at that. But we wanted to take it. Someone’s life is worth the chance.’