Nothing can prepare you for the loss of a child.
Often it is a sudden occurrence, taking you completely off guard and shocking you to your very core.
But for Keri and Royce Young that was something they had months to come to terms with.
"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," Royce said in a Facebook post.
In December, the Young family went for their 19-week anatomy scan of their second child. Excited to find out the gender, the appointment turned into a moment of heartbreak. Their daughter was diagnosed with a rare birth defect which causes the frontal lobe of the fetus not to develop.
Chance of survival was literally zero percent according to Royce Young. "So we sat in a doctor’s office, five months before our daughter was set to be born, knowing she would die"
The family then made the amazing decision to carry their baby to term, with the intention of donating her organs and potentially saving the life of others.
They named their growing daughter Eva, which means "giver of life".
"The mission was simple: Get Eva to full-term, welcome her into this world to die, and let her give the gift of life to some other hurting family," Royce wrote.
Keri was able to experience kicks and punches to her bladder like any other pregnancy and the couple grew to love the joy that brought them.
They decided to have a planned C-Section on May 2, even though their son Harrison was born vaginally. This would maximize the chances of seeing Eva alive and controlling as many variables as possible.
"That way there wouldn’t be any surprise labor in the middle of the night, and we could have Harrison there to meet his sister, and grandparents ready to hold their granddaughter even if she was only alive for an hour or so," Royce wrote.
The couple had meeting after meeting with the people from LifeShare, NICU nurses and doctors creating various plans for multiple situations.
"It was made clear to us over and over and over again how if Eva’s kidneys or liver didn’t go directly for transplant, they would go to research, and infant organ research is incredibly valuable," Royce wrote. "But I wanted a tangible outcome. I wanted to be able to meet and hug and shake the hand of the person my daughter saved."
Eva needed to be 5 pounds in order to be eligible for organ donation for transplant so Keri drank tons of water trying to increase their chances.
Read about her birth on the next page.