An Oklahoman mother is being lauded for her bravery and selflessness after deciding to carry her baby to term, despite a terminal defect, so that she may donate the little one's organs.
Keri and Royce Young were thrilled to learn they were expecting a second child, but that elation soon turned to heartbreak when the couple discovered that the little girl Keri was carrying would not survive.
Although they learned this news at just 20 weeks, leaving another 20 until the due date, Keri Young made the decision to carry their daughter to term, in the hopes of saving other people's lives, the Daily Mail reports.
The couple learned about their daughter's problems at the 20-week ultrasound, and soon after Keri Young shared the news on Facebook, along with her latest ultrasound picture.
"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," she wrote."We found out recently she has anencephaly and is terminal."
Anencephaly is a birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. It is rare, and only occurs in about three in every 10,000 pregnancies.
Despite being told that the little girl, whom they have named Eva, would not survive, Keri is choosing to carry Eva to full term, so that her organs might be donated to save others.
"This was not an easy decision," she said. "For the next 20 weeks I will feel her kick, [I'll] 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."
The couple quickly saw an outpouring of support.
She explained that she is pro-life at any stage of pregnancy and for any reason, and remains so in the face of her current ordeal, although she admitted that she and her husband considered inducing early when they received the news.
"Those first 24 hours were the hardest of our lives. I couldn't eat and when I finally did I didn't keep it down. We were exhausted but couldn't sleep and when we thought we had no tears left we cried and cried again," she wrote.
At a follow-up meeting with Keri's doctor, the couple learned they could donate their unborn daughter's heart valves, kidneys, liver, and maybe pancreas if she was carried to term. Her lungs could be donated to research.
"At this point I knew what we had to do, I just didn't want to do it," she went on. "The reality of feeling her kick for 20 weeks was very much settling in. Strangers excitedly asking me about my stomach and friends not knowing how to treat us was devastating to think about.
"I told some of my friends I thought it sounded like my own personal hell and why in the world would I want to bring that upon myself?"
But the couple realised that their daughter could save a lot of lives, and they decided to go for it.
Last week Royce Young took to Facebook to praise his wife for her bravery and selflessness.
"The other night," he wrote, "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 who won't live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is."
He talked about how Keri's determination to donate Eva's organs lifted him up, and it was like ''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," he wrote. "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 c**p, 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."
He said how much he admired her for dealing with everything emotionally and physically.
"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," he said.
"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."