What It's Like to Wait for a Baby Who Won't Live

Royce Young shares the story of his daughter, Eva Grace
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 28, 2017 12:17 PM CDT

(Newser) – You may have read about Eva Grace Young, whose parents found out at a routine 19-week ultrasound that she had anencephaly and would not live long, if at all, after birth. They made the courageous choice to carry the pregnancy to term and donate Eva's organs, a decision that made headlines. But in a tragic twist, on April 16, two weeks before a C-section to deliver Eva was planned, Keri and Royce Young found out the baby's heart had stopped beating while still in utero. "Keri rolled onto her side and put both hands over her face and let out one of those raw, visceral sobbing bursts. ... We had tried to do everything right, tried to think of others, tried to take every possible step to make this work, and it didn’t," writes Royce in a raw essay for Medium. "No organ donation. Not even for the failsafe, research."

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Instead of a C-section, labor was induced. And in another twist—this one miraculous—just as Keri delivered Eva, the Youngs learned that her eyes would be able to be donated after all. She would be the first person in Oklahoma to ever donate a whole eye. "It’s a weird thing to say that in probably the worst experience of my life was also maybe the best moment of my life, but I think it was the best moment of my life," Royce writes. When he met Eva, he forced himself not to peek at the one eye that was slightly open, so that he can continue to dream of one day meeting the recipient whose life will be changed and, on that day, finally finding out what color his daughter's eyes are. His full, heartbreaking essay, which covers the plans and emotions during the months leading up to Eva's delivery, is a must-read. (Read more organ donation stories.)

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