By Katie Yoder
The media (yes, even the liberal media) picked up the story after Royce Young, an ESPN basketball writer in Oklahoma, applauded his 7-months pregnant wife Keri for carrying their unborn daughter to term – and, in doing so, making their baby a “miracle” for others.
As he left her and their 2-year-old son for New Orleans on a work trip, he recalled, in a Friday Facebook post, “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 that won’t live more than a few days, and it just overwhelmed me of how incredible this woman is,” he began.
Incredible, he explained, because of her reaction when they found out their little unborn baby wasn’t going to live for much longer.
“I thought back to the moment where we found out Eva wasn’t perfect, and how literally 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?’” he continued. “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.”
While they were both heartbroken, he pictured his wife as the real hero:
This whole process has been rough, but I say that as someone watching from the bleachers like the rest of you. 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… But 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.
But Eva’s impending death – and her organs – would mean life for others.
“It was just a practical endgame that in our minds, before 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,” he added. “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.”
It’s worth reading his whole post, boasting more than 16,000 likes:
While the couple’s story went viral with Royce’s post, Keri had been sharing Eva’s story long before. Back in December, she posted her “raw and honest thoughts” on “our decision with Eva.”
Before she even knew about Eva’s complication, Keri had decided against the possibility of abortion. She came to that conclusion after the last 2016 presidential debate where late-term abortion “came up”:
I’m pro-life. That has not changed and I guess after this it really isn’t changing. But a few days after the debate I read a very thoughtful article on what it’s really like to have a late-term abortion. It tested me and it made me realize some people choose abortion for more reasons than an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. I immediately messaged a few of my closest friends because I wanted their thoughts. We all agreed, we’re pro-life at any stage of life. My exact words were, ‘If I were put in this position, I’d want that baby alive and healthy for as long as possible. So if that means carrying the baby to 40 weeks, I’d take it.’
However, that didn’t mean keeping Eva was easy.
“I was searching for any reason to make it ‘okay’ to induce early,” she said after finding out about Eva. “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 told the story of how she and her husband solidified their decision while meeting with their pastor:
During that meeting I got a phone call and stepped outside to answer it. It was my previous doctor, who delivered Harrison [their 2-year-old son] and has since moved, calling to check in on me. She told me that Liz, my new doctor at Lakeside, had said we were going to see if we could donate her organs and it would be the most selfless thing I’d ever do. That was it. I walked back into the room right as Royce was saying he wished he didn’t believe in God. Ha.
A few minutes later our pastor simply asked, “Royce, how old are you?”
“In your 31 years of life, how many lives have you saved?”
“In your daughter’s 24 hours of life she might save 50 lives. She’s going to be a very busy girl, you know.” Our daughter! We have a daughter! She’s alive!
But at one point I just said it.
“I don’t wanna.”
That’s how I felt. I don’t want to do this. I wanted to throw myself on the ground and kick my legs like a two-year-old and just not do it. It took a good long while of talking but finally Royce looked at me like he needed my answer.
“What are we going to do?” he said. “Just tell me.”
“You know what we’re going to do,” I said. “We just have to do it.”
“Yes, we were and still are influenced by our beliefs but this goes beyond that,” she added. “This is life. Everyone has it. Everyone deserves it.”
In December, Keri posted a sonogram of Eva, a name “which literally means life.”
Since then, Keri has also shared a video of her listening to Eva’s heartbeat. “It brought me so much joy to hear it and that was such a happy surprise,” she wrote in the caption.
Last month, she shared the lows and highs of a more recent ultrasound. While “the ultrasound when we saw her head was hard,” she added, “Eva can swallow!” and relayed, “We think we saw her sucking her thumb and it was really great.”
On Jan. 22, the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the United States, Keri spoke out against abortion rhetoric:
“It’s my body.” These words hurt me to the core. Today I watched my husband, my very best friend, cry as he told a brief story about Eva. I watched as he stumbled over his words and try to talk about our terminal daughter. A daughter we’ll only get to hold for a few days at most. I know our decision to carry Eva to term was hard. Believe me, I remember that agony. Sure, it’s my body. But it’s his child in my body. Half him, half me. Today is Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Today we dedicated Eva.
Just two weeks ago, at 27-weeks pregnant, Keri shared a 4D image of Eva. “We got to see our girl in 4D this afternoon,” she said. “It was so, so amazing. She has chubby cheeks and long fingers and toes.”
To the Huffington Post, Royce said he hoped Eva’s story would also show that the term “choice” “does not exclusively refer to termination but can mean choosing to bring their baby into the world and letting her life save others.”
“We love seeing the impact our little girl is having,” he added. “We won’t get to brag about her grades or how pretty her hair is. This is what we get to tell people about, and we want to take advantage of it.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Newsbusters and is reposted with permission.
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