When Kyla and Erik Beckstrand learned they were having a baby boy at their 16-week ultrasound, the good news was shadowed by bad news. Doctors told them that their son had anencephaly, a condition in which the brain and skull don’t properly form. Children with this condition who survive typically only live for a few hours after birth.
Doctors immediately recommended that the couple end the pregnancy.
“I never would have considered terminating before,” Kyla Beckstrand said in a video for Fight for the Few. “I never would have considered an abortion but at that point it was really hard for a few days just thinking about, ‘how can I possibly go through these months ahead knowing there’s nothing that I can do for my baby?’ I just kinda had this thought going through my head of, ‘they’re telling me I have a baby that doesn’t have a brain. What does that mean? If this child doesn’t have a brain is this really a child? Is there really a spirit here? An empty shell?’ Erik was the one who was really strong with that and assured me, ‘no this is our child. He’s a real living person, just the same as anybody else.'”
After receiving a gift of a figurine of a mother holding her baby, Kyla Beckstrand said she broke down. She knew she wanted and needed the chance to hold her son. She knew at that moment that she would let him live for as long as he would live.
“Whatever time we get to have with him is worth it,” she explained. “I wouldn’t, I can’t imagine making the decision to end that time.”
Kyla Beckstrand said she learned a lot about her son before he was even born. He loved when they sang to him and they felt that he was happy to be alive. She wanted to meet him and keep him for as long as possible.
“Just the thought of not ever getting to see him alive, get to, ya know, hear him cry or anything like that,” she said. “Hard to imagine what I’m gonna do without him. I’ve had him with me for nine months. I don’t want to let him go.”
On September 30, 2016, Devont Beckstrand was born. He lived for two hours and 46 minutes after birth, during which time his parents and family held him, sang to him, and loved him.
“First time holding my only child was wonderful,” said Erik Beckstrand.
It was difficult to say goodbye to their son after such a short time with him, but the couple felt it was worth it. They hope other parents will give life a chance too.
“It can be really hard to think about why do these types of things happen,” explained Kyla Beckstrand. “Why do miracles not happen when you are praying for them to happen, that type of thing? But I would just say that there are miracles. There are miracles every day. So I would just hope that anybody else in any similar type of situation would just not lose hope and not lose faith, and remember the beauty of a life no matter how short it is.”
Before Devont’s birth, his parents decided to do something kind in honor of him. They organized a baby shower and received more than $3,000 worth of items which they donated to The Road Home in Salt Lake City which provides services to homeless families. The couple plans to do a charitable act at least once a year in their son’s honor.