NIXA, Mo. "This is Kaylyn Mae," says Nicole Hyde, referring to a picture of a baby boy sitting on the table in his home in Nixa. "She was born on May 21, 2018. And she had hypoplastic left heart syndrome, where only half the heart develops."
Nicole and her husband Nick knew from the moment they saw the first ultrasound of their daughter that the left side of their baby's heart had not formed properly and the doctors informed them that the child would live only a few minutes when he was born. Yet the couple decided to go on with the birth because they wanted to meet Kaylyn Mae and enjoy his life, no matter how short it was.
"She was born at 8 and died at 10, so she lived for two hours," said Nichole. "When she died she was on my chest and it was really hard, but we were able to have our family present so that everyone close to us would be able to hold her and kiss her and tell her that they loved her."
Yet it is such an excruciating moment that it is difficult to understand the emotional balance.
"We were really grateful to have had a little time because it was the same feeling you get when you have a baby," Nichole recalled. You see them and touch them for the first time and it's still just as surprising. It was such a sad moment but it was so full of love. "
Even in that short period, the couple's bond with their newborn baby made them want to keep his memory alive.
"We wanted her to have an inheritance," explained Nichole. "Essentially we wanted to make a difference."
So they decided to donate Kaylyn Mae's organs in search of congenital heart disease to try and help others.
"If you can help any other little kid (it's worth it)," Nick said. "It's the number one reason why children under two years (years) pass".
The family has been updated on research efforts, and even though Kaylyn Mae's time on this earth was short, her legacy has literally reached heaven.
"The placenta and the umbilical cord that has been donated are actually going up to the International Space Station to be studied with growing tissues," said Nichole. "And then one of the research structures that her organs wanted to name a star after her and it seems so all-round: the cells will go up (at the space station) and she has her little star".
While Kaylyn Mae will never move into a playground or go to school, that child with a bad heart could be a real panacea so other children can enjoy a normal life. It is therefore appropriate that his remains be kept in a heart-shaped urn and that a Build-a-Bear keeps a record of Kaylyn Mae's heartbeat that reminds us of all the sacrifice that she and her family have done in the name of love.
"Sometimes all you get is two hours," said Nichole. "And you can give a love life at that time if that's all you get."