WACO, TX — A Central Texas family who lost their 11-month-old son is hoping his memory will live on forever.
Austin and Taylor Pope met their baby boy on August 22, 2018. They said he was everything they could have ever wanted, but they only got to be together for 11 short months.
"I just remember holding him in my hands and saying, 'Something is wrong. Austin, what's wrong with my baby? What's wrong with my baby?'" said Taylor Pope, Finn's mother.
In July, Finn was taken to the hospital after going limp in his mother's arms. It was a moment the Popes thought would get better, until it didn't.
"The doctor came out and told us that there was bleeding on Finn's brain, and I just remember hitting the floor," Taylor said.
Finn underwent several tests, which later confirmed the nearly 1-year-old baby had a ruptured brain aneurysm. After it ruptured again at the hospital, he was taken into emergency surgery.
"The one who had gone in to try to fix the aneurysm was unsuccessful because there was so much pressure, and there wasn't a lot of blood flow going up there," said Austin Pope, Finn's father.
"In every word, but the actual words, he told us our baby was gone in that moment because there was no blood flow or brain activity," Taylor added.
In the days that followed, the Popes had someone come to their hospital room to share their own story. A woman told them her mother was declared brain dead, but she felt like she needed to wait seven days before pulling her off life support. During that time, the mother recovered.
The Popes were inspired by her testimony and asked doctors to hold off on the MRI that would officially declare their son brain dead.
"It wasn't an hour later that it re-ruptured and his situation got worse. The swelling went up and that's when we knew that he was gone. Our little boy was gone," Austin said.
While Finn's brain was no longer active, the baby continued to fight until day seven, the day he would donate his organs.
"This all happened the way it happened because Finn was meant to save lives and I truly, truly believe that," Taylor said. "He fought in the hospital to continue living so that he could save lives."
Finn's life now lives on in a baby girl who has his heart, a baby boy who has his liver and a woman who has his kidneys.
In order to keep Finn's memory alive, his parents will be doing an act of kindness on his birthday every year starting on what would have been his first birthday, August 22.
The Popes are also hosting a softball tournament in his honor to help raise money for medical expenses and for Finn's Foundation, which will help families going through organ donation.
If you would like to register a team for the softball tournament, click here.