While being pregnant, a 23-year old Krysta Davis received some heartbreaking news.
Her baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a deadly neurological disease that happens when some parts of the brain and skull are not developed completely. In most instances, infants diagnosed with such anomaly die soon after their birth.
Sadly, in 2017, this beautiful couple have lost her first baby to a miscarriage. As you can imagine, this diagnosis was devastating for both of them.
“They called me about my quad screen. They said it came back abnormal, they suspected a neural tube defect like spina bifida. I went to see a high-risk doctor and noticed that the nurse was acting strangely while checking me. She spent a lot of time looking at Rylei’s head. That’s when they told me it wasn’t spina bifida – it was anencephaly.”
She revealed she was very nervous during the pregnancy, and the couple was devastated when they received the news. The doctors gave them two options, she could deliver the baby Riley through induced labor at 18 weeks, or they could allow her to be a saving grace to other sick babies.
“We followed up with another doctor, and we were told that if I carried to term, I could donate Rylei’s organs, and possibly arrange to meet with the kids who get them. At that moment, Derek and I looked at each other and knew what we were going to do.
I may have not been able to take my baby home, but I could maybe use her life to give other mothers the chance to.”
This gave Rylei a purpose to life, and the pain of her parents could help if their daughter could save the lives of other children.
Rylei was born on the 24th of December, 2018, weighing only 6lbs and 19 inches long. Right after, the baby was placed on a heart monitor and she demonstrated fantastic strength for a baby born with anencephaly.
Her mom said that the doctors were astonished by the baby:
“They are just as shocked as we are. Right after birth, she was having trouble breathing so I thought we wouldn’t have much longer, but then things straightened out.
After 45 minutes, they put a heart monitor on her, and after hours, they were all still in shock. So I asked about feeding. She had some sugar water, and she’s been drinking breast milk and formula.”
Rylei mom was as fascinated as doctors:
“She has a great temperament. She doesn’t cry, she makes little stink faces … nobody expected her to make it this long. We are still in shock … I am still wary, but it never ceases to amaze me. She’s just been so great.”
She was quick-tempered, even though she couldn’t cry out, as her brain stem was exposed. Her parents used every single minute of her life to show their love.
Krysta Davis said:
“After they cut her umbilical cord, I laid her on my chest, skin to skin, I was rubbing her and crying because I was so in love. She was so perfect and beautiful to me. Her brain stem was exposed. But I didn’t even care or notice, I was just so in love.”
Baby Rylei passed away a week after being born on New Year’s Eve.
She was considered a medical miracle that she survived that long and breathed on her own for the first 9 hours. She was fed breast milk and received sugar water and formula.
During her life, she brought tremendous joy to her parents, who consented to donate her beautiful little heart to two other babies, and her tiny lungs to a research institute for research on anencephaly.
The heartbreak of this family gave hope in other people’s heart. Even though her life was short-lived, Rylei was a true gift for her parents and two other families.
“For nine months, I carried this beautiful soul while her father, our friends, family and myself filled her with love as she grew. I never would have imagined after she was diagnosed with anencephaly that she would bless us with a week of her presence. A week of smiles and sounds of protest and snuggles. I wouldn’t trade this week for anything in the whole wide world.”
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