During her pregnancy, the 23-year old Krysta Davis received some terrible news during the 18th day.
The baby was diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal neurological defect that occurs when some parts of the brain and skull are missing. In most cases, babies diagnosed with it live between a few minutes and a few days.
Previously, in 2017, she has lost her first baby with her 26-year-old boyfriend, Derek Lovett, to a miscarriage. Therefore, 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 admitted being nervous about her pregnancy, and the couple was heartbroken when they received this news. They were given two options by the doctors, she could deliver the baby Riley at 18 weeks through induced labor, or they could let her be a saving grace to other 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 a purpose to the life of her daughter, and the pain of her parents could be eased if Rylei could save the lives of other children.
Therefore, Rylei was delivered on the 24th of December, 2018, weighing all of 6lbs and only 19 inches long. Forty-five minutes later, the baby was placed on a heart monitor 45 minutes, and it showed amazing strength for a baby born with such a diagnosis.
Her mother said that the doctors were amazed 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.”
Her mother 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.
Her mother remembers:
“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.”
A week after being born, the baby passed away on New Year’s Eve.
She breathed on her own for the first 9 hours, and it was considered a medical miracle that she survived that long. She nursed on breast milk and received sugar water and formula at other times.
During her life, she brought huge joy to her parents, who agreed to donate the two halves of her angelic heart to two other babies, and her lungs to a research institute for studies on anencephaly.
The tragedy of this family brought hope in other people’s homes. Even though her life was short, Rylei was a real gift for her parents and two other families.
The mother dedicated a post on Facebook:
“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.”