The little girl in this story may have only lived for one week in this world but she will have a lasting impact on many others.
It started when Krysta Davis, a 23-year-old mother-to-be received some bad news. She was 18 weeks pregnant and her unborn child had been diagnosed with anencephaly. This is a neurological defect that causes some of the skull and brain to be missing.
When a child is born with this condition, at most, they generally live for a few days. Baby Rylei managed to live for an entire week but even though her life was short, she gave much.
Krysta talked about the events that were associated with Riley’s life. When she was 26 years old, she lost her first baby to a miscarriage. This took place in 2017.
When she learned that her second child was not going to be alive very long after the birth, she was devastated. Losing one child is something nobody should ever experience and losing two hurts more than most people will ever know.
“They called me about my quad screen,” Krysta says. “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.”
Krysta was already concerned about her latest pregnancy. The last thing she wanted was to lose another child. She and her boyfriend, Derek were beside themselves with grief when they heard about their baby girl’s condition.
At that point, they were provided with two options from their physician. They could either deliver the child at 18 weeks using induced labor or they could allow the baby to go full term to help other babies.
“We followed up with another doctor,” Krysta explains, “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.”
Although Krysta was devastated over the news, she wanted her baby girl to have a purpose for being born. Both she and Derek felt that having Rylei save other babies would help to ease the pain they would experience.
The birth happened on December 24, 2018. The little girl was 6 pounds and 19 inches long. 45 minutes after she was brought into the world, she was placed on a heart monitor. Even though she had a serious and life-threatening condition, she showed a lot of strength.
She wasn’t able to cry out but she did have a temper. Her brain stem was exposed and it affected her strength.
Krysta and Derek spent every moment they possibly could with her. She was perfect, despite her disability and would even make some angry faces on occasion. They fell in love with their little daughter.
“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,”Krysta says. “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.”
It was on New Year’s Eve, one week after the birth that Rylei passed away. The fact that she had survived that long was a medical miracle. For the first nine hours, she had been able to breathe on her own.
Sometimes she would feed on breast milk and it other times, she was given sugar water and formula. Her parents loved the joy that she brought to them and knowing that she would save other children as well.
Rylei’s heart was donated in halves to two other babies. An Institute that researches anencephaly would receive her lungs.
Even though this little girl only lived for a week, she brought a lot of joy into the lives of her parents and life to other children.