When an expectant Tennessee mother learned that the baby she was carrying had a rare condition and would likely die soon after birth, she decided to carry the baby to term and donate her organs.
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When 23-year-old Krysta Davis was 18 weeks pregnant, she and her boyfriend, 26-year-old Derek Lovett, learned that their daughter had anencephaly, a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. Doctors said Rylei Arcadia Diane Lovett may only live for about 30 minutes after birth.
Davis learned she had two options: induce labor immediately, or carry Rylei to term and donate her organs when she passed, People Magazine reported. The parents decided on the second option.
“We decided that even if we couldn’t bring our daughter home, no mother would have to go through what we were going to go through,” Davis told People Magazine.
Rylei was born on Christmas Eve after 40 weeks and two days gestation.
“She came out star-gazing. She was born face-up,” Davis said. “It was the most overwhelming feeling of love that I’ve ever felt in my life. Laying eyes on her, I never knew that I could love someone so much. It was insane.”
Then, Rylei shocked everyone by living for one week, surpassing doctors' expectations. Instead of going to the neonatal intensive care unit or the nursery, Rylei stayed with Davis in her hospital room, the Cleveland Daily Banner reported. Because no one expected the baby to live long after birth, there was no plan beyond preparing for the organ donation surgery.
Davis and Lovett tried to enjoy the short time they had with Rylei.
“We were able to fit an entire lifetime of love into that one week with her that wasn’t promised to begin with. She just smiled the whole time. She was such a good baby,” Davis said.
Lovett was holding the baby when she passed away on New Year’s Eve.
After Rylei died, her heart valves were given to two children and her lungs were given to a research hospital.
Women who have been given similar diagnoses about their pregnancies have reached out to Davis on social media, Davis said. She told the Daily Banner that she wants to help women in similar situations and advocate for organ donation.
“I’m just her advocate. I’m her words, but this is her story,” Davis said of her daughter. “All of my strength comes from that little girl.”