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Stephanie Grassullo
Associate Editor

Couple Carries Baby With Fatal Brain Disorder Full Term to Donate Organs to Newborns in Need

“A week of smiles and sounds of protest and snuggles. I wouldn't trade this week for anything in the whole wide world.”
PUBLISHED ON 01/14/2019

Rylei Arcadia’s time on earth may have been fleeting, but it was nothing short of inspiring.

When Krysta Davis, Rylei’s mom, was 18 weeks pregnant, she and her partner were given news no parent ever wants to recieve. They were told their unborn child had anencephaly, a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull, Daily Advertiser reports. Life expectancy for the condition ranges anywhere from moments to just a few days.

The couple was given the option to induce labor and deliver their daughter, or continue with the pregnancy and hope for the best. After following up with another doctor, Davis learned if she did carry her daughter to term, she could donate Rylei's organs to babies in need. And so, the couple knew what they 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,” the mom tells Daily Advertiser.

The beautiful baby girl was born on Christmas Eve and immediately defied the odds stacked against her. The new parents soaked up every minute of their time with the precious little girl.

Sadly, on New Year’s Day and after one short but beautiful week, the couple said goodbye to their baby.

“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," the mom shares on Facebook. "A week of smiles and sounds of protest and snuggles. I wouldn't trade this week for anything in the whole wide world.”

Though she only lived to be one week old, the baby girl has made a lasting impact on the lives of many. Her heart valves will be used to save two other babies, and her lungs will be used for research on anencephaly, the mom explains.

To learn more about Rylei's incredible life, visit the Facebook page her parents created to share her story and honor her memory.

The grief you experience after losing a child is unexplainable. But the only way to learn to live is to confront your feelings head-on and allow yourself time to grieve. Nancy Sawyer, a former high-risk obstetrics nurse, had a lot of experience in this area. Wanting to help patients with this heartbreak, she created the Garden of Sleeping Angels, a garden filled with ceramic angels in memory of babies lost.

PHOTO: iStock