Couple Carried Baby with Fatal Brain Disorder Full Term to Donate Organs to Newborns in Need

A Secret Life of Mom Highlight Story: Sometimes there are tales that are just too good, too beautiful, or too unbelievable to keep locked away. That’s why we scour the archives and bring some of them back to enjoy again. They may make you smile or shed a tear, but they’re always meant to highlight some positivity in the world, even when it’s hard to find.


The little angel spent only a week in this world, but her impact on this world will stand the test of time.

When 23-year-old Krysta Davis was pregnant with baby Rylei, she received some terrible news during her 18th week. Her baby had been diagnosed with anencephaly, a fatal neurological defect where some parts of the brain and skull are missing.

Babies born with this defect generally live between a few minutes and a few days. Rylei stunned both the doctors and her parents and held on for a whole week. She was able to give so much love in her short life.


Rylei’s diagnosis

In a chat with Daily Advertiser, Krysta talks about the events that surrounded Riley’s life. She’d formerly lost her first baby with her 26-year-old boyfriend, Derek Lovett, to a miscarriage in 2017.

It was utterly devastating finding out that her second child wouldn’t stay long either. Nothing hurts more than the loss of a child, let alone two.


“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 said she’d been really nervous about her pregnancy. She couldn’t bear to lose another baby. She and Derek were heartbroken when they got news of their baby girl’s condition.

The doctors gave them two options. They could have Riley delivered at 18 weeks through induced labor, or they could let her be a saving grace to 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.”

Krysta wanted to know that Riley’s little life wasn’t going to waste. She wanted her to have a purpose for coming to this world. She and Derek believed that knowing Rylei saved other kids would ease their pain a little.


She was so perfect and beautiful to me.” – Krysta

On the 24th of December, 2018, weighing all of 6lbs and only 19 inches long, Rylei came into this world. She was placed on a heart monitor 45 minutes later. Rylei showed amazing strength for a baby born with such a serious condition.

Her brain stem was exposed, and she couldn’t muster enough energy to cry out, but she was one quick-tempered baby.

Krysta says she and Derek spent every waking moment and minute with her. She was such a little buzz, making angry faces from time to time. They fell helplessly in love with her.


“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.”

Forever in their hearts

Rylei passed away on New Year’s Eve, one week after she was born. It was considered a medical miracle that she survived that long. She breathed on her own for the first nine hours.

She nursed on breast milk and was given sugar water and formula at other times. Her parents basked in the joy she brought to them, and in knowing she’d be a saving grace to other kids.

They agreed to donate the two halves of Rylei’s angelic heart to two other babies. Her lungs would be donated to a research institute for studies on anencephaly.

Rylei’s life might have been short, but she brought so much love to her parents, and life to other children.

Keep Reading: Touching Photo Of Bus Driver Holding Boy’s Hand On First Day Of School Goes Viral



  1. Anencephaly.” St Louis Childrens
  2. “UPDATE: Baby with fatal birth defect stuns doctors, defies odds.” The Advertiser. Shari Puterman. January 1, 2019.
Jade Small
Freelance Writer
Jade is a freelance writer and content creator from South Africa with over 7 years experience writing and creating. She's also a proud single mom to a super 13 year old boy.