Cleveland parents Krysta Davis and Dereck Lovett welcomed baby girl Rylei Arcadia on Christmas Eve. The time they spent with their daughter was all too brief, yet tremendously inspiring.

By Maressa Brown
Clarissa Tilley, C. Tilley Photography

January 15, 2019

When Krysta Davis was 18 weeks pregnant, she and her partner Dereck Lovett were told that their unborn child had anencephaly, a serious birth defect in which a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull. Babies born with the condition are expected to live anywhere from several moments to just a few days. It was then that they were told they could induce labor and deliver their baby or go ahead with the pregnancy and donate the baby's organs to other children. The latter is what Davis and Lovett opted to do, and on Christmas Eve, Davis delivered a baby girl named Rylei Arcadia Diane Lovett. 

In a post shared to the Facebook page the parents created for their daughter, Rylei Arcadia: An Unexpected Journey, Davis wrote, "At 5:04 p.m., we welcomed this beautiful little girl into the world. Rylei Arcadia Diane Lovett came out 19 inches long weighing 6 pounds even. She has amazed me from the moment I saw her little face. I am so in love with my daughter and I am so grateful to all of the people who shared this day with her. I am so happy to report that she has defied all of the odds by breathing on her own for almost 9 hours. I love her so much. Thank you all for your continued thoughts and prayers. She is so perfect."

The loving parents made the most of every moment they had with their L.O., who was expected to live just 30 minutes but spent a week on earth.  “There's no way to describe how amazing it felt. When you go to thinking you'll only have 30 minutes with your child and you get an entire week,” Davis told local ABC affiliate News Channel 9

She took to Facebook on December 31 to elaborate, "For 9 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."

Davis noted that she "wouldn't trade this week for anything in the whole wide world," going on to address her baby girl: "I'm so proud of you and the fight you put up. You have inspired so many people with your story and bravery. I love you so much more than you'll ever know, little frog. I miss you so much already, but I know you're happy and are going to change some sweet baby's life. Mommy and daddy love you so very much, sweet girl. Rest in peace, my beautiful daughter." 

Ultimately, Rylei served as a hero for other newborns, donating two heart valves. Her lungs were also donated for research and development of anencephaly.

The little girl's incredible story has made international headlines. "We are absolutely blown away that her story has spread so far," Davis tells Parents.com. "We're now seeing articles in languages we can't even read!"

She and Lovett hope that Rylei's story raises awareness around organ donation and anencephaly. "I hope that other parents whose children have received a similar diagnosis will find strength and comfort knowing they are not alone," Davis shares. "It's so easy to prepare for a baby, but it's very hard to prepare not to bring your baby home. I hope that more mothers consider organ donation as I did, so that other parents have the chance to bring their children home."

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