Tennessee mother who delivered dying child to save lives receives and shares support

PHOTO courtesy Krystal Daniels to FOX 17 News

NASHVILLE, Tenn.--A Tennessee mother who carried her dying baby to term to donate her child's organs says while she is still coming to terms with the loss but has found support.

Krysta Davis of Cleveland, Tennessee, was told by doctors when she was just 18 weeks pregnant her daughter would not survive birth due to a condition called anencephaly.

The condition is a serious birth defect where a baby is born without parts of the brain and skull during development. According to the CDC, 3 pregnancies in every 10,000 will have anencephaly.

Faced with the news, Krysta made the decision to carry baby Rylei Arcadia to term even though Krysta knew she wouldn't survive. That decision was made because Krysta could have her child's organs donated in the hopes of saving other children.

Speaking with FOX 17 News affiliate WTVC in Chattanooga, Krytal stated earlier this month “If I wasn't able to bring my baby home, at least others could bring theirs home.”

Krysta now tells FOX 17 News surgery for the organs resulted in Rylei's heart valves being harvested and donated to two other children. "It will be six months before we find out if Rylei's valves hold on to the the two recipients," Krysta says.

In addition, Rylei's lungs were able to be removed intact, something which is rare. "There is a researcher who was waiting a year to receive a pair of lungs because it's so hard to get," Krysta says. Krysta's placenta was also donated for research on the condition. "The doctor who did the surgery said he hadn't met anyone like us in years. He said to by boyfriend and I 'you're great people'."

Even since before Rylei's delivery on Christmas Eve, mom Krysta has documented her journey on a Facebook Blog titled Rylei Arcadia: An Unexpected Journey. It's a page Krystal says is open to all mothers facing challenges, a place where they can find support and where Krysta has found support.

"I'm still trying to come to terms with the fact she's not here but we've met so many families going through the same thing or other challenges and it's helped," Krysta says. Krysta has recently met two other mothers whose babies have been diagnosed with anencephaly and has been able to refer them to medical professionals for help.

Krysta wants other moms to know "you're not alone. Even though it feels like the world is crashing all around you, there is support."

But more than anything, the Facebook page keeps Rylei close. "Being able to tell her story keeps her memory alive," Krysta says.

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