Human Interest

‘She was our miracle’: Baby girl with anencephaly was welcomed with love


When Samantha and her husband Andy found out their daughter had anencephaly, they chose against abortion. Samantha explains, “It did seem like it would be easier, but I just couldn’t bring my heart to do it. This baby was brought to me for a reason and even though I didn’t totally understand, I believed I was supposed to give this baby as much life as I could.”

They named their daughter Railyn Hope Carpenter. When she was born, Samantha resolved to enjoy the time she had with Railyn:

I couldn’t believe it. She was so beautiful. Every worry I had left me. I knew it could still be anytime that we would lose her, but I was enjoying the time I had…

Our sweet girl smiled anytime you touched her hat or face. She would kick her feet if you tickled them. She even stretched a few times. She done [sic] things that we were told she would never do.


Railyn Hope (via WV Gazette obituary)

READ: ‘I cannot stop thanking God’: Couples chose life after anencephaly with no regrets

Railyn lived much longer than doctors thought she would. She was taken home from the hospital and placed in a prenatal hospice program. The family spent more time with her:

Every night, we had family staying with us. Everyone took turns staying up and watching Railyn. They would all take turns holding her. My mom would take walks down the halls with her and take her to the cafeteria to watch Christmas movies. Railyn was even here for the first snow. There was a couch outside our room that I sat with her quite a few times at.

Our Railyn was famous. She had so many visitors and her beautiful pictures and story was all over social media. The nurses were amazed by her. I would send updates to my doctor, she was amazed as well.

Railyn lived for a week after birth. When she died, she was given a lavish funeral where her parents and siblings honored her life.

Samantha has no regrets. “Everyone has their own reason of making the decisions they do, but my decision to carry my little anencephaly baby, knowing the outcome, was the best one I had ever made,” she says. “Railyn Hope made such an impact on so many lives and I’ll be forever thankful for having the strength to give her [the] life she had. She was our miracle.”

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