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November
20
2020

Riley Peter’s Birthday

November 18, 2020 you entered this world in such a beautiful way.
I was admitted to the hospital the night before for gestational hypertension. I was quickly on my way to preeclampsia so we packed our bags, kissed our kids goodnight and headed to the LDRP unit. They started me on a mechanical method to induce me at around 9pm and I got an epidural around 2am. The pain and headaches were becoming so unbearable. Once they had started me on pitocin my contractions came more frequently and I started nodding off due to my headaches. Once the morning came we were going back and forth with heading to c section just so I could meet him alive since his heart rate was starting to fluctuate contractions. Just before noon I could hear the monitors of his heart rate getting slower and more faint (I was at 7cm and it could be hours before I get to 10cm to deliver). Zach looked at me with tears and said he isn’t going to make it and his heart rate was dropping lower than mine. I finally couldn’t take it anymore, I said I don’t care about my body, I don’t care how it’s done or if I am in pain for weeks, I don’t care if I miss meeting him by seconds, cut me open and get him out NOW. I felt like if I laid there listening to him fade away that I was giving up. Everyone came in to wheel me to surgery, I took off my jewelry and gave Zach one last big hug full of tears. Right as I hugged him telling him I love him so much I felt an urge to push and sudden pressure. I let go of Zach and said I think I feel Riley coming. Sure enough my doctor looked and sat on my bed and said “Riley’s coming right now!” And in a matter of seconds I heard her yell out with tears “He’s here, he’s alive!” And placed him on my chest where I watched his chest move and his mouth open for air. 
This was divine intervention. We had God present in our room. Just as I was ready to sacrifice anything for my child, seconds from wheeling off to surgery, God heard my begging and prayers to just meet my son alive and he brought him to us before He brought him home. 
The memory of him calmly taking three slow breaths on my chest holding my finger and dad’s, will never leave my heart. He was in no pain and filled the room with tears, silence and peace. 
We bathed him, dressed him, snuggled him, kissed him, held his hands, and couldn’t get enough of his perfect newborn skin. I cherish every single moment I had with him, he was absolutely perfect. 

Riley,
You made my world stand still. Suddenly everything else was unimportant. All that mattered to me was holding you and filling your little ears with words of I love you’s and reminding you of how strong you are. You did it baby boy. You stayed so strong and I could never amount to the strength you had for us that day. You’ve changed so many lives and left a mark on us all. Your big brother and sister got to meet you, I’m sure you saw from Heaven. Although your sister is too young to understand she’ll have these photos forever to remember you by. Your big brother is sweeter than sugar, meeting you he knew you were the baby RyRy he’d been praying over for months. In his own words, he said “baby RyRy feeping, shhh” (sleeping) upon meeting you. They both gave you many hugs and kisses. As they left, J asked “baby RyRy come home?” I replied holding back as many tears as physically possible and said “no sweetheart, baby RyRy is already home.”

When we meet again in eternity, I promise to never let you out of my arms ever again. I’m no longer afraid of death, no matter where I am I’ll always have my family with me. 
We love you so much sweet boy, thank you a million times for your strength, your love and your beauty. 

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November
17
2020

November 16, 2020

Today was tough and a long appointment, his BPP was still 8/8 however, Riley’s fluid in his chest has grown significantly. Concerning for the amount of accumulation being in two weeks. My blood pressure has gone up as well which is really our biggest indicator to deliver early to avoid preeclampsia (like I had with Charlotte and this diagnosis puts me at an even higher risk). We are going to do another non-stress test Wednesday as well as another BPP to make sure the fluid hasn’t gotten worse. I’ll be 31 weeks tomorrow, I just want Riley to stay strong and keep fighting with me to get as strong as he can. Every single day he does well in my belly is a better outcome for us to meet him for his first breath.
Please keep praying for us, thank you.
November
3
2020

November 02, 2020

What a beautiful day today! Today we did some ante natal testing; a BPP test (biophysical profile) that measures his heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing and the amniotic fluid around him. He scored an 8/8! Showed us he’s practicing his breathing which was one of my biggest fears he wouldn’t catch on to doing with his diagnosis. He was covering his face the WHOLE appointment so we couldn’t get a photo of him, but this test gives us a look at atleast the next week with him (although anything can happen at any moment because of the diagnosis we are superbly happy and hopeful)! Other than that he is still measuring small - I’m 29 weeks this week and he’s about 2 lbs. and there is some (expected) issues with the placenta — absent end - diastolic blood flow. 
So now we will continue monitoring weekly with baby Riley to keep a good eye on him! 
While we are so excited to meet him we still want him to do a lot more growing so he is strong enough for his first breaths with us as a family!!
October
29
2020

October 28, 2020

Over the last month we have been working with some of the most incredible baby brands to create care packages for families at the Self Regional Healthcare NICU. Today they were completed and heading over to the NICU to be distributed to families to ease transitions home and help in any way these products can. We hope Riley’s story is remembered and touch these families as well as spread awareness on trisomy13. Thank you to all of these brands’ extremely generous donations for allowing us to create such a beautiful memory with our son Riley. Thank you to Fox Carolina News  for sharing our story. Thank you thank you thank you to everyone involved! 
October
29
2020

October 19, 2020

Just a quick update; I was admitted to the labor and delivery floor for monitoring. I only had stayed a few hours to make sure my labs and Riley were doing alright. My blood pressure went up temporarily and we can’t take any risks so my doctor wanted me to be monitored that it went back down (thankfully it did) but we discovered I also have palpitations now too. 

The ultrasound tech that came in to do an ultrasound on Riley said the most meaningful thing I could hear from a complete stranger that brought me to an overflow of tears. 
she was quietly clicking away taking measurements and i wanted to break the silence so I asked if she’s seen any trisomy 13 babies before. she replied, “not often but I have sweetheart. he’s just as beautiful to me.” I started to cry and she said she was almost done. I said I was crying not because I wanted her to be done, but because that was so kind to say (especially to me, a stranger with minimal words exchanged). She went on to say, “I’m a mama bear myself to three children, two on earth and one in heaven. We’ll always be a mama to three.” 

Baby Riley and I are doing well now. Please keep us in your prayers!

 
September
30
2020

September 29, 2020

Today was an emotional day. We got to see baby Riley again and I always get excited but sad at the same time. I’m happy I get to see his cute little feet and hands move around and to me for the time he seems so perfect. I get to the point where I want this all to be a mistake time and time again. 
Today in particular was hard because my OB and the entire Family Residency program came together and donated to our family, got gift cards to build a bear and two heart recorders to record Riley’s heartbeat to place in a bear for Jackson and Charlotte to have and remember him always. I cried until my face swelled. Including our children in this was always difficult because they’re so young and this was so beautiful. 
This residency program, staff, faculty and residents have truly been doing so incredibly much I am at a loss for words and forever thankful this is who we are surrounded with. 

September
30
2020

September 28, 2020

All I can say was that this day was beautiful in so many ways. We walked for baby Riley and I was floored by the amount of love from our community in my husbands residency program. All I can say is that this baby has an army of love on his side and he has touched so many lives that he hasn’t even met yet! We love you Riley, everyday, forever.
September
24
2020

A Beautiful Note

A dear friend shared this with me today from her friend's book "Buried Dreams" which I will link at the end. (I changed some names for baby Riley)

When caterpillars are born, they have tiny cells inside their bodies that have all the information needed to build a butterfly. Caterpillars carry these cells with them everywhere they go- but the cells are so small, they don't even know they carry them! When the cocoon forms around them, the blueprints in these cells get rolled out and are used to construct the body, wings, legs, and antennae of a butterfly.

We find it absolutely amazing that these little guys are born with microscopic blueprints that have just one function- to transform a chubby little worm into an intricately designed butterfly. It reminds us of Ecclesiastes 3:11 "He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end" (NIV).

God has set eternity in our hearts- "blueprints" of what we are meant to be: children of God. Little Riley, do you know God has set eternity in your heart? He has designed you as a son- for a season you will be a son of Zach and Eva and forever you will be a son of our Almighty God. You are precious in His sight, you are honored, and He loves you. (See Isaiah 43:4).

If you saw a caterpillar in a cocoon and you didn't know what it was, you would think it would be rather strange. Why did this little guy decide to warm himself up in a boring old blanket? He isn't moving- he might not even look alive! Yet LIFE is happening abundantly inside! You can't see it, but he is transforming into what he was made to be! But if you didn't know that, you would wonder why the caterpillar didn't just go about his caterpillar life. But God knows the rest of the story- and if the caterpillar did in fact go about the rest of his life as a caterpillar, he would never experience life as a butterfly, beautiful and unique!

Riley, right now we feel a little like we are looking at a cocoon for the very first time. We dont know why things are the way they are with your development. We dont know the rest of the story. But Riley, we know by faith that LIFE is happening inside. We know that God has set eternity in your heart and that your bluepirint is an irreversible design of beauty, love, and uniqueness that only our Lord can create.

Someone else lived a similar story long before your parents were even born. His name is Jesus. He also was wrapped in a cocoon, but it was in the form of a grave. Everyone who knew Him and loved Him was overcome with sorrow because they didnt know the whole story: that LIFE was conquering death so that we could live forever with the One who loves us the most out of anyone in this world. He emerged from His cocoon with great glory (even more glorious than a butterfly!), knowing the momentary sorrow was worth the everlasting joy of having us emerge from our own deaths by His grace. That's who your Savior is, Riley. He creates life where none should exist. While we might not get to meet you on this side of heaven, we know that He loves you and has traded places with you so that you won't be in a cocoon forever. And we know that God is making something beautiful out of you, just like he does with butterflies.

 

A link to the book by Lindsey R. Dennis:

https://www.amazon.com/Buried-Dreams-Devastating-Loss-Unimaginable/dp/1501869116/ref=sr_1_1?crid=14SQHK43CRN1X&dchild=1&keywords=buried+dreams+from+devastating+loss+to+unimaginable+hope&qid=1600975951&sprefix=buried+dreams%3A+from+deva%2Caps%2C157&sr=8-1

 

 

Thank you Amy <3