Meet Ryleigh Bell…
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Despite a cervical cerclage and weeks of bed rest for Mom, Ryleigh and her twin brother, James III “Trey”, were delivered 16 weeks premature on October 29, 2011 via emergency C-section due to placental abruption. Their parents, James and Tara, got to see them only briefly before they were whisked into the NICU at Anne Arundel Medical Center.
Trey, weighing only 1 lb., 8 oz., unfortunately passed away at 3 days old due to Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH) and extreme prematurity. Ryleigh, weighing 1 lb., 6 oz., remained in the NICU at AAMC for 108 days. Ryleigh, a 24-weeker, was a ‘micro preemie’ (born weighing less than 1 lb., 12 oz. or before 26 weeks gestation). She was intubated and/or oxygen-dependent for most of her 108 day stay and faced many of the immediate health concerns associated with micro preemies; Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS), Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), Sepsis, Intraventricular Hemorrhage (IVH), and Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) just to name a few.
After 3 ½ months and daily trips back and forth from Easton to Annapolis to be by Ryleigh’s side reading books, providing Kangaroo Care, and participating in her care times (feedings, baths, diaper changes, etc.), by the grace of God, James and Tara were poetically able to bring Ryleigh home on her original due date, February 14, 2012 - Valentine’s Day!
Ryleigh, aka Feisty by the NICU staff, celebrated her first birthday along with 34-week twin nieces that were born just one day before her. Our family thanks the March of Dimes and the wonderful AAMC NICU staff for helping Ryleigh who is now an extremely happy and healthy little girl.