Our beautiful Ryleigh made her first appearance on Sunday 5th February 2006 – in the form of a pink line on the latest of many pregnancy tests. We had been trying to conceive since August 2005. Needless to say we were both over the moon to finally have our first child on her way. Within minutes we had been to a shop and bought two cute little baby-grows and mittens, before heading home to put them in a baby box to await the arrival of our precious little girl.
From then onwards, everything was going great! The usual appointments came and went and at each one everything was fine – normal blood pressure, no urine problems and good health throughout.
Before we knew it our first scan date arrived in the mail. On Tuesday 11th April 2006 we would see our little girl for the first time! However on the day of the scan, Sarah was feeling nervous and scared, and had told her Mum that she feels something is wrong – and sadly, her feeling became reality.
Our little girl appeared on screen as the scan begun, she was bouncing around like she had already got her first trampoline in there! Her little arms were waving around as if she knew we were there watching– neither of us could stop staring at the screen with a big grin on our faces. They didn’t last. Out of the blue the Sonographer suggested there may be a problem, but told us not to worry as she looked for someone more senior.
The Senior Sonographer was busy at the time, so the same woman returned and told us that she thinks there may be too much fluid around Ryleigh’s head. At the time we didn’t realise just how serious this could be. The Senior Sonographer eventually arrived and after the two of them had a close look at the ultrasound of our little girl – whilst whispering to each other for a few minutes – they finally turned to us and confirmed that the fluid around Ryleigh’s head was indeed too much. We were referred to a more advanced local hospital for a more detailed scan.
An appointment was scheduled with a Consultant at the more advanced hospital – and it was at that appointment that we finally realised just how serious fluid around the head meant to our baby girl, and our chances of ever meeting her. The Consultant informed us that Ryleigh had Cystic Hygroma (the fluid on her head) and also Fetal Hydrops – and after we asked what exactly it meant for our little girl, he gave us the devastating advice that IF the scan proves her conditions to be as bad as the notes suggested, then ending the pregnancy would be for the best. A stunned, and tearful journey home followed.
The following day the hospital called. Our detailed scan was arranged for April 18th 2006 – Sarah’s 19th birthday. Instead of waking up looking forward to her birthday, Sarah woke up being sick with nerves from knowing the day would be the last time we saw our little girl alive.
We arrived at the hospital and were sat in a waiting room of happy Mums-to-be awaiting their scans. We were moved to a back room after a while, we don’t think the receptionists realised at first why we were there. A man eventually came in to ask if we had any questions and we asked what the chances were that this was all a mistake and that our Ryleigh could be perfectly healthy. He replied that judging by the notes, this WAS happening and it was bad. He said we could have an Amnio test if scans confirmed Ryleigh’s feared problems.
He begun the scan, and said he would explain everything to us afterwards. A woman sat by him taking notes from what he was telling her. We sat staring at the monitor – only this time our little girl wasn’t bouncing around, she wasn’t waving at us, and her heart-beat was faint. Ryleigh had stopped growing and was still measuring 13 weeks. We were told her Cystic Hygroma could not be any bigger, and was in the worst possible place – the fluid surrounding her had prevented her lungs from developing. He gave her a 5% chance of making it to the end of the pregnancy, with no chance of survival at birth.
Our angel, Ryleigh Jayne Wright was born sleeping on April 24th 2006 at 8.50am, after 13 hours of labour.
At first neither of us could bring ourselves to look at Ryleigh. The midwife took her aside snuggled in a blanket and placed her in a basket, and she was passed to Sarah’s Mum. After a while Sarah asked her Mum what Ryleigh looked like – did she have fingers, ears and so on – to which Sarah’s Mum replied, yes. Sarah decided to look and saw our beautiful, perfectly formed little baby girl. Two eyes, a button nose, two little arms, two perfect hands and feet – everything perfect. We have a photo of Sarah and Ryleigh together which will be treasured forever. Stuart could not bring himself to see or hold his little girl, and to this day he feels he let his daughter down and will never forgive himself for passing on that one precious opportunity to see, hold and cuddle his first child.
Sarah sat up on her bed as the midwife came in. She had come to take our daughter away, but seeing the tears in Sarah’s eyes she allowed us more time and returned another 20 minutes later and we watched her take our Ryleigh out of the room. That was the last we saw of her.
Sarah needed surgery to remove the placenta which had not detached from her body and had to stay overnight. She returned home the following day and all we had to show for the pregnancy we both longed for was an envelope, containing Ryleigh’s wristband, cot-card and some Midwife-taken photographs of our beautiful baby girl.
Ryleigh’s service was held at the Hospital Chapel on May 18th 2006, and her ashes were scattered under a Pine tree at a local Crematorium garden reserved for babies.
Post-mortem results arrived on June 6th 2006. They confirmed that Ryleigh also had Turners Syndrome – a condition with which the child can be missing half of the X chromosome or all of it. Our little Ryleigh was missing all of it.