The Riley Fund for Stillborn Research at R Baby Foundation

The Riley Fund

Riley Nicole
7lbs. 7oz., 21 inches

On May 13th, 2018 Mike and Stacey lost their beautiful daughter Riley Nicole at 37 weeks in utero.  Just the day before, the doctor said Riley was perfect and measuring full-term – it was go time. Less than 24 hours later, Stacey couldn’t feel her baby moving and the doctor couldn’t find her heartbeat. Riley was delivered stillborn measuring 7 pounds, 7 ounces, and 21 inches.  Expectations and dreams were shattered, breaking into thousands of shards of sorrow. As Michael said at Riley’s funeral, “She was a perfect baby and something went terribly wrong.”

We chose to share Riley’s photo and her story because Riley was delivered as a full term beautiful baby.  She was a real person. She had a name.  She was Mike and Stacey’s first born.  They had dreamed of her birth even before finding out Stacey was pregnant. They had planned their lives with her in detail.  As Michael said at Riley’s funeral, “Baby Girl…Mommy was going to call you Leelee and you are my little Riley Girl.  You are our first born, and the big sister in our family… Riley you gave us dreams of playing with you, reading to you at night, taking you to the beach and on runs, teaching you how to ride a bike and watching you play sports. Most importantly you fulfilled our dream to be parents. You taught us how to love from the second you were in mommy’s tummy.”  Riley had chubby cheeks like her Dad and big basketball hands and feet like her Mom. Holding her, hugging her, kissing her, and talking to her was the most amazing time of their lives.  Riley gave Mike and Stacey a joy they had never felt before.

In what has been an unbelievably gut-wrenching time, Mike and Stacey have chosen to honor Riley by building a legacy for her so that fewer families have to experience the tragedy of delivering a stillborn. We created the Riley Fund for Stillborn Research at R Baby Foundation to create awareness and to support cutting edge research focused on the prediction and prevention of stillbirth so that other families will not face this devastating loss.

Unfortunately stillborn death is too common in the United States. Stillborn death happens when babies die before they are born, which can take place after 20 weeks (early stillbirth), between 28 and 36 weeks (late stillbirth), or after 37 weeks (term stillbirth). This catastrophic complication occurs in more than 1 in every 160 pregnancies in the U.S., impacting 26,000 families each year. It is especially tragic when it happens to otherwise healthy babies and is one of the most emotionally traumatic events parents can face. Stillbirth is responsible for close to half of perinatal deaths and is almost 10 times more frequent than Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. While stillbirth rates have been reduced, the stillbirth rate in the United States is considerably higher than most other high-income countries. We can and we must do better.

With your help, we will fund our first research grant this fall. Together we’ll work to develop prediction tools to identify stillbirth risks later in pregnancy when early delivery is an option.

To support The Riley Fund for Stillborn Research visit here and choose The Riley Fund from the dropdown menu.