Ryleigh Harvey: A early arrival who is now "pure sunshine" inspires the Harvey Family Fund
Jenny Harvey, of Belton, Texas, was 23 weeks pregnant and preparing for the birth of twin girls when she unexpectedly started to dilate. Obstetrician Belinda Kohl-Thomas, MD, admitted Mrs. Harvey to Scott & White to prevent the twins from being born too soon.
However, four days later, on December 27, 2008, Jenny gave birth to the first twin. Huntleigh lived just 10 hours.
Grieving and feeling terrified, Mrs. Harvey remained in the hospital on bed rest, and a week later she gave birth to Ryleigh. She weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces and was immediately brought to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she remained for 88 days. The tiny infant faced several challenges, including a bacterial infection, surgery to repair a heart condition, and prolonged use of a high-frequency ventilator to help her breathe. The neonatal team was quick to intervene to ensure that Ryleigh avoided any setbacks.
Ryleigh’s biggest victory came on April 1, when she went home, weighing four and a half pounds. "You would never know now that she’s been through so much," says Mrs. Harvey. "Ryleigh's joyful spirit reflects the wonderful, loving care that she received in the NICU."
Following their experience, the Harveys were inspired to give back to Scott & White. They started the Harvey Family Fund to honor Huntleigh’s life and to recognize the high-quality care Ryleigh received.
"No matter how short Huntleigh's life was, we want it to have made a difference. It’s inevitable that others will face similar experiences, but we want to help make it easier for them in any way we can," says Bo Harvey, who along with Jenny, serves on Scott & White’s Steering Committee for the new Children’s Hospital at Scott & White.
Thanks to donations by friends and family, the Harvey Family Fund has created a parent center in the NICU with a new computer and personal lockers. The Harveys are also working to develop bereavement support services and hope to sponsor lectures and day care services in the future.
"Scott & White gave us Ryleigh, and the care and support we received will forever ease our minds. We were able to remain in our hometown and maintain some sense of normalcy because we have great care right here," says Mrs. Harvey.