Riley was born at 28 weeks on 13 November 2008 weighing 1lb 14oz after his young mother, Kerrin Leigh aged 16, had been rushed to Southampton Hospital with pre-eclampsia. A critical situation for both mum and baby. The baby had to come out as soon as possible and it was very frightening for everybody. Within an hour of reaching the hospital in Guernsey, Kerrin and the baby’s father, Craig Horsepool, then aged 17, were on an aircraft to Southampton. “It all happened very quickly, I was so scared and I was shaking but our families and the service we received in Guernsey were really great.” said Kerrin.
Early the next day Riley was born by emergency caesarean section. Kerrin said that the first moment seeing her son for the very first time was like a million feelings exploding at once, but painfully it was a few weeks before she’d even be able to hold him. Due to his premature birth Riley had respiratory distress syndrome and needed to be in an incubator. His problems didn’t end there. Three days later he had to have a 5hr operation on part of his bowel and a further operation was needed shortly after. “We could only touch him through a hole in the incubator”; said Kerrin. “I couldn’t hold him, it was really horrible. I was so happy the first time we finally could hold him. There were a lot of tears, he was so gorgeous.”
Riley was allowed home briefly on Christmas Eve, but soon after had to return to hospital and at one stage had to go back to Southampton Hospital as he was so unwell. They were very tense times with emotions up and down. He came home again on 11th February but because he had 2 hernias near his groin and other complications he needed to return for more assessments and treatment. Despite all the operations he was a lively little boy, very strong and could lift his tiny head up and hold it very steadily.
His difficult start in life hasn’t stopped Riley. Although small for his age you wouldn’t know he was premature. He is very strong, healthy and full of character. His Grandma, Sharon, says; “He’s a happy lad with a great sense of humour. He wears his operation scars with pride.” Riley loves scootering and playing softball and football. He also enjoys autocross as his parents and other relatives take part.
Riley now has a gorgeous baby brother, Colbie, from his Mum’s new relationship who he idolises.
“We’d like to add that we think the PPBF do an amazing job supporting the babies and their families when they need it the most.” says Sharon.