Home » Mansfield Town defender Joe Riley opens up on dropping his son at beginning

Mansfield Town defender Joe Riley opens up on dropping his son at beginning

by newsking24

Mansfield is Riley’s sixth membership after taking part in for Bolton, Bury, Oxford, Shrewsbury and Plymouth

If you, or somebody you already know, have been affected by any points raised on this article, assist and knowledge is out there at BBC Action Line.

It was just a few hours. An opportunity to say hiya to their longed-for son, Leo Joseph. Hold him, kiss him, inform him how a lot they liked him. And then say goodbye.

Footballer Joe Riley and his fiancee Kayleigh had been thrilled to find she was pregnant once more after a number of miscarriages.

All seemed to be going properly.

“After 15 or 16 weeks we discovered it was a boy and we chose his name quickly,” says Riley, a full-back at League Two Mansfield Town.

“We started decorating Leo’s room, got all his furniture, ordered the pram. When it’s your first you go mad.

“We had been procuring day by day to purchase him new outfits, I purchased Leo soccer boots.”

Twenty-six weeks into her being pregnant, Kayleigh was rushed to hospital the place she discovered that the newborn boy she had been carrying was stillborn.external-link

Leo was placed in a ‘cuddle cot’, a cold unit with a basket that stops the baby’s body deteriorating, allowing the couple as much time as they needed to say goodbye to their precious boy.

Here Riley, 29, opens up on the harrowing experience of losing his son at birth – and the overwhelming joy of becoming a father to two healthy children since.

“We prefer to suppose Leo lives on in each of them,” he provides.

Joe Riley (centre) celebrates scoring for Shrewsbury Town in a League One win at Old Athletic on 3 September 2016
Joe Riley (centre) celebrates scoring a aim for Shrewsbury Town in League One in 2016

‘An emotional battle’

Having been part of Bolton Wanderers’ youth set-up since the age of seven, Riley signed professional terms with the club in 2011.

Aged 20, he was handed his Premier League debut by Owen Coyle and went on to make 9 first-team appearances, together with one in opposition to Manchester United at Old Trafford in January 2012.

Riley’s progress was hampered by a series of setbacks, including a serious knee injury in July 2013 which ruled him for several months.

By the summer of 2016 he was at League One Shrewsbury, via a loan spell at Oxford and a stint at League Two Bury.

Getting regular game-time under Paul Hurst, Riley was enjoying life at Shrewsbury and it was while he was with the Shrews, in September 2017, that Kayleigh revealed she was pregnant with Leo.

“We had been each excited as a result of as much as that time it had been a battle emotionally,” says Riley.

“We went by means of various miscarriages, six or seven. We had no issues by way of Kayleigh getting pregnant – it was simply getting previous that seven to eight week stage of the being pregnant.

“We got through it this time and everything was going really well.”

In March 2018 every part modified.

Facts about being pregnant loss

  • In the UK, one in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage – with most occurring early earlier than 12 weeks
  • Miscarriage is the lack of a being pregnant throughout the first 23 weeks
  • About one in 250 births is a stillbirth, when a child is born lifeless after 24 weeks

‘If love may have saved you, you’d have lived perpetually’

It was October 2014 when the couple met in a Manchester bar on the footballer’s birthday evening out.

“I offered to buy Kayleigh a drink and she accepted,” recollects Riley. “We’ve been together ever since.”

Kayleigh, a trend and life-style blogger, and Riley started planning for the long run and shortly purchased a home collectively in Worsley, Salford.

“We got two dogs and it was kind of the next process to have a baby,” he provides. “Throughout all the miscarriages, Kayleigh picked herself up and got on with life. She’s much stronger than me.”

On 8 March 2018, Leo was stillborn at Royal Bolton Hospital.

“Kayleigh had not felt a kick for a couple of days. Our hearts started racing and we rushed to hospital,” says Riley.

“She had a scan and that’s when we found out Leo was no longer with us. We broke down. It’s one of the worst things you can go through.”

Leo was positioned in a particular cot in one of many hospital’s bereavement rooms the place the couple received to say goodbye to him privately.

“We spent the night with Leo, dressed him in a little outfit, put his little hat on and talked to him,” says Riley. “We got to do his hand prints and we wrote him a letter which said ‘you’ll always be in our hearts’.

“We had simply misplaced Leo however to really spend time with him was so comforting.”

Asked what advice he would give to couples going through a similar experience, Riley adds: “Just be there for each other and speak about it.

“We speak about Leo all the time and have a little cry. Don’t bottle it up.

“I did at first. I went to coaching considering ‘I do not need to speak about it’. As time went on, I spoke about it just a little bit extra and it made me really feel higher.”

‘Leo’s reminiscence lives on’

In the two-and-half-years since losing Leo, the couple, now married, have welcomed 17-month-old Jace and one-month-old Mila into the world.

“I keep in mind holding Jace and crying my coronary heart out,” says Riley, who was at Plymouth Argyle when he was born in June 2019.

Baby Leo’s reminiscence lives on.

On his birthday, the couple light a candle next to his picture at the family home.

They have a memory box containing Leo’s ashes, while his hand prints are in a frame.

The couple embarked on a 45-mile walk from Worsley to Blackpool in his memory which raised £7,000 to build another bereavement room at Royal Bolton Hospital – a thank you to the staff who comforted and supported them at a traumatic time.

Footballer Joe Riley, his wife, Kayleigh, and children Jace (left) and Mila at home with a picture of Leo, who was stillborn, in the background
Joe, Kayleigh, Jace (left) and Mila at dwelling with an image of Leo within the background

“When Jace and Mila become older they may in all probability level to Leo’s image and ask ‘who’s that?'” adds Riley, who is currently recovering from a knee injury and will miss Mansfield’s FA Cup first-round tie at Sunderland on Saturday.

“Kayleigh and I’ll say ‘it is your older brother who’s watching over you’.”

If you, or somebody you already know, have been affected by any points raised on this article, assist and knowledge is out there at BBC Action Line.

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