Mom Who Lost One Of Her Triplets 11 Days After Birth Opens Up On The Sad Incident

Before Riley Nicole from Memphis, Tennessee, got pregnant in 2017; she had shared on social media about naming her next daughter, Bella.

Interestingly, 2 weeks later, Riley found out that she was expecting triplets- all girls.

“I knew that Baby A’s name was Bella,” Riley told Hey, Black Mom! “I hate to say it, but Bella was my favorite. I felt like I had more of a connection with her.”

Sadly, the moment Riley, 36, had envisioned for so long took a tragic turn in June. The mom-of-8, only brought 2 babies home; Bella had died in her arms at 11 days old.

Riley built a strong social media presence behind her “My Triplets Journey”, so the stay-at-home-mompreneur continued to update her followers after her insufferable loss because, she found out that the worldwide connections helped her cope.

August 23, 2018… Happy Due Date to my little loves! Today was the original due date the doctors gave us. One question I hated while pregnant was, "when are you due?" It was too complicated to explain that I'm pregnant with triplets, but 40 weeks isn't full term for a multiples pregnancy and open extra dialogue. The average triplet pregnancy is 32-34 weeks. We didn't even make it that far. At 28 weeks, these fighters made their debut into the world. . . My girls have come so, so far. They're identical, but have completely different personalities. Check out our purple butterfly for Bella. I wonder how she would've been *Not all triplets wall side by side. Sometimes, one has wings to fly* 🦋 #HappyDueDate Bows: @pinkconfettico_ Paci clips: @pinkconfettico_ #operationpink #BellaClips #BaileyMarie #BrooklynMarie #MissingBellaMarie #ForeverTriplets

A post shared by Nicole (@my.triplets.journey) on

Riley knew she would have the identical triplets early, and her prognosis was correct. She delivered by emergency C-section at 28 weeks on June 8; baby Bella’s decreasing heart rate was behind the doctors’ quick actions.

ALSO READ: After the Loss of Her Baby, Mom, Phumza Shares Her Success Story To Inspire Hope

According to, carrying multiples is high risk; triplets are born on average at 33 weeks, and any born weighing less than 5.5 pounds is considered a low birth weight.

Bella, along with her sisters, Brooklyn and Bailey, was born just over 1 pound. The girls spent weeks in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), and the trips to and from Memphis’s Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center emotionally drained Riley.

“Any little milestone that they got over was an accomplishment, I don’t care if they gained 1 pound. I was happy because I know how NICU can be,” she said. “I tried to cling to any good moments.”

Riley couldn’t hold her babies for several days. She embraced Bailey and Brooklyn first but waited longer for Bella.

The morning doctors cleared Riley to hold Bella, she and her partner, Cedric Williams were given a heartbreaking report; they were told that Bella had an infection.

When Riley arrived expecting the highly-anticipated moment with Bella, the newborn had a breathing tube attached to her throat. Baby Bella was on 100% oxygen.

READ ALSO: How To Comfort a Grieving Mum After the Loss of a Child

Doctors informed the family that they were doing everything possible to keep her alive.

“Never once did I think death was an option,” Riley recalled. “I hear about babies getting sick in the NICU, but the doctors got it. It happens. It’s part of the process.

“To hear the doctors say at this point we’re just trying to keep her alive long enough for the antibiotics to kick in, that kind of freaked me out.”

Riley believed with all her might that her baby would make it but unfortunately, Bella didn’t recover. Riley said she talked to God, believed in the medicine and spoke good health into Bella but as her oxygen and heart rate continued to decrease, doctors offered one final suggestion.

“She hands her to me. I start talking to her,” Riley pushed out through tears. “This is the first time I’m holding my baby and she’s dying.”

Riley realized it was selfish to ask Bella to fight the pain, so she had to let go. Her last words to her:

“Mommy’s going to be OK, you did a great job. I love you and I’m going to miss you.” “Then my baby took her last breath in my arms,” Riley said, “and they unplugged the machine.”

Riley’s life was forever changed after Bella’s loss. Not only did she have to endure the NICU with 2 other babies, who recently went home healthy and weighing more than 4 pounds, she had to break the news to her other children.

She discussed it with Tyler, 17, Lawrence, 15, and Madison, 14, but not with her toddlers Ava, 5, and C.J., 4.

The super mom was prepared to bring 3 babies home. She had 3 of everything— even 6 of some others. And though it’s been too hard to part with some of these things, Riley has however, given most of them away to pregnant relatives.

Bailey and Brooklyn are also often mistaken for twins. It bothers Riley, who admitted she has compared herself to other triplet moms with complete trios. She is deciding whether or not she wants to explain the devastating loss each time.

READ ALSO: Wife of Kenyan Senator Recounts the Agony of Losing Two of Her Triplets After Delivery

“It has been bittersweet,” Riley said of bringing Bailey and Brooklyn home. They spent 56 and 63 days in the NICU.

“I had been looking forward to this moment from the time I found out I was having three babies. Everything I envisioned, none of it is how I saw it. Now, I’m having to adapt to my new reality that I only have two babies, and they’re not twins, so it’s difficult.

“Yes, I am finally done with the NICU, but it’s a constant reminder that I don’t have Bella.”

In June, the heartbroken mom had shared on how she picked her baby’s casket and burial plot, on her page.

”I would’ve been 31 weeks pregnant today or my baby would’ve been 16 days old today like her sisters. No matter how you look at it, neither will happen. Today, I visited my girls in the NICU(they’re doing well). Their tiny bodies are still covered with tubes, cords, sensors, monitors.

Not as many as Baby Bella at 2 days old (top pic), but still enough to make me nervous. Also, today, I chose my baby’s casket and burial plot (bottom pic). It’s an 18 inch marble box that will forever hold her remains in a small section in the infant area of the cemetery.

As a NICU mom, you deal with everything from growth, development and meeting milestones to sickness, setbacks, even death. No matter how many stories you read or hear about, NOTHING prepares you for it to be YOU.

No mom expects their baby to die. Not even NICU moms. With all of their cords, tubes, machines, medications and round the clock care, you still expect to bring them home in several weeks or months.

Because she was premature and always surrounded by so much stuff, I got very few pics of her. Ironically, the best pic I have of her is when I was holding her AFTER she passed. I can’t post it. I can’t even look at it. I never saw my baby smile, barely heard her cry, never changed her diaper, never dressed her up.

We were faced with the decision to let the county bury her for free, never get to see her, say our goodbyes and couldn’t put down a permanent marker to visit her later OR have a full blown funeral. Even though only a handful of people actually met her, I still wanted to lay her to rest properly.

I don’t care if its just Cedric, the kids and I there. We will send our baby off right. I get to dress her and the kids can say goodbye. They never even met her. Sigh… I know I’m probably rambling and lost my train of thought way up there, but I’m happy with the decision to have a funeral. I miss her so much y’all.

Salute to all NICU moms out there.”

Photo credit: Instagram

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