A survivor of the Boston Marathon bombing who had her leg amputated and was told she could not have more children has revealed she has given birth to a premature baby girl after a very high-risk pregnancy.
Rebekah Gregory, 28, was standing just feet away from the home-made bomb that exploded near the finish line of the marathon in 2013.
After multiple surgeries, her leg was amputated and she has since become a motivational speaker.
Now, she is asking for prayers as her premature daughter fights for survival in intensive care.
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Rebekah Gregory, who had her leg amputated after the Boston Marathon bombing and was told she could not have more children, has revealed she has given birth to a premature baby girl
Gregory and her husband Chris Varney welcomed baby Ryleigh Michelle on May 2 – but she came ‘way too early.’
Doctors had told Gregory that pregnancy was something she ‘would never be able to think about again,’ she wrote on her Facebook page.
So when she did become pregnant, the couple, who live in Houston, kept the news of their impending arrival secret, only revealing it to friends and family in April.
‘We knew right away it was extremely high risk and decided that we both wanted to keep this part of our lives private as a result,’ she wrote.
But then on April 29, Gregory was taken to hospital after suffering back pain which ended up being pre-term labor.
‘ not only almost lost our baby, but came close to losing my own life as well,’ Gregory wrote.
She was soon discharged but her newborn has a ‘much long road ahead’ – so she has once again turned to her supporters for their prayers.
On Mother’s Day, Gregory shared a picture of her holding baby Ryleigh for the first time. ‘This picture represents my entire world and my heart is so full,’ she wrote
‘ privacy goes out the window for me and I am once again forced to just be human and ask for help.
‘No parent wants to see their child on a ventilator struggling for each day of life.
‘Please covet us in your prayers as we go down this road so that we will have the strength to face what may lay ahead.’
Since then, Ryleigh has come off the ventilator but remains on a CPAP, a continuous airway pressure machine, until her lungs develop.
And on Sunday, Gregory shared a picture of her holding Ryleigh for the first time.
‘I couldn’t ask for a better Mother’s Day present than to hold my baby girl for the first time today,’ she wrote. ‘This picture represents my entire world and my heart is so full.’
She added: ‘Best five minutes EVER. One day soon I’ll hold you tight and never let you go, my Ryleigh girl.’
Gregory, left, before running in Boston last year, and right, outside the courthouse for Boston bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev’s sentencing in June last year
She also has an eight-year-old son called Noah.
On Mother’s Day, Gregory told Noah that being his and Ryleigh’s mom was the ‘best job in the whole world.’
He replied: ‘No, it’s not. It’s being a big brother.’
Meanwhile, Gregory’s mother Tina announced the birth on her daughter’s Facebook page, calling Ryleigh a ‘fighter’.
‘Someone said ‘Boston Strong’ by default. I would agree,’ she wrote. ‘While we were in Boston, we saw God at work in Rebekah’s life.
‘We were humbled by the miracles we witnessed as we requested the prayers of His people.
‘We come to you again asking for your prayers, knowing that God is faithful.’
Since her ordeal in 2013, Gregory said she found ‘purpose in life’ by being a motivational speaker – and she returned to Boston last year to complete the last three miles of the marathon on her prosthetic leg.
Last year, she returned to Boston to run the last three miles of the Boston Marathon on her prosthetic leg
Earlier this year, Gregory married Varney, her college sweetheart, in an intimate ceremony in Jamaica.
She split from her first husband, Pete DiMartino, who also survived the Boston bombing, after just ten months of marriage amid allegations that he cheated on her.
Gregory and DiMartino had dated for a year before the couple went to watch his mother run the marathon together.
Both were injured in the blast. Gregory suffered injuries to her left leg, which was amputated after 27 surgeries.
DiMartino suffered a shattered ankle, ruptured his eardrum and lost his right Achilles tendon in the explosion.
Their shared story of recovery captured hearts across the country and they were soon engaged.
Gregory split from her first husband, Pete DiMartino (pictured together), who also survived the Boston bombing, after just ten months
Gregory married college sweetheart Chris Varney in an intimate ceremony in Jamaica (pictured) last year
But in February last year, shortly after Gregory’s leg was amputated and she cheerfully named her prosthetic leg ‘Felicia’, the marriage fell apart.
A chance encounter with Varney in August led to the pair falling in love again – a decade after they first met.
‘When I was 18 years old I met a boy in college who I fell head over heels for right away,’ she wrote on Facebook.
‘It wasn’t long before craziness ensued and I found myself transferring back home when my sister became very ill.
‘That was the last day I ever saw him until this past August, when he happened to come to Houston on a business trip, and I happened to be totally free for dinner.
‘I was pleasantly surprised to find that same boy turned into an amazing man.
‘And even at a time, when I thought for sure I would live alone, and was sick of having my heart ripped open, the moment I saw him I was 18 again, and nothing else mattered.’
NBA star J.R. Smith, 31, and his wife Jewel Harris welcomed their 3rd daughter 5 months prematurely.
The couple shared the sad news in a video uploaded to Uninterrupted.com on Saturday. “We’ve got very important news,” Smith said at the beginning of the video.
Jewel, who married the Cleveland Cavaliers star in August, said, “Hi, everybody. We decided to share with the world what’s been going on with our family the past five days. We know a lot of you guys congratulated us on the expectancy of our little baby girl, but we had her five months early. She’s five days old today and her name is Dakota and she weighs one pound.”
She continued, “We know we’re not the only family going through this, who has been through this, and who will ever go through it. That’s why we decided to share what we’re going through with you guys. Please keep us in your prayers and we’ll do the same for everyone else.”
Jewel and J.R. have 7-year-old daughters, Demi Smith and Peyton Rose Smith.
Infants who are born prematurely are usually diagnosed with respiratory distress syndrome because they lack a substance in the lungs called surfactant.
Surfactant is a milky liquid produced by the lungs that keeps the airway open and prevents the tiny air sacs (alveoli) inside the lungs from collapsing.
Doctors can introduce artificial surfactant into the lungs through a tiny breathing tube. The chances of survival are slim for babies born in the 2nd trimester.
Thanks to loyal reader Lovezoe for the tip.
A premature baby is born more susceptible to illness due to their weakened immune system and inability to fully develop in some areas. To help quick the healing process, recite any of these great prayers for premature babies.
God bless the little child behind the plastic wall
For all he knows is the ringing of the bells and
the blurred images around him. He has been taken
from my womb without warning and I long to hold him
in my arms.
Lord, I ask in your name that my child be healed.
I am willing to accept your decision no matter what
it will be. I am willing to take on the responsibilities
for caring for this child. I am willing to give this
child love and understanding no matter the cost.
Please Lord help me to accept reality and what has
happened without explanation or warning. Help me
face the fact that this is not my fault and that
I was given a special task to complete here on Earth.
God give my child the strength to make it through another
second, minute, hour and day as each moment is
a blessing and a triumph from heaven.
God, may you give the strength and compassion
to the caregivers and nurses that take care of my child
May you keep my child protected and free from all injury
Please take away the guilt and burden from my heart dear
Lord. It is heavy and I feel it is all my fault.
Take it away dear Lord. Sweet Jesus allow me the stregnth
and understanding I need to communicate with the Doctors
As you see dear Lord, I am at your mercy for the life of
my child. Please leave him here on Earth and know that
I will provide all the love and understanding that
this child needs. I accept the challenge and will be
your humble servant dear Lord.
I have a request to make.
Just a moment of your time it will take.
You see, my parents, are heartbroken and sad,
and they have prayed to you with all they had.
Could you just hug them and remind them you care,
as they are wishing I was at home, not here.
This time is confusing, unlike how they pictured it would be,
But I want them to know that you take care of me.
Although I am sleeping in this little bed,
and I am often too tired to raise my little head,
please remind them that I know they did their very best.
And that at night I am protected as I sleep upon your chest.
They think I am so lonely when they are away,
and if I could tell them, I would say
“I know this is hard, and God understands,
But just know He has never let go of my hand.
He is always with me, like He is with you,
and all this has a purpose too.”
And God, while I am in this temporary N.I.C.U. home,
I just want them to know I have never been alone.
Dear God, as you look down upon us,
We know that you might have to squint.
We’re located here in the NICU
It’s the nursery that we rent.
There are many alarms and sirens,
Connected to condos and flats.
The nurses tape our booties on,
And dress us in funny hats.
We have a lot in common;
All of us were in a hurry.
For many different reasons,
Our storks came a little early.
Some of us don’t know why,
We bursted out from our bubbles.
We entered into this world,
Never meaning to cause any troubles.
Mommy and Daddy are worried sick
About the odds that we must beat.
Please God, help them to realize,
That seeing us grow is a treat.
Breath by breath, we’ll learn to breathe.
Ounce by ounce we’ll tip the scale.
We’re like a boat in the ocean,
That knows not sink- only sail.
For we are living miracles,
Mommy and Daddy must simply believe,
That you have angels watching over us;
From the time we arrive, till the time we leave.
Our gracious heavenly father, thank you for this precious
child that you have given this family.
Lord, we know from your Word that you never leave us or forsake us.
We call upon your name for comfort in our hour of need
for you are our strength, our only refuge, and we seek
peace in this time of uncertainty.
Our hearts are overwhelmed with fear and doubt.
You, Lord, are the Great Healer.
We ask that you pour out your great healing
power on this precious little lamb of yours.
Bless and keep this little one surrounded with your
abundant love and mercy.
This is the prayer of our hearts. We ask these things in the precious
name of your Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.
bless this dear child,
born before their time,
yet made in your image
and perfect in your sight
and Father, we ask that if it be
Thy will, that this beautiful
infant grow strongers and
healthier with each passing day.
Give us, O Lord, the strength
to entrust to your care,
this precious little one
so very much beloved,
and grant us the grace
to pray as Jesus taught us,
that ‘Thy will be done.’
Check out the following video for a powerful prayer on healing. Reciting these words will help ease the pain and seek a blessing from God.