When you look into 11-month-old Reyker Colglazier’s huge, blue eyes and take in his infectious smile, it’s hard to believe how tiny and fragile he once was. “He’s such a happy baby,” says his mother, Becky Colglazier. “We’re so extremely blessed to have him in our lives.”

Before Reyker’s dramatic birth in January 2013, Becky was admitted to Bloomington Hospital. She had been sick to her stomach, and severe dehydration led to premature labor contractions. A few days later, still 13 weeks before her due date, Becky got out of her hospital bed and felt like something was very wrong. “The doctor came in and said, ‘The baby is right there, do not push,’” Becky recalls. Her husband, Scott, was in the waiting room with his parents. “I called Scott at 1:15 and told him ‘The baby’s coming!’” Becky recalls. “He ran back into the room, and Reyker was born at 1:17.”

Reyker weighed just 2 pounds, 1 ounce, and was 14 inches long. He was immediately sent by ambulance to the Riley Hospital Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU). As he fought for his life, Becky was still seriously ill too. Eventually, doctors discovered the real cause of her mystery illness that led to Reyker’s early arrival: ulcerative colitis. Becky was grateful for the way Riley neonatologist Dr. Brenda Poindexter showed care and concern not just for Reyker’s health, but for hers too. “Riley is an outstanding hospital,” says Becky. “Everybody there was absolutely fantastic and caring and understanding.”

Reyker thrived at first, but then he became very sick with breathing and feeding complications. He was diagnosed with pharyngomalacia, a condition where part of the airway collapses inward during inhalation. He was on a ventilator for a week-and-a-half, and then received medication to manage his condition. His family could have transferred him to Bloomington Hospital,or elected to receive a tracheotomy so he could come home sooner. But they decided that Riley Hospital, whose neonatal research program has led to life-saving breakthroughs in care for sick babies across the nation, was the very best place for Reyker to heal. 

By March, Becky needed to return to work part-time. “What really impressed me was that when we couldn’t be there, we got phone calls and updates on him, which made things a ton better,” Becky says. “And Child Life and Music Therapy staff members were there to give him stimulation when we couldn’t.” 

On June 6th, Becky and Scott got to bring Reyker home for the first time. The Parent Care program at Riley gave them a “practice run” caring for him on their own the night before they left the hospital. That gave them a much-needed confidence boost. 

Becky and Scott are now filled with deep appreciation, not only for the exceptional care Reyker received at Riley but for the donors whose generosity helps make that care possible. “All of these babies are precious,” says Becky. “Every dollar helps Riley pay for the new technology or research they need to help all of the sick babies.”

Today, when they look at their happy, 18-pound son, the Colglaziers can’t imagine life without him. “He’s just the light in our eyes,” says Becky.

 

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