Many objects fit comfortably in the palms of our hands. Apples, coins, playing cards … but not babies. At least not a newborn human baby boy of 6 or 7 pounds (approx. 3 kg).
Matthew Riddle III, of Louisville, Kentucky, was born a little different. Weighing in at just 1 pound 2 ounces at birth (approx. 510 g), little Matthew really could fit into the palms of his mom and dad’s loving hands. But he wasn’t a “preemie.” Matthew’s story is even more extraordinary.
Parents of baby born with rare form of dwarfism launch appeal so he can get treatment https://t.co/g5g1GL2EQ5
— The Independent (@Independent) October 31, 2016
Fast-forward seven months and little Matthew weighed in at just over 3 pounds (approx. 1 kg). You’d be forgiven for thinking that he was a newborn, and many people did. WLKY-TV met the baby boy’s parents to discuss his unique diagnosis and rather incredible journey from the NICU to a healthier, happier home life.
Doctors first noticed that something wasn’t right when mom-to-be Jenevieve Cook was pregnant; the baby was induced after only 28 weeks. Baby Matthew was born and spent 98 days in the NICU, but his distraught parents were none the wiser.
So adorable!! When people meet baby Matthew, they think he is a newborn. In reality, Matthew, who weighs only three pounds, is actually seven months old.
“Before we got discharged, they said he had microcephaly,” Jenevieve opened up. “We were told Matthew would not live very long,” she continued, sadly, “to not expect value of life.”
However, two months later, the family got answers; Matthew’s diagnosis was MOPD Type 2, a rare form of primordial dwarfism. “We were told Matthew would walk, he would talk, he would go to school,” Jenevieve regaled. “He would just be extraordinarily small.”
The industrious parents quickly came up with a clothing solution for their brave little man. They dressed Matthew in clothes made for dolls and “Build-A-Bear” teddy bears; the clothes fit well, and their baby boy was more comfortable than he would have been wearing clothes made for newborns that were still much too big.
“We get, ‘Was he just born 5 minutes ago?'” Jenevieve shared, referring to the responses that her little boy amassed in the early months. Tactless strangers took to asking whether Matthew had been born premature. They even ventured, bluntly: “Why is he so small?”
Baby Matthew received treatment in Delaware, but it wasn’t long before the family was sent to California to pursue skull surgery; Matthew had been diagnosed with moyamoya, a progressive, cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries in the brain.
The baby boy was at risk of strokes and brain aneurysms, and time was of the essence.
One of my favorite pics of matthew. This was just after we came home from his surgeries in California.
“We do get a lot of people who are encouraging, and they’re kind,” Jenevieve told the news channel. “But we also get a lot of people that are just beyond belief. They’re shocked when they see him.”
The family rallied around their brave little boy and his multiple surgeries but were quickly burdened by financial worries. They set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for Matthew’s mounting medical treatments, and to date, the page has gratefully received $19,000 toward a $30,000 goal.
“Matthew will be just like everybody else,” his loving mom affirmed. “‘He’ll be out there throwing the ball like a regular kid, he’s just extra small.” Matthew’s family continues to share his inspiring story of survival in the hope that others will learn to embrace difference.
Matthew’s family, including two supportive older brothers, is trying to make sure the little boy grows up feeling normal, capable, happy, and accepted.
“There is nothing wrong with just being different,” Jenevieve confirmed.