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NFL's Ryan Kelly and Wife Emma Welcome Twin Rainbow Babies

The Indianapolis Colts center and maternal health advocate's twin boys arrived more than two months ahead of schedule, weighing in at only 2 pounds. Read more about their NICU journey here.
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By Wyndi Kappes, Associate Editor
Updated October 2, 2023

Indianapolis Colts center Ryan Kelly is the proud father of two twin boys!

The NFL Star and maternal health advocate Emma Kelly shared the arrival of their two rainbow babies and their subsequent long and arduous NICU journey with friends and fans on October 1. “Full circle. 12-17-21, I held my daughter knowing this would be the first and last time I ever looked into her eyes. The next year was the darkest period of my life. The darkness turned into the brightest light when we found out we were having twin boys,” Ryan wrote in an Instagram post recounting the loss of his daughter Mary Kate and his new arrivals.

“The Kelly brothers decided to come into this world earlier than anybody anticipated. At 27 weeks pregnant, while in Nashville, Emma went into pre-term labor. A weekend trip turned into 3 months of ups and downs. Ford and Duke were 2 pounds exactly when they were born and immediately admitted into the NICU where they faced a long road ahead. Every day that went by they grew stronger and more resilient to the obstacles in front of them. They’ve been fighters from the very beginning and our daughter watched over them everyday from above,” Ryan shared.

The new dad of twins shared that after three months, mom and their baby boys had finally made it home. “We have an incredible life. Our friends and family helped us in every way. For some reason we were meant to be at that hospital in Nashville,” Ryan said. “To the nurses and doctors at St Thomas Midtown, thank you for caring for our baby boys. NICU doctors and nurses are angels sent from heaven to do the lords work and you can’t change my mind.”

Along with many thanks to their family, friends and hospital team, Ryan also thanked his Colts team and the Irsay family for helping them through their NICU stay. “Lastly, I’ve never been more proud of Emma. She was at the hospital each and everyday with our boys for 3 months. The love I see between her and her boys is what I always dreamed it would be. Life looks a lot different than it did just a year ago and we have a lot to be thankful for. Thankful we never gave up,” he ended his post alongside adorable photos of his newborns.

The Kellys first shared the good news that they were expecting in an Instagram post on May 28. “I think this might be @ryankelly70s favorite “we’re going for two” yet…,” Emma wrote. “So much pain and now so much joy. Our boys will never replace our girl, but I can’t tell you how grateful we are that God chose us for these miracle boys. And how lucky are we to have our little Saint MaryKate guiding us eternally from above.”

In late 2021, the Kelly’s opened up to their followers about the heartbreaking loss of their daughter MaryKate, who was stillborn at 19 weeks old. “We decided to be transparent about our loss, and now trying to conceive for almost a year and our experience with IVF,” Emma said in her post. “Bottom line, so many of us are dealing with these heartbreaking issues and if we could scream this from a mountaintop we would: YOU ARE NOT ALONE. PLEASE DON’T LOSE HOPE.”

Emma also discussed the “fear and anxiety” that came along with sharing their pregnancy news once again but decided that they wanted their twin boys to “be loved, celebrated and acknowledged, not hidden.”

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Since losing her daughter Mary Kate, Emma has been a passionate maternal health advocate lobbying for legislation that can help prevent stillbirths and better mental health care for mothers who have experienced a pregnancy loss.

“If you’ve been following me for the past few months, you know how deeply personal this organization is to Ryan and I,” Emma said in a post announcing her involvement in a recent Healthy Birth Day event. “Our healthcare system has GOT TO DO BETTER when it comes to stillbirth and maternal death rates. Here’s to continuing the good fight and raising more awareness than ever in 2023 and Beyond.”

Our congratulations to the Kellys on their sweet baby boys arrival!

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