Indianapolis Colts football player Ryan Kelly, and wife Emma, are mourning the loss of their daughter, Mary Katherine Kelly.
On Monday, the NFL center posted the news to Instagram alongside a carousel of emotional photos, including the baby's hand print.
"Nothing made me happier than being your Dad," Kelly wrote. "You gave your Mom and I that gift. You were simply a miracle and always will be. I’m sorry you never got to open those sweet eyes and see us or take your first steps but you have angel wings now."
He continued, "You left this world too soon but we know God had a bigger purpose for you. Your mom and I find comfort knowing you’re being loved on by your great grandparents. Thank you for watching over us and your future siblings. I’ll forever wonder who you’d be today. Until we meet again my sweet girl, I love you."
Kelly's wife, Emma, also posted the news to Instagram, saying it was necessary to share so the couple could "begin our healing and accept our new reality."
"There is no easy way for us to say what we’re about to say… but we lost our sweet baby, Mary Katherine Kelly, aka Mary Kate, this week," Emma wrote alongside a carousel of posts from the hospital. "I was 19 weeks along, 1 week from the halfway mark. Women have a 1% chance of losing their baby this far along, and yet somehow, here we are.
The new mom said their pain of their loss feels "evil and cruel."
"I learned her little heart just stopped for reasons unknown on Wednesday afternoon after rushing to the hospital upon discovering a little bleeding. After learning she wasn’t with us anymore, I was told there was no other choice but to deliver our baby next.
"Ryan and I spent almost 48 hours in the hospital. I labored for 24 hours with her before she made her entrance on December 17th.
"I was so angry at first that I had to deliver her, only for it to become the biggest blessing out of this nightmare. It gave Ryan and I the opportunity to hold our little Saint, Mary Kate, before officially saying goodbye to her.
These 19 weeks with her opened our hearts & souls more than we ever imagined possible & I’m forever grateful we had some time, earth-side, with the little girl who made us mom and dad. She was tiny, perfect and incredibly loved from everyone who knew she existed."
According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, by week 20 of a pregnancy, the chance of experiencing a miscarriage is less than 1%. A pregnancy loss at week 20 or beyond is known as a stillbirth, and may cause a person to go into labor.
On October 31, the couple announced they were expecting a baby in 2022 with a Ferris Beuller-themed photo.
Kelly is in his sixth season with the Colts and did not play in Saturday’s game against the New England Patriots, citing a personal matter. In a post-game press conference after their loss to the Colts, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick opened his comments with a hint as to the nature of the matter.
“First of all, I’d like to extend my sympathy to Ryan and his family,” Belichick said. “Our hearts go out to him.”