It's been a tough couple of months for a North Texas couple after they lost one of their children in September in a stillbirth. But in a display of faith and courage, the couple wed Tuesday at the Cook Children's Medical Center's neonatal intensive care unit where their son JJ is recuperating.
JJ was born at just 25 weeks on Sept. 2 along with his twin brother Colt. Sadly, Colt was stillborn. As he was born extremely premature, JJ weighed just a pound and 13 ounces at the time. He was also born with chronic lung disease and has been staying at Cook Children's NICU since then, fighting and struggling to survive.
The good news is JJ was well enough to attend his parents' wedding, now weighing 6 pounds, 8 ounces. Kristi Warriner and Justin Nelson had wanted to wed but didn't get around to actually planning because they were busy caring for JJ. Because of this, staff at Cook Children's decided to help out, pitching in to plan the wedding.
Warriner and Nelson had first considered getting married by a judge but wanted their children, JJ and eight-year-old Carissa to be in attendance. With JJ's condition, he wouldn't be let out of the hospital until at least several weeks so wedding planning took a backseat.
The couple had spent many nights beside JJ in the NICU, also spending his first Halloween there. This is where Cook Children's allowed the couple to marry, right beside JJ's crib to make sure the little man would be able to serve his duty as ring bearer, looking all dapper in a tuxedo onesie.
Colt was also with the family in spirit, represented by a Dallas Cowboys teddy bear sitting beside JJ, who also dressed up as a Dallas Cowboy football player for Halloween.
The Nelsons are hoping JJ will be well enough to be allowed home in time for Christmas.
Premature births are classified as births before 37 weeks of pregnancy. In 2012, over 450,000 babies were born prematurely. That's one out of every nine infants born in the United States. Due to insufficient development in the womb, premature births are the leading cause of neurological disabilities in children. Other health problems premature babies may face include hearing impairment, breathing difficulties, feeding problems, and vision issues.