Short & Sweet
A Texas couple married in the NICU Tuesday beside their infant son after suffering an unthinkable loss: the stillbirth of their baby's twin brother. But the Nelsons want their story to inspire, not sadden.
Kristi Warriner and Justin Nelson said "I do" in a rather non-traditional place: the neonatal ICU at Cook Children's Medical Center in Fort Worth, Texas.
"We wanted our family together. He couldn't leave the NICU, so we brought the wedding to him," Kristi Nelson told TODAY.com about her son JJ, who was born prematurely in September at just 1 pound, 13 ounces.
The Nelsons have been by his side ever since. Amazingly, JJ now weighs 6 pounds, 5 ounces.
JJ played an important part in his parents' wedding, despite being just 36 weeks old. He sported a tuxedo onesie and looked after the wedding rings on a white pillow during the exchange of vows.
Although this was a happy day for the family, they have endured many days of unfathomable sadness. JJ's twin brother Colt was stillborn and will always be in their hearts. And their days of worrying about JJ are not over. He is expected to remain in the hospital through Thanksgiving.
"It is the most heartbreaking thing to ever go through as a parent. Our mission behind all this was to hopefully let others [know] that have been there, are there, or unfortunately one day could be in a similar situation as ours, and let them know they are not alone," Nelson said.
As many as 450,000 preterm births occurred in the United States last year. Thank you to this brave family for sharing their story and for trying to bring hope to other families who are holding vigils in NICUs across the country.