Jaden Wesley was supposed to be born in November. Instead, he arrived four months early on July 11, weighing in at only 13 ounces — well below the 120 ounces of an average newborn.
According to Today Parents, his mom, Ellonn Smartt, knew something was wrong when her water broke at 23 weeks pregnant. But as a mother to one already — a three-year-old named Elijah — she knew staying calm was her best defence.
“I knew if I panicked, the baby would pick up on that and get stressed,” she recounted. “I couldn’t let that happen.”
Smartt, 25, said she was “heartbroken” when she was told by her Methodist Medical Center doctor that the situation was serious.
“They said I was going to have to deliver in the next day or two and there was a good chance he wouldn’t survive,” she said. “That was the moment when I fell apart.”
Despite the odds, Smartt gave birth to her second child with her boyfriend, Jordan Morrow, 27, at her side.
Though they haven’t been able to hold their child yet, given he’s being incubated, Smartt said they “go in and talk to him” as often as they can.
“His arms and toes were moving and he was trying to breathe on his own. He’s our little miracle,” she said.
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Morrow started a GoFundMe in support of his baby boy and to keep his loved ones informed of the baby’s progress.
Speaking as Jaden, his dad writes on the fundraising platform: “I’ve heard them use terms like ‘amazing’ and ‘remarkable’ to describe me so far — not bad for someone under 1 pound, huh?”
“My parents and grandma are going to use this site to let you know how I’m coming along in the NICU,” the page continued.
Smartt and Morrow’s story has clearly touched the lives of many people. Almost 150 users have donated a total of US$4,394 in just two weeks, well surpassing their goal of $2,500.
Care for the average preemie costs parents around $49,000 per year, CNN reported in 2009 after a study was released on the topic.
Among the donations was one from Danielle Fontaine, who left a heart-wrenching message with it.
“In honour of the little girl I lost. Faith, watch over this little boy and help him continue to fight,” she wrote.
Sharing pictures of her premature baby, born at one pound 14 ounces, Lori Kubitschek Plucker shared her own story along with her donation.
Jaden has to stay incubated in the hospital until his actual due date in November.