|Sweet baby Jacob at home in November 2001|
|Me with Jacob in November 2001|
We had just learned that my baby brother had been killed in a car accident, only weeks before his 21st birthday. After receiving this horrific news, my husband and I immediately boarded a plane in Georgia with our infant son, bound for Texas to be with my mom and sister.
Just as the shock of his death was beginning to sink in, my baby sister went into premature labor at 29 weeks pregnant. A little over 24 hours after my brother died, my sister gave birth to a tiny new baby boy. He didn't have a name yet; that was still to be decided.
He was the teeniest thing, at 2.9 lbs. and 15 inches long. He was rushed into the NICU upon birth and spent the next three months there, growing and getting stronger each day.
The day of his birth was monumental for us. We were all still in shock over the loss of Randal and grieving would take many more days and weeks and months, even years, to bring any of us to any kind of normalcy again. My sister, too, was very sick with a severe form of preeclampsia that she almost didn't survive.
Yet there was this brand-new baby boy who was struggling for his own life and we were thrust into a situation of many conflicting emotions. We were devastated at our loss and exhausted from the first hours of raw anguish; worried about the health of my sister and terrified that this precious new life was in danger, yet elated that this baby was with us and now a part of our family. It was purely outrageous and bizarre, and it was all ours.
My sister did survive her illness and my nephew, who was eventually named Jacob Brant, grew stronger each day and came home in November, over 90 days after his birth.
He has grown into a marvelous little boy. He is strong and healthy, amazingly athletic, smart, and handsome. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and is the perfect combination of his mother and father. He's mischevious and funny and popular with his peers. He's the kind of kid you want to be friends with and the one you pick first to be on your team. He will make you laugh and beat you at any game, so competitive is his nature. He's my fabulous nephew, Jacob Brant.
Happy Birthday, Jacob!
|Happy Birthday, Jacob!|
Jacob thought this picture was hilarious because his mom calls him the "bottomless pit" as he never stops eating. This photo was taken inside Carlsbad Caverns this summer.