12/11/2014 11:18 GMT | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Couple Marry In Neonatal Hospital Ward Beside Premature Baby Son


A couple whose premature baby has been in hospital since September decided to hold their wedding at his bedside in the neonatal intensive care unit where he is fighting for his life.

Kristi Warriner and Justin Nelson, from Texas, have had a traumatic couple of months.

The engaged couple, who have an eight-year-old daughter, were expecting identical twin boys when Kristi suddenly went into labour 15 weeks early.

Tragically, one of the twins was stillborn. The surviving twin, JJ - which stands for Justin Jr. - was born weighing just 1lb 13oz and battling a chronic lung disease.

Since his birth on September 2, Kristi and Justin have kept a wearying and emotional vigil beside JJ's cot. Now only a few weeks off his predicted birth date, his weight has risen to a reassuring 6lb 8oz, but his illness means that he still needs around-the-clock care from medical staff.

Kristi and Justin had been planning to get married during her pregnancy, but had to postpone their plans when she was catagorised as a high-risk pregnancy.

After JJ's birth, the pair were keen to marry as soon as possible, but neither wanted a ceremony without their son alongside them.

With JJ unlikely to leave hospital for weeks, they came up with an unusual solution - to have their wedding beside his cot in Cook Children's Hospital.

It was an unusual request, but staff at the hospital helped to arrange a ceremony in the NICU, with the help of local businesses moved by the couple's story who donated a bridal gown and flowers.

Kristi and Justin's daughter Carissa acted as a flower girl, while JJ was dressed up in a tuxedo babygrow to act as a ring bearer.


"It's not what you dream of as a little girl. It's even better," the newly-wed Kristi told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I couldn't have asked for a more perfect wedding."

Poignantly, the bride's 'something blue' was the blue wristband issued to visitors to the intensive care unit.

JJ slept through most of the ceremony, but woke up in time for the wedding photos. His parents are hoping that he will be home in time for a family Christmas at home.

"We thank God every day for J.J. getting better and stronger," Kristi said. "Our biggest mission with all this was to help others know they are not alone. I hope we've touched somebody's life and let them know there is hope after tragedy."

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