8/52 + A 2.5 LB MIRACLE

 The 52 Project – a portrait series of my daughter, once a week, every week, in 2013 – inspired by Jodi

This weekend I was flooded with thankfulness.  First heart break….then overwhelming thankfulness.

We learned on Saturday that my husband’s twin sister Hannah, who lives in Colorado, went into pre-term labor and delivered her baby boy at just 30 weeks.  The cause was unknown, because by the time she got to the hospital she was already 100% dilated and the doctors had to perform an emergency c-section.  Obviously, this was not something she was prepared for at all.  James was born weighing only 2.5 pounds.  The doctor’s said he is doing as well as he can be, but there will be some inevitable bumps down the road given how premature he is.  Not to mention a long wait before he can be home and in his mothers arms.  My heart broke when I heard the news.  I can’t imagine the fear….the uncertainty of those moments leading up to his birth.  Not knowing if he would be born with complications or even survive.  And then, the feelings of helplessness as a mother, looking at your precious baby, unable to hold him…hooked up to all sorts of machines.  I can’t help but cry when I think about it.  It makes me want to hold Rylee tight, and thank God for her health and well-being.  And it certainly brings a new perspective to the fragility of life.

We will keep praying everyday for this little miracle, for his strength and growth, and if you’re inspired, maybe you can do the same.  If you or someone you know has experienced something similar, or if you have a premie “success story”, feel free to share in the comments below.  I’d love to pass along some encouragement to Hannah.

 Rylee is wearing: Fawn Dress c/o Minette and Milo , headband c/o Oh Cozy Knits

  1. Crystal

    Oh Kelli! My heart breaks for your family. Please send my love to your sister-in-law. There is no greater gift than a child. Motherhood always is a difficult task, for your heart will forever live on the outside in your children. But to watch as a new life begins with struggle, I cannot even imagine how your sister is coping. She must have amazing strength. And you know, so to does her babe.

    This babe will see and feel the love and blossom. Moments, as always are precious. See the light in these moments and have hope and call upon your faith.

    Sending you light and love and thinking of you all in this time of greatest need

  2. Grace

    My heart goes out to Hannah. Im definately hugging my lil Kobe bear that bit more thinking how lucky we are for health & happiness. My lil cousin was born 5 weeks premature (cause unknown) roughly born the size of a margarine container (so teeny tiny). She was in intensive care for a while but is now a perfectly healthy teenager.


  3. Mnêmosunê

    Hello Kelli,

    It’s hard for me to figure how difficult it is not to be unable to hold your baby as I’m not (yet ?) a mother., but I easily imagine the fear Hannah is feeling.
    But please, tell her that when I was born, I was nearly as small as James and I’m now 28, and everything is ok for me. When you are wrapped with love, it helps development and recovery.
    Sending you the best (to all) for facing this…

  4. Alice

    Hey Kelli,
    18 years ago I was born at 30 weeks weighing 2 pounds, and well I’m here writing this, It can’t have been an easy time for my parents – my mum also had lots of complications due to my early arrival – having to leave me in hospital every night but we came out the other side and have a really strong family unit, possibly due to the possibility that my mum and dad nearly lost me and dad nearly lost mum too.
    Keep looking on the bright side

  5. kelsey

    My little sister was born at 27 weeks, and while she had to remain in the hospital for four months after her birth because of a bout with RSV, she’s now a completely healthy, albeit petite, 14-year-old girl! I will certainly keep Hannah and sweet, tiny James in my prayers.

  6. christine

    Lots of Love, Wellness, and Strength to James and his entire family. He is feeling and appreciating the support rallying around him. I’m getting the feeling that He was just so darn excited to come into this beautiful world – he just couldn’t wait! xoxoxo

  7. Kendra


    Just last month a friend of mine developed pre-eclampsia and delivered her baby boy at about 28 weeks. He was born weighing 1lb. 15 oz. and it was terrifying for everyone, not knowing how he would do. He’s over 2 lbs. now and getting stronger every day!

    It’s definitely a scary time, but I pray your nephew grows to be a strong and healthy baby. Sending lots of love and praying for strength for your family!

  8. AJ

    Keeping Hannah and her family in my thoughts. My twins were born at 25.5 weeks. While sadly we lost our daughter Mya (she had a birth defect of her esophagus as well) we have Stella with us. Stella is now almost 9 years old and has ZERO complications and long term health issues. We knew several 30 weekers when we were in the NICU with our girls, and every single one of them made it home happy and healthy. <3

  9. Kastles

    I love the pictures of Rylee. Her dress is adorable.

    I am sorry to hear about your little nephew & sis in law. The hubby and I will be praying for them & for your family. God Bless Kelli

  10. Katrina

    Hey Kelli, thoughts are definitely with baby James. I think it’s this stage when the Mother can only look at him and not hold him that are the hardest. My nephew was born at 26 weeks…. Olivia started to show signs of early labor at 24 weeks and they put her on bed rest and said they were hoping she could last until 30 weeks. Hudson was in NICU for 3 months and now he is 6months old and hitting every milestone like a boss. There are definitely little bumps in the road, when he first came home he had to go back on oxygen which made things hard for his mama but it was only 3 weeks in the grand scheme of their amazing life together. It’s a trying time but it sounds like they have incredible support in you and the rest of your family…. That certainly goes a long way.

    • kelli

      Thanks Katrina! Your right. I think believing that he will come out of this ok is what is keeping Hannah together right now. So thankful for all that doctors are able to do these days to help these little one’s to grow up healthy! “…hitting every milestone like a boss” I love it!

  11. Miranda

    Hey Kelli,

    Praying and praying for you little nephew! My niece was born at 33 weeks, but she was at the developmental stage of a 28 weeks old. She was just 2.5 lbs herself. She was so tiny and hooked up to all sorts of machines to help her stay healthy. After a month of praying and her parents visiting her every day in the NICU, she came home at around 4 lbs.
    Her 5th birthday was just last week and I have never met a smarter, sweeter, funnier, silliest girl in the whole world. She takes my breath away when I remember what a beginning she had and you couldn’t tell anything today.
    I will continue to pray for baby James!

  12. ana {bluebirdkisses}

    your sis in law and her family are in my prayers. My best friend was born at just 25 weeks. There is an amazing photograph of her dad holding her inside the incubator in the palm of his hand…literally. She had a long tough road to overcome as well but she is about to turn 30, she is wildly successful and such an amazing person. I have no doubt that your little nephew will follow the same fate.

  13. grace

    hi Kelli,

    will be praying for James & his mommy, daddy & you all <3 !

    P.S. My twin & I were born 2 months pre-mature. We stayed in the hospital for months & were on monitors for months as well. Thankfully the Lord blessed us & we had no later complications. Praying that the James will continue to grow into a strong healthy little man!

  14. Rebecca

    I work in a children’s hospital and I see tons of premature babies in the NICU every day. I can honestly say as a medical professional, I feel a sense of hope more often than despair when I see these little ones! The amazing medical technology and advancements in neonatology today make such a big difference for babies born early. There is so much that can be done to help them grow and develop! Machines and monitors can be so scary, but know that they are helping your baby get better and helping the doctors know how to give your baby the best care possible. God is watching over all of these babies!

  15. Lindsay

    I will be keeping your family and Hannah’s in my prayers! Definitely going to hug my little ones extra tight today.

    Side note: Love your daughters shirt!

  16. Jessica

    Hi Kelli,

    I can relate to what Hannah’s going through completely. My daughter, Elianna, was born at 30 weeks and weighed 2.6 lbs. I too went into preterm labor, and still to this day, the cause is unknown. I had an emergency c-section and Elianna came out not breathing and unresponsive. She survived the first 24 hours and afterwards the Dr’s began discussing the possibility of mental disability because of the lack of oxygen (and not knowing how long she was without it) to her brain. We spent 8 weeks in the hospital and I had my first hold 6 days after she was born. She had an MRI and went through many brain scans/testing. Our world was turned upside down when this happened, and at times, I didn’t know how we would ever recover! I didn’t know a single person with a similar experience and I felt myself pretty much shutting down. I think what you are doing is great – asking others to share their stories so Hannah knows she’s not alone. The outpouring of support & prayers from family, friends, the medical team, and complete strangers was what kept my husband and I going. (And each other – my husband and I were each other’s rock through this difficult time.)

    Elianna will be celebrating her 3rd birthday in April and she has recovered completely. She passed her MRI and other tests with flying colors and has evolved into this amazing, beautiful little person with a huge personality (and attitude!). It’s truly unbelievable what these little babies can endure, and how hard they fight to keep growing and getting stronger. I’ll pray for James and Hannah, for healing, strength, and understanding.

    PS I don’t know if Hannah will find this useful, but I used to bring in story books and sit by Elianna’s incubator every day and read her stories. That was my way of coping and letting her know I was there (and she could hear my voice).

    Hope these stories/posts bring Hannah and her family some comfort!


    • kelli

      wow! What an incredible testimony you have Jessica! So thankful for your daughter’s health! Thanks for sharing your story and offering that encouragement! xo.

  17. Natasha

    I totally love these pictures of Rylee!

    My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. I only wish I could offer more xxx

  18. Jake

    Hey Kelli,

    My thoughts and prayers are absolutely with little James and your entire family.

    I am happy to share that I was born premature over 30 years ago and luckily have had no lingering complications. Like Amy, it had to be difficult for my family but it certainly had to have drawn everyone us closer.

    I grew up with my Grandmother relating a story to me that I have always liked and perhaps Hannah will too.

    She says that when I was in the hospital, that my doctor claimed that his favorite babies were the premature ones; simply because, time and time again, they seemed to defy odds with an even greater innate will to survive and persevere than most. He said that when they would come back to visit him years later, they always seemed to have a little something extra that others didn’t. His kind and encouraging words sure helped my family and I hope relaying them helps yours.

    Anyways, thanks for your willingness to be vulnerable and share such a personal experience. Your posts and peoples responses (especially to this one) are what allows me to relate and see the good in the world…which there is a lot of.

    PS: That first photo of Rylee is magic!

    • kelli

      Wow Jake, I love that so much! Thanks for sharing that story….it amazes me, the strength of such tiny human beings. I have no doubt they carry that extra strength as they grow.

  19. Ilana

    Awh Kelli, although I cannot say I have been through anything remotely similar to what Hannah is going through, but sending every little prayer and encouragement her way! It must be a really tough time for your family, so good luck to you too Kelli – stay strong, keep believing and persevering! xx

  20. Kate

    Hey Kelli, I know this post is a few days old, but I wanted to share my brother’s story with you so you can pass it on. He was born at 26 weeks. He was so tiny he fit in my father’s hand, and they thought his chances of survival were slim-to-none. He’s now 28 years old. While the process was pretty harrowing for my parents – he spent 6 months in an incubator in hospital, and had to be on oxygen for another 6 – he’s now the healthiest person I know. Seriously, he’s had ab



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