ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — You may have seen a billboard high above the Capital Region in recent weeks and wondered how the handsome little guy at the center became the ambassador for the March of Dimes walk this year. This is the story of how Mr. Miracle got his nickname.
When we first meet Jax, he’s showing everyone where his nose and teeth are and giving two thumbs up. He is as curious and active as any almost 3 year old around. He’s small for his age now, but a far cry from when he was born prematurely.
His mom, Katrina, recalled how scary it was.
“He was see through,” she said. “His skin was see through, so you could see all the veins and everything. It was really very scary, honestly.”
A full-term pregnancy is 40 weeks. About 1 in 10 babies are born too soon, that’s anything before 37 weeks.
Jax was born at 24 weeks when the chance of survival is around 50 percent. He weighed just one pound, nine ounces.
“He was tiny; he was really tiny,” his NICU nurse, April St. Peter, said. “He fit in the palm of my hand.”
St. Peter is now a Family Nurse Practitioner and tracks his progress at CapitalCare Developmental Pediatrics. Katrina is grateful April is still with them.
“It’s amazing. She’s literally been there with me since day one, and now to be here with her, it’s incredible.”
But it was 125 long days in the NICU before these incredible moments, days when fear over the unknown took hold. What did it mean when Jax had a severe brain bleed? Would he need eye surgery? Would he walk?
“We can never be sure what’s going to happen, so we prepare them for the worst and hope for the best,” St. Peter said.
Her nurturing manner helping Katrina and her family through the toughest of times.
“A lot of the things they said he had or was going through I didn’t understand, so it was good to have someone who could break it down for me and let me know everything’s going to be ok.”
After more than four months, Jax was finally ok enough to go home. April bought an outfit for him the day he graduated, a little Superman shirt, because she thought of Jax as her little superhero.
Katrina and her family are grateful for the support of the March of Dimes while they were in the NICU and are now fundraising to give back. And not taking for granted the milestones they weren’t sure they would ever see.
“He’s defying those odds,” St. Peter said. “He has his walker, he’s walking, he’s starting to take individual steps now. He’s really Mr. Miracle.”
And April didn’t just become a part of Jax’s family. She gave Mr. Miracle a soundtrack for the rest of his life.
“He loves country music,” she said. “Katrina doesn’t know, but he loves country music, so we listened to a lot of music together. My theme with him is a Rascal Flatts song. It’s called ‘My Wish.’ It’s a good song for someone who needs to hold on and some prayers, your wish for them is just that they’re going to have the best in life.”
“My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish.”