J.R. Smith, a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers, says touching his premature child for the first time was one of the “best days” of his life. Smith posted a photo on social media of the touching moment he held Dakota for the first time, a month after his wife, Jewel Harris, announced that she had given birth to her daughter Dakota very early. “Today is one of the most memorable days of my life.”
Today I can hold my youngest son for the first time! God is great! #DakotaStrong,” Smith, 31, captioned the Instagram snap.
Smith and Harris, who have been married since last August, shared the news of Dakota’s premature birth in a video posted to Uninterrupted on January 7. “We have essential news,” said J.R. in the video. “Hello, everyone,” Jewel added. “We decided to share with the world what has been happening with our family in the last five days. We know many of you wished us the best with the pregnancy of our beautiful baby girl, but she arrived five months early. Dakota, who is five days old and weighs one pound, is her name.” Jewel then explained the couple’s motivations for reaching out to the public. “We know that we are not the only family facing this that has, or will in the future.” That is why we decided to share what we are going through with you. Please keep us in your prayers, and we will do the same for everyone else.”
Dakota remains hospitalized in the NICU while J.R. and his family stay by her side. Harris has been posting updates about Dakota on his blog, mykotabear.com. “I am very grateful to have seen this day; for more than two hours, she and I soaked in each other’s presence. Her numbers on her monitors told me that this experience was all of that and a bag of chips for her; the look and smile on my face did the same for me,” Harris writes on her blog. “Next in line was daddy; aka daddy bear; when I tell you this man was skinning himself and smiling, I felt his energy was vibrant and contagious.”
J.R. Smith, a Cleveland Cavaliers player, says holding his premature baby for the first time was one of the “best days” of his life