Cleveland Cavaliers star J.R. Smith says holding his preemie baby for the first time was one of “the greatest days” of his life.
One month after Smith and his wife Jewel Harris announced that she’d given birth to their daughter, Dakota, very prematurely — the NBA star shared a photo on social media of the tender moment he held their baby for the first time.
“Today is one of the greatest days of my life. Today I get to hold my youngest for the first time! GOD is GREAT! #DakotaStrong,” Smith, 31, captioned the Instagram snap, posted on Monday.
Smith and Harris, who have been married since last August, shared news of Dakota’s early birth in a video posted to Uninterrupted on January 7.
“We’ve got very important news,” J.R. said in the video.
“Hi, everybody,” Jewel added. “We decided to share with the world what’s been going on with our family the past five days. We know a lot of you guys congratulated us on the expectancy of our little baby girl, but we had her five months early. She’s five days old today and her name is Dakota and she weighs one pound.”
Jewel went on to explain the couple’s motives for reaching out to the public.
“We know we’re not the only family going through this, who has been through this, and who will ever go through it. That’s why we decided to share what we’re going through with you guys. Please keep us in your prayers and we’ll do the same for everyone else.”
Dakota remains hospitalized in the NICU as J.R. and his family stay by her side.
Harris has been posting updates on Dakota on her blog, mykotabear.com.
“I am so grateful to have seen this day, for over two hours her and I soaked in each other’s presence. The numbers on her monitors told me this experience was all that and a bag of chips for her; the look and smile on my face did the very same for me,” Harris writes on her blog. “Next In line was daddy also known as poppa bear 🙂 when I tell you this man was skinning and grinning I felt his energy it was vibrant and contagious.”