When Brooklyn Jones went into premature labor, she and husband Grant learned the NICU closest to their home would not have room for their son.

They ended up traveling two hours to Regional One Health’s Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center, where they’ve been since late October.

Despite the challenges posted by the distance, they say they are exactly where they need to be thanks to the kindness, support and expert care baby Riggs has received.

When they learned the NICU closest to their home didn’t have space for their son, Brooklyn and Grant Jones were faced with the challenge of traveling two hours for the care he needed.

But thanks to the compassion, support and incredible care baby Riggs received at Regional One Health’s Sheldon B. Korones Newborn Center during the past two-and-a-half months, they can’t imagine being anywhere else.

“People asked if we thought about having him transferred closer to home, but that never crossed our minds – he’s getting the best care right here,” Brooklyn said. “He’s done so well here, and he’s grown and accomplished so much.”

“We know he’s getting the best care available in this part of the world,” Grant said. “The quality of care has been tremendous. It’s outstanding.”

Brooklyn, a special education teacher, and Grant, a project manager, got married nine years ago. Knowing they wanted a family, they started trying to get pregnant about a year later.

“We had a lot of problems for four or five years. We tried fertility treatments, but still weren’t able to get pregnant,” Brooklyn said.

They decided to apply to become foster parents, knowing they’d be happy to adopt through the foster system if the opportunity presented itself. It wasn’t long before it did: “We got licensed on a Monday and got our now daughter that Tuesday!” Brooklyn said.

Riggs was admitted to the NICU weighing just over 3 pounds. “He’s done so well here, and he’s grown and accomplished so much,” said his mom Brooklyn.

Two years later, in December 2020, Brooklyn and Grant made the adoption official.

Little did they know their family was about to grow again:

“During the adoption process, we found out we were expecting out of the blue – surprise!” Grant laughed. “Our son was born in February of 2021.”

In May of 2023, they learned they were expecting again. For a while, everything went according to plan: “It was a pretty normal pregnancy…up until it wasn’t,” Brooklyn said.

In her 27th week, Brooklyn got home after picking up her daughter at a church hayride and started experiencing mild contractions. Assuming they were Braxton Hicks contractions, she and Grant went to bed and got up the next morning to get ready for work.

Grant was already on his way to work when it became clear something wasn’t right.

“I texted him and said, ‘I think you need to come home, it’s getting worse,’” Brooklyn said. “We took our daughter to her grandma’s house and brought our 2-year-old with us to the hospital. After about 30 minutes they told me I was in active labor and I needed to get to a hospital with a NICU, because he was coming and it was too early.”

Their doctor contacted the nearest NICU, but it was full. Soon, Brooklyn was in an ambulance on the way to Regional One Health, with Grant following close behind.

They arrived on a Thursday morning, and doctors were able to stop labor for a while and give Brooklyn a steroid shot to help the baby’s lungs develop. If she made it until 8 a.m. Saturday, they told her, the shot would have a chance to fully take effect.

Baby Riggs arrived at 9:25 a.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2023, weighing 3 pounds, 1 ounce.

It was a scary time for Brooklyn and Grant.

“We know he’s getting the best care available in this part of the world,” dad Grant said. “The quality of care has been tremendous. It’s outstanding.”

“The doctors told us what could happen, and it was terrifying,” Grant said, noting at first Riggs looked so fragile that he was scared to pick him up. “The nurses convinced me to hold him – I was scared to death, but they said, ‘You’re doing it!’ We’re so thankful for everyone here who has taken care of him when we couldn’t or didn’t know how to.”

“All of the nurses have been wonderful. We’ve really connected with some of them,” Brooklyn said. “They told us exactly what was going on and what was happening next. Anytime there are big changes, they call us. We can call anytime, and we never feel like it’s an inconvenience.”

With Riggs now weighing in at over 7 pounds, he’ll go home as soon as he masters feeding without getting worn out. When he does, Brooklyn and Grant will be ready thanks to the support and encouragement they received from their NICU team.

“I’m most excited for our other kids to meet him,” Brooklyn said. “Our daughter is 11. She’s seen pictures, but she hasn’t gotten to meet him in person, so I don’t think it’s real to her yet. Our son is 2. He’ll kiss the pictures; but it isn’t real to him either. We’re trying to prepare him!”

Grant added they’re simply looking forward to doing the normal things a family does when there’s a newborn in the house…even the exhausting parts.

“Right now, we get here around 3 after work, and we have to leave in a couple hours to get home. That’s been really tough,” he said. “I just want to be able to hold him whenever we want to…I’ll gladly get up at 2 in the morning!”

To support exceptional NICU care for more babies like Riggs, visit regionalonehealthfoundation.org