A Texas couple, Justin Nelson and Kristi Warriner, married last week in Cook Children’s Hospital where their preemie son, Justin Jr., served as ring bearer. The couple also wished to honor JJ’s stillborn twin, Colt Austin.

“[The wedding] was a dream come true,” Warriner said. “The main thing was having our son there by our side. It meant the world to us.”

The parents originally planned to be wed by a justice of the peace before the babies were born, but they decided, “We just couldn’t do it without having both kids there.”

The wedding plans were postponed once Nelson and Warriner discovered that the twins suffered from twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, a rare condition which prevents identical twins from receiving enough nutrients from their shared placenta.

Warriner gave birth to the babies on September 2, four months early.  JJ survived, but weighed only 1 pound 13 ounces. Tragically, JJ’s brother Colt died in utero.

JJ will remain in NICU until his lungs develop further, but his parents hope to take him home within the next month.  He has so far tripled in size.

“We thank God every day for JJ getting better and stronger,” Nelson said.

Preemie Baby

The couple wed in JJ’s room with their eight year old daughter Carissa, some family, a few Cook Hospital staff, and local media as witnesses.

“Our mission behind sharing our story was to let those that have been there, are there or unfortunately could one day be there [know] that they are not alone,” Warriner said.

Nelson and Warriner’s wedding was the first to take place in Cook Children’s Hospital.

“It’s our desire to try to not only help kids become happy, healthy, and strong but their families too,” Cook Children’s spokesperson Winifred King said.

The hospital coordinated details of the wedding, including a camera crew to document the ceremony.

“It’s not what you dream of as a little girl. It’s even better,” Warriner said. “I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect wedding.”

Hana is currently pursuing an undergraduate English degree with a Spanish minor at Concordia University Portland. She loves creative writing and reading children's books and someday hopes to publish her own. Favorite hobbies include cooking, cleaning, eating ice cream, and singing Disney princess songs.