In January, the Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith and his wife, Jewel “Shirley” Harris Smith, shared some difficult news about their family. The couple welcomed their baby daughter, Dakota, five months early.
Since then, Dakota has been fighting to survive in the NICU. On Tuesday, J.R. posted a photo of one milestone moment on Instagram.
“Today is one of the greatest days of my life,” he wrote in the caption. “Today I get to hold my youngest for the first time! GOD is GREAT! #DakotaStrong”
The Smiths have been documenting Dakota’s time in the NICU on social media. When Dakota was just over a week old, J.R. posted a photo of his older daughter Demi gazing at her baby sister in an incubator.
Dakota’s mom has been sharing updates on a blog and Instagram account called “My Kota Bear.”
On Tuesday, she also posted a photo of herself holding Dakota for the first time.
”I think my facial expression says it ALL!!” she wrote in the caption.
The mom expanded on the experience in a blog post. “Thirty-four days later it was time; time for me to smell her, time for her to rest in my spirit and most importantly time for her to lay on my heart,” she explained. “My sweet Dakota, your touch has calmed my soul and your warmth has fueled the energy I needed to keep going.”
She also described the sight of J.R. holding Dakota. “When I tell you this man was skinning and grinning I felt his energy it was vibrant and contagious,” the mom wrote. “Kota Bear looked like a little shrimp laying on her dads chest, I called my view of them two a miraculous work of art because his tattoos surrounded her tiny body in such a unique way; she added another piece to the story that was already permanently written on his body.”
Keeping the Smiths and baby Dakota in our thoughts!