Jeri-Onna entered the world on November 8th and with her came a tidal wave of hope.
From her first sonogram, Dominique was told not to give birth. Her daughter had great needs. She was missing part of her brain; her bones were weak and malformed, and her lungs were so small doctors doubted she'd be able to bring enough oxygen to her tiny body. What is God's purpose for Jeri-Onna and her mother? We may never fully know, but after that first sonogram Dominique said to anyone who would listen "God has a plan."
Keep in mind Dominique was under care at Good Counsel's Spring Valley home. Good Counsel is a place for homeless, abused and neglected pregnant women who elsewhere are told for societal reasons they cannot -- should not have their child. How easy would it have been and who would have judged Dominique if she put this unplanned pregnancy behind her, listened to the doctors and aborted her daughter, Jeri-Onna? But she trusted in God first. She put God's wishes first. She followed God's plan for her life and her daughter's first.
Jeri-Onna was not expected to be born alive, and if she was there was little to no chance she would ever open her eyes and survive long after birth. But Dominique believed in her instincts as a mother, her fierce bond with her daughter in utero. "God has a plan." Jeri-Onna was born November 8th at 12:24pm. She weighed 6 lbs 1oz and was 13.5" As Dominique held her baby close, Jeri-Onna defied odds and opened her eyes, her breathing became stronger, the fight and will to live within her so strong that even skeptical doctors recognized this was not the end.
Jeri-Onna has been cared for in the NICU since her birth with her mother by her side. On January 8th she turned 2 months old and at her mother's request was baptized. "God has a plan."
On April 8th, we celebrated the 5-month birthday of our beloved baby, Jeri-Onna. She has proven be an extraordinary little warrior. God has been faithful; He has a plan. Jeri-Onna has continued to live and grow, and has more than doubled her birth weight.
Jeri-Onna likes to listen to music that Dominique leaves playing near her hospital bed. Her mother likes to dress her up and she looks particularly adorable dressed in pink. Although this has been a stressful time for her, Dominique continues her devotion to her daughter and accepts her her illness. One day recently, Dominique emphatically stated that even with Jeri-Onna’s limitations, “She is my daughter!”
Continuing to grow stronger each day, Jeri-Onna has a long road ahead of her, but her disabilities will not define who God created her to be. With a champion in her mother, who will never stop believing in her little girl or God's will for their lives, we are looking forward to the great miracles that will continue to unfold.
To those of you who have been following this story through our social media or email correspondence and praying fervently we want to thank you --your prayers have great power. Please continue to pray for Jeri-Onna, her mother and all women and children who come to Good Counsel. No one’s life is without struggle and some need assistance more than others. It is our mission to help women carry their burdens; to be a light in their world reflecting God's love and mercy no matter their circumstance.
Our Lady of Good Counsel, pray for us.
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