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baby special occasions

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Hoda Kotb reveals how she kept her adoption a secret

“Today” show host Hoda Kotb revealed in February that she had secretly adopted a daughter, and now she’s talking about how she did it.

In a new interview with E! News, the new mother dished about the adoption process and how she made sure to keep it under wraps until it was finalized.

>> Read more trending news

“I started the application process in the fall, and they said, ‘We can’t make any promises. We wish you good luck. Wait wisely,’” Kotb told E! “I lived my life, but in my journal every night I scribbled ‘Please, God, if you can …’”Kotb was overjoyed when her wish came true on Valentine’s Day but said she trusted only a few close family members and co-host Kathie Lee Gifford with the news before going public.

She described the moment when she found out about the finalization of the adoption.

“I’m in my office, and I’m FaceTiming somebody for some story about God only knows what. My phone has the word ‘project’ on it as a contact, and I use the word ‘project’ so I wouldn’t slip up and say ‘adoption’ because I was trying to keep it very private. Kath, my family and a couple (of) friends knew,” she told E!. “I saw the word ‘project,’ and I stopped the FaceTime, and I stopped everything. I took out a yellow pad and I wrote, ‘11:54 a.m.’ This is the moment it all changed.

“The woman on the other end said, ‘She’s here,’ and that was it.”

Kotb, who temporarily left the “Today” show while she spent a month at home with her new bundle of joy, said that when baby items would arrive to her apartment, she told the doorman that she was hosting a baby shower.

“It’s a crib. Yay, it’s a rocker. Yay, Pampers arrived,” she joked. “There was a point when the cat had to be brought out of the bag, and that’s when I revealed (the news) here on the show.”

Kotb returned to “Today” this week after taking maternity leave to bond with her new baby. She was welcomed back by fans and fellow anchors. The day was emotional for the TV veteran.

“I’m feeling great. I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” she said through joyful tears.

Kidnapping survivor Elizabeth Smart shares first photo of second child

Kidnapping survivor and activist Elizabeth Smart shared the first image of her second child on Easter Sunday. 

>> Read more trending news 

In the picture, Smart’s 2-year-old daughter, Chloe, is snuggled up with her baby brother.

“These two make my Easter perfect!#soinlove #happyeaster #sundaysareforfamily #blessed #bigthingsinlittlepackages,” Smart wrote.

According to People magazine, Smart was due to give birth on April 2, but it has not been confirmed if she gave birth that day. The baby boy’s name has not been revealed.

Smart was kidnapped from her home in 2002 by Brian David Mitchell and was held captive by Mitchell and his wife, Wanda Barzee, for nine months before her rescue in 2003. Since the abduction, Smart has worked as a motivational speaker and has been a contributor to “Crime Watch Daily.”

Smart married Matthew Gilmour in Hawaii in 2012 and welcomed daughter Chloe in February 2015.

Smart posted a photo earlier Sunday of her daughter participating in an Easter egg hunt.

Smart set her Instagram account to private on Monday afternoon.

Texas twins born two weeks apart

Twins usually share the same birthday, but one set of twins in Houston, Texas, will celebrate their birthdays two weeks apart.

>> Read more trending news

Little Amara Woolridge was born in January at just 24 weeks. She weighed 1 pound, 3 ounces.

“When I saw her feet kicking, that was just the best moment,” her mother, LaTroya Woolridge, told KTRK. “At the same time, I was afraid of what was going to happen next because she was so tiny.”

Two weeks later, Arthur Woolridge III arrived, weighing 2 pounds 2 ounces.

LaTroya Woolridge drove herself to the hospital during a storm when she started feeling labor pains.

Doctors made the decision to deliver Amara and hoped that Arthur would be able to develop further before delivery. They worried that their lungs and circulatory systems might not develop properly.

Doctors said the babies are doing well, KTRK reported. LaTroya Woolridge and her husband, Arthur Woolridge II, hope to bring them home soon.

They’re looking forward to the years ahead.

“I can see her saying (to her brother), ‘Oh, I’m going to get my license 14 days before you,’” said LaTroya Woolridge.

What is a baby box and why are some states giving them to new parents?

This week, Alabama will join two other U.S. states — Ohio and New Jersey — in launching a program that offers free baby boxes to families of newborns in the state.

Here’s what you should know about the boxes, their origin and why states are adopting the program:

What is a baby box and where did the idea come from?

The idea originates from 1930s Finland, when nearly one out of 10 infants died in their first year, according to the New York Times.

The Finnish boxes — which include bedding and nearly 50 other items — are given as an incentive for mothers to see a doctor during pregnancy; to obtain one, expecting mothers had to undergo a medical exam during the first four months.

An average of 40,000 boxes are given to Finland’s mothers-to-be every year.

Today, Finland has one of the lowest infant mortality rates in the world — 2.5 for every 1,000 births, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.

Why are U.S. states adopting baby box programs?

The U.S. infant mortality rate — 5.8 for every 1,000 births — is more than double that of Finland.

And according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 3,700 U.S. newborns suffered sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUIDs) in 2015.

One of the big risk factors associated with SUIDs is bed sharing.

When mothers can’t afford cribs, it’s not uncommon for bed sharing to occur.

With the high U.S. infant mortality rate and SUIDs statistics, some states are offering baby boxes to encourage postpartum safe sleep.

Which U.S. states have adopted baby boxes?

New Jersey became the first state to distribute baby boxes to prevent newborn deaths, followed by Ohio and now, Alabama.

California-based Baby Box Co. teamed up with state hospitals, child fatality organizations and other nonprofits to produce and distribute bassinet-sized boxes. According to NPR, New Jersey plans to distribute 105,000 boxes; Ohio, 140,000; Alabama, 60,000. 

What exactly is included in a U.S. baby box?

Though the details may differ across states and countries, the laminated cardboard boxes are usually well-built, mobile and come with a foam mattress and fitted sheet.

Often, the boxes will also include a onesie, diapers, wipes and breastfeeding accessories.

While the Finnish boxes were given to expecting mothers if and only if they underwent a medical exam during the first four months, the boxes in the three states are given away for free to families of newborns.

As part of the U.S. program, parents are expected to educate themselves by watching online videos about SIDs and safe sleep and test their knowledge through a short quiz.

"Through education and awareness, people can make better choices and hopefully we can see fewer children dying," Dr. Kathryn McCans, chair of New Jersey's Child Fatality and Near Fatality review board, told NPR.

Is a Safe Haven Baby Box the same as a baby box?

No. The Safe Haven Baby Box refers to a heated and padded incubator that allows new moms a safe way to give up their babies, rather than simply abandoning them.

In 2016, Indiana installed two boxes at fire stations as an extension of the state’s Safe Haven law, which offers parents complete anonymity when giving up an unwanted newborn younger than 45 days without being arrested or prosecuted, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year.

Learn more about the new baby boxes at

13-ounce baby goes home after 4 months in NICU

The smallest patient to survive at Mount Sinai Hospital in Chicago was given the all clear to leave the neonatal intensive care unit on Wednesday after four months in the NICU.

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Baby Eirianna weighed just 13 ounces when she was born premature on Oct. 4, 2016. She was expected to arrive in January.

She was admitted to Mount Sinai's NICU after her birth, where she received around-the-clock care for 140 days, WLS-TV reported. She's the smallest patient to survive at the hospital.

"She was the smallest baby I ever took care of here," Amanda Kim, a NICU nurse, told WLS.

But according to Sinai Health System, Eirianna now weighs more than 6 pounds and breathes room air.

One of the nurses said it's not obvious that the baby girl was born premature anymore.

Enitan Martins was only 23 weeks pregnant when doctors told her it would be best for her to deliver the baby. Martins, who was on bed rest, had preeclampsia, a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure for which the only cure is delivery of the baby.

"He comes in one day and says, 'We're having the baby now. I'm calling your husband, we're gonna do it,'" Martins told WLS of her doctor.

Doctors performed a C-section, and Eirianna was born so fragile that her parents couldn't touch her for weeks.

This week, after many days and nights at the hospital, Eirianna got to go home with her family.

"I'm just grateful," Martins told WLS. "It's been a long haul."

Read the original story at WLS-TV

Baby Brady named after Tom Brady, named as Patriots take Super Bowl win

Brianna Chambers contributed to this report.

While Tom Brady helped his team make Super Bowl history on Sunday, his latest namesake was just arriving in the world. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Brady James Gaffney was born during the third quarter of the Super Bowl at Falmouth Hospital in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and his parents decided to name him after the popular quarterback. 

Is it a coincidence that Brady was born right as the Patriots began their epic comeback, rallying 31 unanswered points starting in the third quarter? Possibly.

The seven pounds and seven ounces baby boy was born during the third quarter of the big game at 8:49 p.m., according to Robin Lord, a spokeswoman for Cape Cod Healthcare.

>> For complete coverage of Super Bowl 2017, click here   

The Falcons led the Patriots 28-3 in the third quarter before the Patriots went on to score 25 straight points and tie the game up. The Patriots went on to earn the biggest Super Bowl comeback ever in the first overtime in Super Bowl history, with a Patriots win and a final score of 34-28.

But the miraculous finish will always be remembered by the Gaffney family. 

The Patriots -- led by Brady and head coach Bill Belichick -- have won the Super Bowl five times, with championship wins in 2002, 2004, 2005 and 2015.

Woman delivers healthy baby after surviving aneurysm while pregnant

A Michigan woman is enjoying time with her new baby boy after doctors said she beat all odds, surviving an aneurysm while pregnant and making a full recovery.

>> Read more trending stories 

Anna Weeber, of Michigan, is the proud mother of 4-week-old Hudson and 2-year-old Declan. She recently reunited with the doctor who saved her, Dr. Justin Singer, of Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids.

“I’m so excited,” Weeber said, according to an article posted by Spectrum Health. “This is the guy that saved my life and my baby’s life.”

According to People, when Weeber was 26 weeks pregnant, she suffered a blinding headache while preparing to go out on a bike ride with her husband and her son. The pain was so bad that she started vomiting.

As her husband, Nate, called 911, she realized she couldn’t feel the left side of her body.

“From that moment on, I don’t remember anything,” Weeber said.

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When she arrived at the hospital, doctors performed tests and soon identified a ruptured brain aneurysm. An aneurysm occurs when a blood vessel balloons in the brain. When it ruptures, the vessel pops, and could cause a life-threatening stroke.

Singer felt moved by Weeber's case because his own wife was 24 weeks pregnant at the time.

Weeber underwent surgery and spent weeks in the hospital for observation and recovery. Amazingly, she suffered no complications after the aneurysm.

According to Spectrum Health, half of the patients who suffer an aneurysm don’t survive, and most who do survive never return to full health.

Last month, she and her husband welcomed their 9-pound baby boy.

“After Hudson was first born, he and I would make eye contact when I was holding him and I would just start crying,” Weeber said. “We had both been through so much, and I felt like he knew that.”

When the family reunited with Singer, his eyes welled up with tears.

“I didn’t expect to feel so emotional,” said Singer. “This is fantastic … It makes me feel good.”

Anna and Nate credit her excellent recovery to the doctors who cared for her and the power of prayer. According to Spectrum Health, Nate put out a prayer request on Facebook when his wife first fell ill.

“People all around the world were praying for us,” said Nate.

Read more at Spectrum Health and People

After surviving an aneurysm while pregnant, miracle patient Anna Weeber introduces her newborn to her neurosurgeon. by Spectrum Health on Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Santa makes special stop to visit babies in intensive care unit

Some babies can stay in a neonatal intensive care unit for many months, but it doesn't mean the newborns have to miss Christmas. 

>> Read more trending stories  

At WellStar Atlanta Medical Center's NICU, Santa visited with 19 families and their babies earlier this month. Many of the infants were born premature, often with respiratory issues or infections, said Heidi Squires, who works with March of Dimes at the hospital as the NICU family support program coordinator.

Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center is the only hospital in metro Atlanta that partners with the March of Dimes to provide comfort and care to families while their babies are in the hospital, Squires said.

This is the second year the hospital has hosted the event, Squires said. Santa's visit was put on with help from hospital volunteers, and families received copies of the photos. 

All photos in the slideshow below were provided by Claire Elise Photography

<iframe src="//;border=false&amp;template=slideshow" width="100%" height="750" frameborder="no" allowtransparency="true"></iframe> <script src="//;border=false&amp;template=slideshow"></script> [View the story "NICU babies get visit from Santa" on Storify]

Baby born at 24 weeks celebrates first birthday

A baby boy given a 5 percent chance of survival is celebrating his first birthday.

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Kaleb Arkell Graves was well-known even before he was born. His mother, Dana Griffin-Graves, shared a video of her husband, Arkell Graves, crying when he learned she was pregnant. She broke the news of her pregnancy to him by placing a pack of buns in the oven, earning baby Kaleb the nickname "Baby Buns."

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Saturday, October 3, 2015

The couple had been trying to conceive for 17 years, suffering several miscarriages and a stillbirth. The pregnancy came as a big surprise, but they were thrilled to be welcoming a son.

On Oct. 20, 2015, baby Kaleb arrived 16 weeks early. Early photos show Kaleb resting in the palm of a nurse's hand.

After spending 356 days growing stronger in the neonatal ICU at Virginia Commonwealth University Hospital, Kaleb was finally able to go home. Friends and family decorated the Graveses' home with balloons and banners to mark the momentous day.

"At this very moment, all of my men are asleep under the same roof," Dana wrote on Facebook the day after his homecoming. "Some days I really didn’t think that would happen."

Kaleb still requires medical care at home, but the family hopes it's only temporary.

Posted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Thursday, November 19, 2015

Can you feel the ❤️? #TeamKaleb #BabyBunsPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Cap and Gown! Because it's his 1st graduation!  #TeamKalebPosted by Arkell & Dana's Baby Bun on Wednesday, October 12, 2016

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