The night a car smashed into them head-on, Air Force couple Julie and Jevon McBride were unsure if they’d see each other alive again, let alone the baby growing in Julie’s womb.
Ten months after that accident on a Warrensburg road, the McBrides are elated that their daughter finally is seeing their faces clearly for the first time.
“I get so emotional when I see the video of her wearing the glasses,” Julie McBride said of Juliana, who was born 15 weeks early in October because of the crash.
Now 10 months old, Juliana — whose prematurity had led to significant sight problems — was fitted for the first time with glasses at Children’s Mercy Hospital.
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“I was completely excited. She knows it’s me. She really knows it’s me,” Jevon McBride said after his daughter looked up at him through the new purple eyeglasses. “I fell in love with her all over again. It’s amazing to see her reaction. It’s like her eyes were open for the first time.”
The story of the McBrides’ ordeal first appeared in The Star on Jan. 8. Picked up by the military publication Stars & Stripes, the story went out to military bases worldwide.
Jevon McBride, a staff sergeant stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base, and Julie McBride, a preschool teacher at the base’s child development center, had tried for 10 years to get pregnant.
The couple had been on the verge of giving up when, two years ago on Mother’s Day, Julie McBride discovered she was pregnant. This time the pregnancy lasted, but it was nearly taken away at 25 weeks when a teenage driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel plowed into the couple head-on on a Warrensburg road not far from their home.
Jevon McBride’s leg was shattered. Julie McBride’s water broke, forcing the baby to be born by emergency cesarean section at Saint Luke’s Hospital.
A subsequent story in April recounted the parents’ and baby’s improving condition and the McBrides’ faith that all would be OK. Juliana had suffered a brain bleed and other complications, including vision problems.
After months of hospitalizations and medical appointments for the entire family, Juliana is thriving.
“Wearing glasses and an eye patch we hope will strengthen her eye muscles,” Julie McBride said. Juliana had been born with retinopathy of prematurity common to pre-term babies.
“Juliana, she’s doing amazing,” Julie McBride said. “She started crawling, and Jevon just started walking a month ago with the stroller.”
Nearly a year after their wreck, the family has much to look forward to.