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Blue Jays pitcher's baby home after 166 days in hospital: 'Best Christmas present ever'

Jay Jackson and partner Sam Bautista celebrated their baby son JR leaving the NICU earlier this week.

Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jay Jackson and partner Sam Bautista celebrated their baby son JR leaving the hospital. (Photo via @jaxland58 on Instagram)
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jay Jackson and partner Sam Bautista celebrated their baby son JR leaving the hospital. (Photo via @jaxland58 on Instagram)

It's a Christmas miracle for Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jay Jackson and his partner.

On Friday, Jackson and his partner, Sam Bautista, made a joint Instagram post announcing their baby son, JR, was finally coming home — a day earlier than expected — from the hospital. They shared they got the "unexpected surprise" on Tuesday in their post, which included a photo of Jackson cradling his son during a "welcome home" party, as well as a snapshot of JR in a car seat.

"We got the best Christmas present ever — welcome home, JR!! One hundred and sixty six days of loving you in a NICU, we finally get to love you at home," the couple penned in their caption.

In their post, the couple extended their thanks to the five "incredible" primary nurses at the University of Utah neonatal intensive are unit (NICU).

"You are his extended family and the most amazing women," their caption added. "You guys kept him safe and kept me sane. I couldn't have asked for better primaries."

Further in their post, the couple continued sharing thanks to more people, including their family who helped them during the difficult time.

"Thank you to our family and our older kids for being patient, loving and incredibly helpful while we spent 166 days commuting back and forth every night," their post mentioned. "Thank you to everyone for checking in on the family and the prayers and positive thoughts. Reading other NICU stories and getting messages about amazing NICU babies helped us stay positive on a very long journey."

Fellow athletes and fans spread the love in the comments section of the post.

"This is amazing, man! God bless!" commented Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jimmy Robbins.

"Amazing. Best gift ever. Merry Christmas," someone added.

"Yay, so happy for you, friend," someone else chimed in.

"Congrats! Such a fantastic gift," an Instagram user penned.

"I'm so happy for you guys! What an amazing present," one person replied.

JR, who's the youngest of Jackson's three children, was born 15 weeks premature on July 6. But the following month, Jackson updated his fans on X (formerly known as Twitter) saying he had "one of the best moments of my life."

Bautistia explained in her post on X that JR had "self-extubated" and the doctors wanted to see how he'd do without the tube. She added that meant they could hold JR skin to skin and there'd be less risk of lung infections.

"This also means Jay got to hold his 44 day old son for the first time. God is good," she penned.

People on the platform expressed their support for the family, with many thanking the couple for sharing updates about their son's journey.

"This is wonderful news! Thank you for continuing to share JR's journey to health with us all," one person wrote.

"Happy to read his baby continues to improve. Medical science is good," another added.

"I'm sure all of Canada is rooting for you and JR, and we hope to see you back in a Jays uniform ASAP," one person raved.

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