Coming out of the womb weighing more than 16 pounds, JaMichael Brown couldn’t even fit in one of his home state’s famous 10-gallon hats. Even in a place where everything is reputedly bigger, the newborn boy may have set the record for the biggest baby ever born in Texas.
Proud parents Janet Johnson and Michael Brown revealed their jumbo-size bundle of joy live via satellite from Good Shepherd Medical Center in Longview on TODAY Monday. As JaMichael rested comfortably in his daddy’s arms, Brown told Ann Curry that the couple, who have three older children, may finally have a star football player in the family.
“Or maybe basketball player,” Brown said. “I was just amazed when he came out, how big he was. I’m just proud of him … [we’re a] proud family.”
Johnson, a geriatric nurse who suffered gestational diabetes during her pregnancy with JaMichael, was used to having big babies, but the largest she had ever delivered before weighed in at 8 pounds. This time around, her doctor told her to expect a baby weighing between 12 and 13 pounds.
So the family made some provisions. Johnson gave out special instructions to the ladies attending the baby shower. “I just said we were expecting a big baby,” she told KYTX-TV in Tyler, Texas. “To not get any newborn stuff.”
But doctors underestimated just how big JaMichael would be. When he came into the world via Cesarean section a little after 9 a.m. last Friday, he weighed 16 pounds, 1 ounce. JaMichael was born with a full head of hair, measuring a full 2 feet long with a head measurement of 15 inches and a chest measuring 17 inches.
Those are the kind of numbers more associated with a baby 3 to 6 months old than a just-arrived infant.
JaMichael quickly earned the nickname “The Moose” around hospital corridors, and sent folks scurrying to look through the record books. According to Guinness World Records, the biggest baby on record weighed in at 23.12 pounds at birth back in 1879 in Canada. But researchers haven’t found a baby in the Lone Star State ever born bigger than JaMichael.
Janet Johnson told Curry the family is already scrambling to make provisions for their larger-than-expected newborn. Even though they bought big in anticipation of his arrival, his actual size dwarfed expectations. In fact, the hospital’s newborn unit did not have diapers big enough to fit him.
“A lot of the stuff we bought for him is too little,” Johnson told Curry. “So we have to exchange some things.”
Janet’s diabetes during her pregnancy may have contributed to JaMichael’s whopping size at birth and has led caretakers at the Good Shepherd Medical Center to pay close attention to the baby during his first days of life.
“It’s a beautiful baby, but for health reasons, we’d rather not see a baby this large,” hospital nurse Mary Beth Smith, who was in the delivery room for JaMichael’s birth, told KYTX. “They can have a little harder time maintaining their blood sugar.”
While JaMichael was placed in the hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, reports are that he’s progressing well. And it shouldn’t be long before he leaves the hospital and makes his big debut before the family’s friends and kinfolk.
“I’m happy,” Johnson told the Longview News-Journal. “We’ll be here for a few more days, and then I’m looking forward to bringing JaMichael home and just loving on him.”
Still, the task of delivering a 16-pound baby has probably made Johnson’s fourth child her last. “That’s it, no more now,” she said.