Parents wed at hospital after baby suffers brain injury

Parents wed at hospital after baby suffers brain injury


Sabrina and Justin Ernst walked down the aisle with their son at the hospital’s chapel after the 6-month-old suffered a brain injury.

This is the emotional moment a couple tied the knot after moving their wedding ceremony to a hospital chapel because their baby son was involved in a traumatic accident.

Sabrina and Justin Ernst moved their big day to the hospital after 6-month-old Layton suffered a brain bleed when he hit his head in a fall from a baby chair.

Layton was transferred by helicopter to John Hopkins Memorial St .Petersburg, Fla., two days before his parents’ wedding day.

So traumatized Sabrina, 36, and Justin, 40, who had been due to wed at Wentworth Golf Club, tied the knot in the hospital so little Layton, who has made a full recovery, could be there.


Layton, now 8-months-old, was wheeled down the aisle in his stroller before the 60-strong wedding party moved to the hospital cafeteria for the reception.

“We honestly didn’t even think about the wedding until Saturday morning when we set about canceling everything," Sabrina Ernst, a recruiter, said. “The doctors and nurses told us to go to our wedding but there was no way that we could. We didn’t want to leave his side and we would never have been able to get married without Layton there."

The couple’s 60 guests were in attendance to watch them exchange vows alongside their son.

“When it was suggested that we get married in the hospital chapel, we decided to go for it," she said. “October 6 is my grandma’s birthday and that date is so important to me, and my grandfather had flown from Arizona to perform the ceremony. The wedding was so emotional."

"We were able to wheel Layton down the aisle with us and it was so important to us to have him there,' she said. "Given the circumstances it was perfect.”

"We actually walked into the hospital chapel together, pushing Layton in his stroller," Justin Ernst said. "It was a moment full of love and we were happy to have Layton by our side. It ended up being great, despite the circumstances. We couldn't have gone through with the wedding without Layton by our side, so it all worked out."


Despite the late change in venue, almost all of the couple’s 60 guests were able to watch them exchange their vows. 

The wedding feast was rushed to the new venue and friends ferried the couple's flowers and wedding cake there in time for the 5 p.m. ceremony.

The special day, which was documented by wedding photographer Alicia Johnson, continued with the wedding party moving to the hospital’s cafeteria for the reception.

The bride was relieved when her venue carted over the wedding buffet of Mediterranean chicken and glazed pork, as well as their cake.

Layton, now 8-months-old, has made a full recovery.

“We didn’t wear our wedding attire, but luckily I had a little white dress at home that I’ve had for years," she said. “The cafeteria was actually really beautiful and we felt so loved that all of these people were there to support us after a few really difficult days.”

The newlyweds plan to celebrate their marriage during a holiday party at their house on Dec. 1, where their wedding DJ will perform.

“It will be nice to have that celebration with all of our family and friends," Sabrina Ernst said.

Although baby Layton has made a full recovery, the couple urged other parents to take care placing infant seats on high surfaces, even for a moment.

"I turned my back for a second to make him a bottle, he was upset because he was hungry," Justin Ernst said. "I heard a noise and looked back and he wasn't there. I ran around the counter and he was on the ground. Just don’t do it."

"You read about it, and read the warnings on their seats and think it will be fine but babies grow so quick and become so strong," he said. “Just don’t take that risk because accidents can happen in a split second. The doctors in the hospital told us it happens so much more than you would ever think. It was the biggest relief of our lives to hear he would be OK."

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