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New Year’s baby is improving in hospital

NATCHEZ — Natchez’s first baby of the year is doing better after being transported to Jackson with a heart murmur and respiratory problems shortly after being born on New Year’s Day, and the baby’s family is ready to have him home.

Jabari Riley is being treated at University Medical Center for pulmonary hypertension. Jabari’s mother, Coretta McDonald, 33, of Lorman, said her son is doing a lot better and breathing at 53 percent now with oxygen.

“He’s getting stronger by the day,” McDonald said.

Jabari was born three weeks early to McDonald and her fiancé, Brett Riley, 31, at Natchez Community Hospital.

Jabari’s parents weren’t expecting him until Jan. 20, and McDonald gave birth by an emergency cesarean section because Jabari was breech.

McDonald said Jabari’s brothers, Jaquan McDonald, 11, Jeremiah Riley, 7, and Jaden Riley, 2, and his sister, Jaliah Riley, 7, are eager to have their baby brother home.

“They ask about him every day,” she said.

McDonald said she and Riley have been visiting Jabari every other day during the week and staying overnight on the weekends.

“It’s tough seeing him in the hospital, but I go in there and talk to him and rub his hand,” McDonald said. “It’s rough, but I have faith.”