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"Oh, Happy Day"

Father Pleased Now Following a Scare

WHIPPANY, N.J.--Morris Claiborne was in the middle of a walkthrough practice last summer when he got the call--finally--that he was eagerly anticipating.

It was time for his twin daughters to enter the world.

A New York Jets trainer had the cornerback’s cellphone and was tasked with letting him know if and when Claiborne’s now-wife Jennifer was heading to the hospital.

“I remember I saw the trainer walking on the field and he gave me, like, a look,” Claiborne recalled in an interview at the family’s home. “I just ran. I took off running. I grabbed my phone from him and I went to Coach (Todd) Bowles and I was like, ‘Coach, it’s time,’ and he was like, ‘All right, congratulations.’

“And I remember just running out of the building and running to the hospital, and when I got up there I just looked at her.”

It was July 30, 2017, and Jennifer was 35 weeks along--two weeks before her scheduled cesarean section. But her water broke while she was watching the couple’s two English Bulldogs outside their home. She had to immediately head to Morristown Medical Center, about 2 ½ miles away.

Meanwhile, Morris zipped from the Jets’ training facility in Florham Park to the hospital just over 3 miles away in time to be there to welcome his daughters.

“He came and it all happened within the hour,” Jennifer recalled. “It happened so fast, it was scary.”

Doctors performed the C-section and first delivered Ma’Kaila, who was quite underweight at 3 pounds, 8 ounces.

Ma’Liah came a few moments later, weighing in at a more robust 4 pounds, 13 ounces.

Ma’Kaila was immediately taken to the neonatal intensive care unit, separated from her sister--and mother--for the first time.

Ma’Kaila stayed in the NICU for the next two weeks, working up the strength to be sent home to her parents and sister.

For Morris, who was entering his first season with the Jets on a one-year, prove-it deal after four years with the Cowboys, it was a whirlwind of anxiety and excitement.

Somehow, he needed to keep his mind focused on football, while also wanting to make sure his wife and daughters had everything they needed while he was working.

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