WOOLMARKET -- Monitor lights pulse green each time baby Andrew William Lambert Jr. breathes and his heart beats.
Without the monitor, sleep would be impossible for parents Andrew Lambert and Jessica Lancon-Lambert. They know how quickly a baby can slip away. So does their daughter, 5-year-old Vivian Jane.
Baby William joined them in their Woolmarket home four months and 11 days after his birth at University of South Alabama Children's and Women's Hospital in Mobile. He is 5 months old and weighs 9 pounds.
The family routine is not as the Lamberts had pictured. Family finances dictate that both parents work. Andrew Lambert, a member of the Army National Guard Reserves who served in Afghanistan, works as a heavy-equipment operator for a construction company.
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Vivian rides the bus to kindergarten while her mom packs Will's essentials for a day at one of the family restaurants, CJ's Seafood House in D'Iberville and Ocean Springs. Will is usually perched on a table in his baby rocker, waitresses doting on him as they move from kitchen to table with po-boys and plate lunches.
At night, the monitor soothes the Lamberts to sleep. Since they brought Will home in August, it has gone off only a couple of times, either because his heart rate dropped or he "forgot" to breathe. The warning sounds like a fire alarm.
Through the births of her three children, Jessica prayed for strength. "Whenever I think I can't get any stronger," she said, "something happens."
Jessica is a Biloxi girl from a big Catholic family. She started working at age 13 at her uncle's landmark restaurant, The Schooner. Andrew Lambert's mom worked there as a waitress, too. He was eight years old when he met Jessica. She occupied him with chatter while he waited at the counter for his mom's shift to end.
After the two saw each other years later at the restaurant, he sent her a text. "Hey," it said. She replied: "Don't message me ever again. Your mother is going to kill me." But he did. They dated secretly, later announcing their engagement at a family celebration.
Along came Vivian, delivered six weeks early by emergency Caesarean section because Jessica's placenta was separating from her uterine wall. Baby and mother almost died. Her doctor reassured her, saying the complication rarely if ever arose a second time.
Andie Leigh Lambert was the only baby Jessica carried to full term. She was beautiful and healthy, with a thick patch of black hair. Jessica hemorrhaged after the birth. Her sisters wondered why Jessica didn't have her tubes tied. "Something told me not to," Jessica says now.
Andrew missed the birth, but saw his daughter from Afghanistan over the Internet as soon as nurses brought her, swaddled in a receiving blanket, into her mom's room. Once his family was home, Andrew watched Andie blossom via Skype.
Andie was 3 weeks old when the sun woke her mother. She discovered the baby, lifeless, in her portable crib. Her body was still warm, swaddled in a blanket. Jessica tried CPR. An ambulance came. Later, Jessica learned her daughter had stopped breathing hours earlier. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome took Andie on Dec. 3, 2012.
Jessica was frantic to reach her husband before he saw the Facebook messages: "So sorry for your loss," "We are praying for you."
Andrew was sent home by military transport 30 minutes after Jessica reached him on the phone. "It was the longest two days of my life," Andrew said. "I don't even have the words."
Right away, Jessica wanted another baby. Family members feared for her life. But she and Andrew tried for the next year to get pregnant. On the anniversary of Andie's death, Jessica told Andrew she was going out to buy ornaments for the Christmas tree they planned to put on her grave. She picked up a pregnancy test while she was there. It was positive. "Come here," she told Andrew. "I have something to show you."
Andrew was in the Reserves now. He turned down a deployment because of his wife's pregnancy, as they had agreed beforehand he would. The pregnancy was difficult. She had blood clots in her uterus and was put on bed rest at 19 weeks. At 24 weeks, she went into labor. She was rushed to USA hospital in Mobile.
Doctors staved off the birth for four days to give the baby a better chance at life. Once again, Jessica's placenta separated from her uterine wall.
William was born April 11, 2014, weighing 1 pound, 12 ounces. His weight bottomed out at 1 pound 5 ounces.
To keep their family and friends updated as they drove back and forth to Mobile, the Lamberts started a Facebook page, William's Wishes. They wrote about his setbacks -- an infection in his foot from the catheter line that delivered medicine, a perforated stomach that required surgery, a hole in his large intestine that needed surgical repair, a double hernia. And they wrote about the triumphs:
April 25: "I can't stop looking at him."
May 21: "Doing great without a ventilator. Didn't take long for him to start sucking on fingers and hands. Now weighing in at a whopping 2 pounds 2 ounces, William is coming right along."
June 4: "Such great news to share today. It has been two days and our little guy hasn't had an apnea episode. This means that he is growing out of it. We aren't out of the woods so keep up the prayers."
They wrote about fundraisers to help with medical bills and travel expenses, especially after they learned their income was too high for federal assistance with baby formula. One can of William's special formula costs $45 and, if they're lucky, lasts a week.
Jessica advertised her handmade jewelry for sale, while Andrew offered to build picnic tables for interested buyers.
On Sept. 6 they posted, "Guess what we got in the mail?" above a picture of a $453,077.89 medical bill. They have insurance, but have no idea what they will personally owe for William's hospitalization and care.
But he's alive. And he's home.
"The worst is gone," Andrew said, "until the teenage years."
William looks like a newborn. Weight has smoothed the folds in face. His eyes, bright and observant, are growing darker. Perhaps they will be hazel like his mom's, or brown like his dad's.
The family poses for a portrait on the sofa. They drape behind them a small quilt patched with baby Andie's onesies and backed with her receiving blankets.
She is with them still. Her parents believe she watches over William. When they see him smile in his sleep, they know she is there.
Andie was the 12th cousin on Jessica's side of the family. The cousins spend a lot of time together. One of them, Kaci Lancon, wrote Andie a note. It is framed in the Lambert's den.
"I wish you would come back," it says. "I just want to hold you one last time Andie, you will always be our number twelve. We'll love you forever, the Other Eleven."
Andrew holds Will, who watches his dad intently. The monitor at Andrew's feet blinks a reassuring green.