Couple prepares for parenthood as recovery continues

Great expectations

Parenthood is becoming a reality for Wayne Eggins Jr. and his girlfriend, Monique Sullivan-Johnson.

The couple's everyday routine was shattered in February when Eggins was shot in the head while trying to stop a man breaking into his neighbor's apartment. The past two months have been a whirlwind of pain, tears and anxiety.

But life always finds a way to carry on.

Sullivan-Johnson is 21 weeks pregnant, and Wayne Eggins III is keeping her awake at night with his tiny kicks. Hearing the heartbeat and seeing their boy on an ultrasound is driving the reality home for the young couple.

"It's surreal," said Eggins, who still has a metal bar attached to his face as his broken jaw heals. He's using a wheelchair less now, though he still relies on a walker to get around. His sense of humor hasn't suffered.

"We can learn to walk together," he said about his son.

Eggins returned home from work on Feb. 18 to find a man behind his neighbor's apartment. He pulled the man out toward the street but was pistol-whipped and shot by an accomplice. Both men were caught by deputies within hours.

The couple has since moved out of Merrick Place Apartments in west Augusta and found a small home in Martinez, off Wheeler Road. They've settled into a general routine that includes at least two medical appointments a week.

In a few months Eggins will have major surgery on his skull, the first of many operations in his future. In the meantime, he's regaining his balance and exercising at home to make his body well. Doctors expect it will be two years before he's back to something resembling normal.

But then, doctors didn't expect him to live.

Eggins feels indebted to a higher power for granting him the chance to hold his son in a few months. As a result, the couple have returned to church.

"It's given me a passion to be a better person," Eggins said about his near-death experience.

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