It started with 12 weeks of panic. Once you have a pregnancy that ends in miscarriage you hold your breath every time you pee and say a prayer there won't be any spotting. The doctors always assured us once we saw a heartbeat we were pretty safe. I felt that panic through all 12 weeks, heartbeat and all. The first 14 weeks I don't remember much except the bathroom since that is where I lived. I have never been so sick and I was sure the baby I was lovingly carrying was trying to kill me one dry-heave at a time. That 14 weeks turned into month after month. They were all filled with worry, stress, doctors, tests and then bed rest. It was a long pregnancy and I knew going in my risks were high and complications were likely. I just didn't know how not to bet on the odds.

When I went into labor on the first day of my 35th week, I was elated. I had been having contractions that were roughly 5 minutes apart for about a month and had been on drugs to stop the labor from progressing. They didn't stop the painful contractions so when the doctor realized my body was making this labor thing the real deal, he let me stop the drugs and deliver. After all, I had been in this place before and we managed, surely we would do the same this time around.

At 5:39pm on March 24, 2008 my sweet-faced baby boy arrived. He was already so big for being born early and he came out roaring and ready to go. To say Joseph was a blessing would be an understatement, but then again, aren't all babies blessings. He was special in a different way to us, he was an accomplishment. He was the greatest reward after all the risk. He made the stress, worry and weeks on bed rest worth it.

Dear Joey,

I can not believe that you are four and that you are no longer the baby I remember you being just yesterday. You are strong, independent and out spoken. No one believes me when I tell them you are just turning four because you are only one inch shorter than your six year old brother and weigh only a few pounds less than him. You are a mini-version of your Dad and there are days when I look at your face he is all I see.

You are smart and show me how kind you are at the oddest times. You are not gentile and our joke is that when you love something, you love it to death. You are hot-headed and have a temper that rages which sends you to more time-outs than your brother ever had at your age. The way you flip from calm to crazy in seconds reminds me that you are going to be the one that causes me trouble as you grow. You are also the boy who will climb in my lap and snuggle me or ask me for one more hug before bed. You tell me you love me to the moon and back daily and each time you say it my heart bursts open. 

You are crazy and you do everything at 110%. It is all or nothing with you and you give everything you have when you try something new. I admire this so much about you.

You are a fighter, both good and bad. You will take your brother in a fight and never back down, always holding your own. You are not a pushover. Since you struggle with your asthma and breathing so much you have been put through alot. You always do what I ask and although you get scared you listen to me and trust me when I tell you that you will be okay. You never stop fighting through it. I am amazed by how brave you are.

You are a gift to our family. You are worth every minute of the worry I felt trying to get you to this world healthy. You make me realize that the greatest risks are what offer the best rewards. You make my heart happy and I can't imagine my life without you.

Happy Birthday, my sweet face.

I love you always,
Mama xoxo

A sweet-faced baby






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