See the Heartwarming Photos of a 6-Year-Old Boy Welcoming the Baby Brother He Wished For
After facing fertility challenges and a pregnancy loss last year, Jessica and Michael Marotta welcomed their second son, a sibling that their eldest child, Mikey, had been begging for since he was just 3 years old.
Any parent of two or more knows that eldest kids often want nothing more than a sibling—and will make that very clear. This was certainly the case for the Marottas. Over the course of just a year, Jessica and Michael Marotta got married, bought a house, and welcomed their son Mikey. They felt like they had "plenty of time" to try for baby #2. By the time Mikey was 3, all he wanted was a sibling, so the couple started trying.
"We started trying for #2 when Mikey was 3 years old," Jessica tells Love What Matters. "Month after month passed and we got more and more discouraged every time we saw the negative sign on the pregnancy test. My heart would sink when Mikey would ask, ‘When am I going to get my baby brother?’ It made us so sad for him when he would follow up with, ‘I just want my baby brother.’"
After more than a year of trying, the couple went to a fertility specialist, and Jessica underwent a surgery to remove fibroids from her uterus. She worked with her doctor to track her ovulation, and on December 9, 2016, she finally got a positive pregnancy test. "It was even more special because it was Mikey’s 5th birthday," she said. "That day we went to my parent’s house before they treated us to the Polar Express for Mikey’s birthday. I remember getting to their house, looking at all our stockings on their mantle and telling them next year they would need another stocking. My mom had tears. My husband decided he could not contain the news any longer and Facetimed with his parents to share the news with them as well. We were over the moon with excitement."
Heartbreakingly, Jessica suffered a pregnancy loss at 11 weeks. Her doctor later shared that the baby "had trisomy 13, something that would have been fatal even if the baby had gone full term," Jessica noted. She elaborated, "Before the OB hung up, I had to know… ‘Did you find out the sex?,’ I asked. She kindly answered, ‘yes, it was a male.’ It took my breath away. Mikey had gotten his baby brother, except now he was our angel baby."
The family made a decision to settle into their life as a family of three, but in late August 2017, Jessica realized she was feeling "more emotional than I expected, and quite exhausted." She ended up taking a pregnancy test, and then two more, just to be sure, and indeed, she was expecting.
"We were excited but cautious," she said "The next 7 weeks were hard. I found myself bleeding every week and each time my heart would drop and our excitement would turn to sadness. I found myself googling percent chance of miscarriage by week every chance I could get. However, every follow up appointment showed a strong heartbeat and a normal pregnancy. On Halloween we got the results of testing that the risk for disorders such as trisomy 13 were low and that we were having a boy. We were beyond thrilled and recorded a video of Mikey saying in May he was going to get a baby brother and sent it to our loved ones."
"He was so thrilled he was finally getting his baby brother," Jessica told PopSugar. "He could not wait for him to arrive and would talk about all the things he was going to do with him. He would pick out two things if we went shopping for a toy and say, 'This one is for me and this one is for my baby brother.'"
Unfortunately, the family's plans to bring their L.O. home quickly were derailed when baby Jake was diagnosed with intrauterine growth restriction—a rare condition where the baby doesn't grow to a normal weight during pregnancy—and needed to be delivered early via emergency C-section in March.
Jake was born premature, and proud big brother Mikey couldn't hold him until he was 11 days old. But after 60 days in the NICU, Jake came home with the Marottas, and the family of four—not to mention Mikey—couldn't be more thrilled.
Now, the Marottas' heartwarming story and beautiful photos of their sons are going viral.
"I knew our story would resonate with lots of women, but I truly did not see our boys going viral," Jessica tells Parents.com. "It is amazing.
The boys are adorable together. Jake will be 5 months on August 6, but is still teeny tiny. He just broke the 8 lb. mark a few weeks ago."
She also shares that her eldest's excitement about his little sibling is going strong. "The very first thing Mikey wants to do every morning is snuggle Jake and hold him on his chest. It is incredibly sweet," she says. "Mikey also loves to lay on Jake's activity mat with him and play."
To women who are facing fertility challenges and pregnancy loss challenges as she did, Jessica says, "Seek out support in other women and those around you. Women suffer in silence and that isn't the way it should be."
No doubt about that. And no doubt that the Marottas' inspiring story will offer other families hope that, one day, they'll also welcome the L.O. they've been wishing for.