Mikey was never shy with his request and was actually pretty specific with exactly what he wanted his parents to give him: a baby brother of his own. But, after years of ғᴇʀᴛɪʟɪᴛʏ sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟᴇs followed by a ᴍɪsᴄᴀʀʀɪᴀɢᴇ in early 2017, Mikey’s mother, Jessica Marotta, says she and her husband, Michael, thought 6-year-old Mikey’s wish would never come true.
But in the summer of 2017, as Mikey was starting kindergarten, Marotta received what she calls a ‘happy sʜᴏᴄᴋ’ when she found out she was ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ again. The Massachusetts couple couldn’t wait to tell their son the good news. Marotta said :” When Mikey found out, he teared up and was very happy. But he was never surprised or overly excited when we found out it was a boy. He just said, ‘Obviously I am having a baby brother, it’s what I asked for’.”
Marotta says her son worked hard to prepare for his new role as big brother. Mikey had every detail of life with his sibling planned out. Marotta said :” He is under the impression he has red hair because I ate buffalo chicken when I was ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ with him, so he kept telling me to make sure I ate buffalo chicken so the baby would have red hair, too.” But Mikey didn’t account for his brother arriving nine weeks early and spending more than 60 days in the N.I.C.U. After being ᴅɪᴀɢɴᴏsᴇᴅ with ɪɴᴛʀᴀᴜᴛᴇʀɪɴᴇ ɢʀᴏᴡᴛʜ ʀᴇsᴛʀɪᴄᴛɪᴏɴ , a ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴄʏ ᴄᴏᴍᴘʟɪᴄᴀᴛɪᴏɴ that affects the baby’s growth, Marotta was monitored in the ʜᴏsᴘɪᴛᴀʟ for several weeks before delivering her newest son, Jake, via ᴇᴍᴇʀɢᴇɴᴄʏ C-section in March. Jake was 1 pound, 12 ounces and only 12 inches long. He was the size of a 25-weeke
Marotta said:” The first time Mikey saw Jake in the N.I.C.U, he just stared at him and looked so overwhelmed and nervous. The first thing he said was, ‘He has red hair like me!’ We told him what every tube and wire meant, every beep and alarm. And Mikey understood how important skin to skin contact was for the baby because we talked often about how it was something he and I did when he was a baby.”
So when it was Mikey’s turn to safely hold his baby brother, who was just 11 days old and weighed two pounds at the time, he was sure to wear a button-down shirt that let him hold Jake close to his chest. Marotta said:” He was emotional and nervous, too. He giggled the whole time, it was so sweet.” And the skin-to-skin bonding was a success, Marotta says today Mikey and Jake, now nearly 5 months old, are unbelievably close. She said:” When Jake hears Mikey’s voice, his little head twists and turns to look for him. Mikey was also the first one Jake smiled at, and for a while he was the only one who could make Jake smile. The connection the two boys share is heartwarming. I feel like Mikey knew in his heart all along this little brother of his was coming, it was just a matter of time.”