Jessica Marotta, of Melrose, Massachusetts, says her 6-year-old son Mikey has always wanted to be a big brother. But, little did the boy know, his parents were doing all they could to grant his wish.
“He was always asking, ‘When am I going to get my baby brother?’ It’s really hard to get you a baby brother. So we’d just say, ‘When it’s time,’ ” Marotta, 39, tells PEOPLE. “He just wanted to be a brother so badly and he would see … all his friends and schoolmates getting brothers, so I think that was hard for him. But he really stuck it out.”
Marotta and her husband, 38-year-old Michael Marotta, couldn’t bear to tell Mikey that she had suffered a miscarriage at just 11 weeks pregnant in January 2017.
“We would never want him to be burdened with that sadness,” the mom tells PEOPLE. “It was something we had been trying for for so long … then we had the loss, we were devastated. I was heartbroken. We felt like we didn’t deserve what happened to us. But at the same time, it happens to so many people.”
The couple never told Mikey about the pregnancy and were cautious about eight months later when Jessica learned she was pregnant again. She says she feared she’d suffer another miscarriage, and didn’t tell Mikey about the pregnancy until she had reached 12 weeks.
“I was shocked that we were pregnant … but then we refused to get excited. We were so scared that we didn’t talk about it at all. We wanted to wait until we were out of the first trimester to tell our siblings,” she says, noting that Mikey was ecstatic when he learned the news. “He was very teary-eyed and excited. He was very emotional. [He] wanted to know when the baby was going to come.”
Jake was born via c-section on March 6, nine weeks early, and weighed 1 lb., 12 ounces. Doctors whisked the baby away just after the delivery, and Jessica says she wasn’t able to hold Jake until the next day. Though Mikey was able to see Jake the day the baby was born, he was not able to hold his little brother until more than a week later on March 17.
When his moment finally came, Mikey was able to enjoy a few minutes of skin-to-skin contact with his new baby brother.
“It was very sweet. He was very excited,” Marotta says. “When he started holding Jake he just giggled, it was a nervous giggle. He blinked a lot because he was really emotional. It was probably one of the most emotional things I’ve ever seen without a lot of tears because he was so happy at the same time.”
Jessica, who first shared her story with Love What Matters, was released from the hospital five days after the birth, while Jake remained in the neonatal intensive care unit for 62 days. Now, Marotta says the brothers are inseparable.
“[Mikey] loves him so much. He snuggles with him, he says the most beautiful things to him and tells him funny stories,” Jessica says of Mikey.
“Jake has brought a calmness to Mikey … even if Jake’s screaming, Mikey comes over and tries to calm him down, soothe him,” she shares. “It’s very sweet.”
Jessica adds: “He was made to be this big brother. The two of them together are pretty amazing. Mikey was the first one to make [Jake] smile. For a long time he would only smile at Mikey. I truly think that they will be close for the rest of their lives.”
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