happy birthday otto


July 27, 2018

i remember everything about the day you were born. i remember waking up one year ago today and feeling you roll around tight in my stomach too big to go much of anywhere else. i remember placing my hand on my ribs by your head and just knowing that in a few short hours you would be here. i would see your face and hold you in my arms.

i wasn’t scared about the journey ahead. i didn’t know what a year of ups and downs we would have. i was nervous sure but i think that it was just new parent nerves. i’m glad i didn’t know the obstacles we would face because i was just focused on getting you in my arms.

we went to target to pass the time before heading to the hospital where we literally checked in to have a baby. we shared nervous laughs with the doctors and nurses. some day otto, i hope you are able to meet this incredible group of women (yea that’s right allllll women) who delivered you.

otto, i will never forget looking into your fathers eyes and waiting to hear that first cry. and when they called out “does red hair run in your family!?!?” i knew you were going to be full of spunk and something special. i will never forget when they placed you by me and for the first time in my entire life. i was absolutely speechless. i couldn’t believe that something and someone so amazing could belong with me. you were my greatest gift.

the weeks to come would be full of trials. we had 2 – 7 appointments a week, struggles with feeding, struggles with weight gain. just all around struggles. and this was after we got out of the NICU. but otto you persisted. you are so strong. we made do with what you had and we had beauty in those two months at home. towards the end of september when your little body just couldn’t keep up anymore things got really hard again. you were in heart failure. your dad and i would take turns sleeping with you up upright on our chest so you wouldn’t cough and could breath easier. we didn’t know how bad it was because everything just increased in severity so gradually. by the time we made it to surgery we knew it was bad.

otto the absolute worst moment of my life was handing you over for surgery. i love you so fiercely that it took every ounce of my being to pry my fingers away. i sat in the waiting room of the children’s hospital and in my head screamed for God to have mercy on us. to keep you safe. and while we had a bumpy road out of surgery, he did.

then there was that moment. that moment where after four days of sitting by your bed side i finally got to hold you. this moment is in my heart forever. your blood pressure was high and not improving. you were going to have surgery again the next day. but when i held you, you just calmed down. you sat so still. the doctors were wondering if there was something wrong with the monitor. but i knew that it was just you and me needing each other. that was the moment that truly made me your mom.

we would have more hills to climb but eventually we made it out of there and out of the hospital and have managed to stay out (minus one g tube surgery) the rest of the year. that is a gift.

i will treasure our first year of antiquing, farmers markets, playing, growing and taking you to work with me. you are such a fun and easy going baby and i don’t take that for granted. you have been through so much in your short life and you still continue to smile.

i want you to know how beautiful life is and it’s my life’s mission to show you everything there is to love about the beauty of this world. i can’t protect you from all the ugly and evil but i can sure try.

we had such a good rest of the year taking family vacations, cutting down our first christmas tree, our first of all the holidays and what an absolute blessing to be able to spend each and everyone at home. i love taking you to places and watching you learn to explore. you are adventures and your zest for life is contagious.

my life has been given new purpose this year. and you have taught me so much in such a short time. and while it absolutely breaks my heart that you are turning one, i am so so grateful. you are strong. you are healthy. you are happy. i could not ask for me.

so my darling son. happy birthday. mommy and daddy love you more than i can even put in to words. you have changed our world and made it into something just so much better than we could possibly have imagined.

there will be dark days ahead. but you have taught us to enjoy life day by day and savor these beautiful moments and memories and tuck them away like the little treasures they are.

now lets party!

otto craig birth

otto craig 1 month

otto craig 2 months

otto craig 3 months

otto craig 4 months

otto craig 5 months

otto craig 6 months

otto craig 7 months

otto craig 8 months

otto craig 9 months

otto craig 10 months

otto craig 11 months


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  1. Kelly says:

    Happy Birthday Otto! You are absolutely my favorite Instakid! Your smile (or serious face) brightens my day every day! Par tay!

  2. Jan Iannone says:

    Happy Birthday sweet boy! Hope you enjoy your special day! We’re always praying for you honey.

  3. Dawn Belt says:

    Happy Birthday to the fabulous OTTO! Sending love and big hug to all 3 of you! Have a great party!

  4. Carolyn Dorsett says:

    Thank you for sharing Otto and letting so many into your life and allowing us to invest our love and prayers in you, Joe and Otto❤️

  5. Rebecca says:

    Otto. Happy birthday and thank you for sharing your first year with us. You are such a sweet and smart boy. I love all of your cute expressions and your smile makes me smile. Hope you had s great party. ❤️

  6. Julie says:

    Happy Birthday baby Otto! Great job mom and dad, y’all are doing a lovely job raising this little one! Cheers all around! Still praying in Alabama!

  7. Denise says:

    What a wonderful journey it has been.
    Grace filled and blessed.
    I’ve watched and prayed along with you and many others.
    GOD hand has truly been on Otto as well as you and Joe. I’m thankful to have been a part of it.
    ❤️Happy Birthday Sweet Otto and may God always bless you and your sweet family ❤️

  8. Carolyn Bonber says:

    Girl THIS! On my goodness what beautiful, gracious words.
    Thank you for allowing us into the deepest crevices of you soul with these words. So much love flowing. You have no idea how Otto brightens my day. That recent video of you two dancing and the laughter and smiles. Pure joy on his precious little face and yours! Be a very small part of your journey has blessed me. I pray for Otto daily, he a special little boy. How can I love a child I’ve never met? But I do. Thank you for sharing him with us all.
    Happy birthday Otto!

Abigail Albers       Author

Abby is a wife and mother, antique shopper, entrepreneur, gardener, sheep lady, sequin enthusiast and your Midwest Martha Stewart Wannabe.. Follow her on instagram @adventuresinabbyland.

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