I love our son’s cry. To us, it means life. It means we have a living baby in front of us.

When our first son Carter was born at 9:06 p.m., we heard his cry for the first and last time. When our son Aron was born at 9:08 p.m., 10 months later, we heard his cry and wondered if that was his last.

Every time Aron cried in the NICU, we smiled.

We smiled because it meant life . . . it meant we had a baby.

When we shared how much we loved his cry, innocent comments were made about how that feeling would wear off.

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Now our son is home. He cries because he’s hungry. And at times, for no reason. He screams in the loudest pitch at 2 a.m. and falls back asleep. He’s a baby, he cries.

When he cries and I don’t know why, I get frustrated.

I get frustrated at myself because there are times I can’t fix it immediately. The first time I got frustrated, I cried. I was so angry at myself because I promised myself I’d never let his cry get to me. After talking to my husband, I realized it is OK to get frustrated with myself, but I will always love my son’s cry.

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Our son’s cry means life, a life we never thought we would experience, and I am blessed to have the opportunity to get frustrated when I can’t always find a quick fix when he cries.

Yes, I said itI am blessed to have a beautiful, crying baby.

Moms and dads, I ask you to hold your children tighter, love them harder, and try to appreciate the tough times. Easier said than done, I know, but remember, life is precious. We tend to take the little things for granted, like a crying baby.

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The next time your baby cries or your toddler throws a tantrum, I challenge you to smile first. When he cries, I smile, because I am beyond grateful to hear and experience the sound of life.

Justina Oldehoff

Justina Oldehoff is a mom of two preemie boys, Carter in heaven (1/21/19-1/24/19) and Aron born 10/9/2019 who is home and healthy, and a wife of 11 years to Dan. Following the passing of their son, Carter's Cause Foundation was created to honor Carter's legacy and provide resources and support to NICU families, loss families, and support systems.