Angel here and last week our family celebrated the Sweet Sixteen Birthday of my daughter Kathern who died from SIDS at two months old.  This week we welcome a blessed celebration of my rainbow baby Braden and how his life renewed hope in our family.

Braden Anderson Freels, born May 19, 2005.  I think I gained a million pounds as soon as I read the lines on the pregnancy test.  I had one day of morning sickness and then I ate everything that passed in front of my face.

I am not sure if it was because my appetite was insatiable or if I wanted to make sure I had a healthy baby (maybe a bit of both).  I prayed for this precious miracle and he came on the heels of losing Kathern three months after to be exact we found out we were expecting again.

Not that I feel God heard my prayers more than anyone else but when he gave me new life after a loss I felt renewed.  I honestly wanted to do whatever I could to show him how grateful I was for picking me up out of the dark hole I had dug for myself.

A wave of emotions filled my body.  Would I carry the baby to term?  Would I have another little girl?  What if this or what if that?  Lots of uncertainty but what I did know is I couldn't be more thankful for the blessing of another baby.

My pregnancy unlike the first two was textbook.  It didn't stop my fears.  I remember moving my tummy from side to side when he was calm just to feel him jab me in the rib.  It comforted me knowing he was there and doing fine.

He was super comfy and didn't much feel like making an appearance.  Much like he is today he decided he liked being with his momma LOL.  I remember reading up on how I could get him out.  I read on google that some type of spice in Italian food worked and so my friend Joey and I went to lunch at Niko's on Hwy 54.  Well, wouldn't you know after we began our meal I couldn't sit still.  I left the restaurant and called the doctor.  It was a Friday so she said just to be safe come on in and we will see.  Sure enough, my water was about to break.  They rushed me back and hours later I met my boy.

When he was born I would look at him thinking to myself "you look so much like your sister" I often had to remind myself he was not Kathern.

His arrival did not come without stress.  I would wake a billion times nightly to check him.  I don't think I slept well for months even with an apnea monitor in our home.  I couldn't shake the feeling I might lose him.

He brought me out of a deep depression.  Many women experience postpartum depression with a baby.  Kathern's passing was so fast I didn't get to that part.  I grieved for my daughter and when Braden came along he soothed the pain.

A rainbow baby is said to be a healthy baby after the loss of a child. Bring a rainbow after the storms of life according to healthline.com.

Braden was a joy from day one.  His personality shines.  He is always smiling and being goofy and when you're around him he radiates his light to you.

He has always loved his momma.  I have often joked he would pick me over Disneyland and he would be happy to confirm that truth.  He had a love for me as a baby and still today that has repaired a lot of heartaches.

His siblings and many others often say he is my favorite.  I don't have a favorite child but knowing the journey we have weathered together and his love for me gives him a special place in my heart.

He is my Golden Girls watching buddy and isn't ashamed to hug me in public or tell me he loves me right in front of friends.  I like to think he was given Kathern's love and his all in one because it is overflowing.

I am so grateful that today I get to celebrate his birthday.  He is a picture of hope, love, faith, and patience in God's timing.

My favorite story of Braden came when he was about five.  He always talked about Kathern even though he never met her.  He always wanted to celebrate her life and have me tell him stories.  One day we were laying down and I said where did you get all these sweet freckles on your face?  Without missing a beat he smiled and said: "momma that is all the times my sister kissed me when she visited from heaven."  Of course, tears flowed and I will forever believe he was telling the truth.  He is a super special young man and I am more than grateful (even when he is crazy) to be his momma.

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