Michael Steppling is only 3 weeks old, but he’s already the “king of taking it easy” — and the proof is his signature laid-back pose, one that he’s been doing since before he was even born.
At just a little over 38 weeks pregnant, Michael’s mom, Sarah Kelleher Steppling, from South Carolina, was unsure about doing a boutique ultrasound, especially after her first appointment resulted in a distorted image. However, when she finally succumbed to pressure from her mother and grandmother, who both wanted to have the photos for themselves, Sarah was excited to be able to see her baby’s adorable face and relaxed disposition. With his arms beside his head, Michael looked quite comfortable in his mother’s womb. And since Sarah gave birth, the little boy has continued to kick back in the same position.
Sarah took to Reddit to share a side-by-side of Michael three weeks before being born and three weeks after, and the resemblance is incredible.
“From day one, this kid knew how to relax,” she tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “He always slept with his hands up like that. If you were to go through my phone right now, you’d find probably about a million and a half images of him sleeping in that exact same position. One day, I thought to go back and look at his ultrasound pictures. I saw that one and was like, ‘OMG! He sleeps just like that now!’”
The hilarious habit has delighted his mother, who has taken every opportunity to photograph her son. She had so many that she decided to stitch a bunch of them together in a collage, which she shared to Reddit. By sharing the photos with others online, she feels like she’s experiencing these moments with people outside of herself; her husband, Ross Steppling; her baby, Michael; and her couch.
“The reaction online has been overwhelmingly positive, and that’s quite a tall order for Reddit!” Sarah says of the photo-sharing site that can often harbor negativity. However, something that people noticed in Michael’s photos ended up making Sarah even more relatable to other parents seeing her photos. “He had unexplained hemolytic anemia and severe prolonged jaundice for the first month of his life, which is why he’s resting on that blue light in the picture.”
Many of the parents who knew what the light was for had a baby with jaundice — a liver condition that causes yellowing of a newborn baby’s skin and eyes — and offered their support and advice. For Michael, his condition meant doctor visits every one to two days to monitor his blood, in addition to a 48-hour stay at the children’s hospital. But, of course, Sarah says that “he took it all like a champ.”
“Now, he’s almost 3 months old and starting to wake up from his newborn phase and wants to play and interact,” she shares. “We’ve been reading Kurt Vonnegut to him at night, and I swear, he gasps in all the right places.”
While both Sarah and Ross are creative and musical in their own right, she expresses her curiosity about how Michael might pick up on that. But what she’s looking forward to most is hearing him say “mommy” for the first time.
“Every time he smiles at me, my heart melts,” Sarah says. “He really is as laid-back as he looks in this picture. We consider ourselves very lucky and try and remember that all this good humor could run out at any time!”
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