Soon, the baby's breaths became further and further apart. He became still, as if he was sleeping. A doctor came in to say Joseph had died.
Joseph lived one precious hour, which the Mohlers say they will remember forever.
"It was very peaceful," Jenny Mohler said. "We didn't even realize he had passed."
Joseph was buried Dec. 22 in a baptism gown made from a recycled wedding dress they received from the nonprofit group Isaiah's Promise. His casket was so small his father was able to carry it in his arms down the aisle of St. Mark Church in Catonsville.
The Mohlers say that while they grieved for their son, they had accepted his death. The hospice program helped prepare them for what was to come and create good memories.
"I know most people would expect us to say the most difficult day was the day of his death, but to be honest, it wasn't at all," Jenny Mohler said. "December 13th was an amazingly grace-filled and peaceful day full of love. Because we had good care and we were prepared, the hour we spent with our son was truly one of the most beautiful and meaningful of my life."
'Best sound ever'
As Queen's pregnancy progressed, her baby began to defy the doctor's dire diagnosis. The bleeding in Kirsten's brain stopped and the swelling went down.
She went into labor at 37 weeks on Jan. 13. Doctors at Hopkins were prepared for the worst, stationing equipment nearby to help resuscitate Kirsten if that were needed.
"None of us knew if the baby was going to breathe at birth," recalls Dr. Renee Boss, a neonatologist. "None of us knew if the baby would have a normal heart rate. We were prepared to do whatever we needed to do for the baby if it came to that."
After three days of labor Queen delivered Kirsten, who weighed 5 pounds 9 ounces and had a healthy heartbeat. She looked like her father but had Queen's nose.
"She's breathing," fiance Keith bellowed upon hearing his baby girl's cries. "She's breathing."
Queen felt an overwhelming sense of happiness and relief.
"She came out crying," she recalls. "It was the best sound ever."
Even Shirey, who normally keeps her emotions under wraps around clients, couldn't hold back the tears when she arrived the next morning to see a baby who was very much alive.
Kirsten stayed for five days in the neonatal intensive care unit for monitoring, but an ultrasound and MRI confirmed that the bleeding in her brain had stopped. The outcome looked promising.
Now 6 months old, Kirsten is home, where her two sisters and brother dote on her. Queen is glad she gave Kirsten the chance to live.
"She beat all odds," said Queen, who also has recovered. "She is showing them wrong every day."
Kirsten is still at risk for developmental problems. The bleeding was in the part of the brain that controls physical development, Queen said. She is one month behind most children her age. But therapy has helped her learn to sit up and react to sounds, such as the shake of a rattle. Therapists are also helping her learn to crawl.
Her parents said no physical disability would stop them from loving their child.
Queen's son Khalil Brown, 5, climbs into his parents' lap as they gaze down at Kirsten.
With a big grin, he said, "Happy family ending."