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Katherine Heigl has paid tribute to her son Joshua Jr. on his first birthday with a series of never-before-seen images from the day he was born. She shared the photos on Instagram along with a deeply personal caption in which she recalled Joshua’s difficult birth.

“At 9am one year ago today I had @joshbkelley take this photo of me so I could remember how incredibly pregnant I was right before we left for the hospital and my 12pm scheduled cesarean,” the actress began. “Joshua Jr had been in the breech position for over a month and had still not moved an inch a week before his due date so I made the decision to have a cesarean and was incredibly nervous and a little scared this time last year,” she continued.

“I had never been hospitalized or had ever had any kind of surgery and had no idea what to expect,” Heigl added in the caption of her Wednesday, December 20, post.

Heigl continued to recall the events of that day in detail. “They numbed me up, gave me some morphine and opened me up. My doctor struggled to get him out because he was really wedged in there and not quite ready to leave the womb,” she wrote. “When she finally pulled him out at exactly 12:33pm he didn’t start breathing and they worked quickly to get oxygen in him and start his tiny lungs.” Heigl’s husband, Josh Kelly, was standing right there when their baby boy took his first breath.

Despite the bumpy beginning, Josh Jr. is went on to be a perfectly healthy baby boy. “He is everything and more than I could have hoped for and he has brought our family even more joy, love, laughter, abundance, bliss and yes, exhaustion and exasperation too!” Heigl wrote. “It’s been a hell of a year and I could not be more grateful for it or him! Happy Birthday to my little man! Maybe I can make this next year go a little slower!”

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At 9am one year ago today I had @joshbkelley take this photo of me so I could remember how incredibly pregnant I was right before we left for the hospital and my 12pm scheduled cesarean. Joshua Jr had been in the breech position for over a month and had still not moved an inch a week before his due date so I made the decision to have a cesarean and was incredibly nervous and a little scared this time last year. I had never been hospitalized or had ever had any kind of surgery and had no idea what to expect. The second photo is right before I went in for surgery. Trying to look cool, calm and collected! They numbed me up, gave me some morphine and opened me up. My doctor struggled to get him out because he was really wedged in there and not quite ready to leave the womb. When she finally pulled him out at exactly 12:33pm he didn’t start breathing and they worked quickly to get oxygen in him and start his tiny lungs. @joshbkelley was standing with them when he finally took his first breath. That day, as I slowly came out of the morphine haze and clutched my tiny man to me I thanked the heavens for his breath, his life and for making me a mother three times over. As evening settled in Josh and I got cozy in my hospital room, found one of my all time favorites #SweetHomeAlabama on the tv and just relished in our perfect newborn son. He was so tiny and new, so fragile and tender. As I lay him down to sleep that first night in his very appropriate “welcome to the world” sleep sack I thought the moment would last forever. Yet here we are, a whole year later and it’s only the photos that remind me my brute of a boy was ever so new and small! Now he’s 26 ponds of rolling, tumbling, grasping, giggling, shouting, curious, jolly energy! He is everything and more than I could have hoped for and he has brought our family even more joy, love, laughter, abundance, bliss and yes, exhaustion and exasperation too! It’s been a hell of a year and I could not be more grateful for it or him! Happy Birthday to my little man! Maybe I can make this next year go a little slower!

A post shared by Katherine Heigl (@katherineheigl) on

Heigl documented much of her pregnancy online. After announcing she was expecting, she turned to her blog with a heartfelt post about becoming a first-time biological mother.

“We were considering adoption again, fostering, or pregnancy if possible,” she explained. “Seeing as I have never been pregnant and as my OB/GYN reminded me last year, I’m of advanced maternal age, I wasn’t sure pregnancy was even in the cards for us. Turns out it was very much in the cards!”

Congratulations to the happy family!

RELATED: Kristen Bell shares some adorable throwback pregnancy pics that are bound to melt your heart

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