To be completely honest, I’ve been pushing back this blog post because I didn’t want to be flooded with the emotions I knew would go along with it. But this story deserves to be told. And today is the perfect day to tell it. You see, today is International Bereaved Mothers Day. What is that? It’s a day to honor the mothers that nurture their children here on Earth … the ones who carry some, if not all of their children in their hearts … and the ones who yearn just to conceive a child. (Here’s where you can learn more about it.)
This is a story of Jackie and Chris and their beloved Gabriel. Jackie contacted me early on in her pregnancy to have newborn photos taken. Her enthusiasm was infectious and she couldn’t wait to be a momma. Although I barely knew her, I was so excited for her and her husband to welcome a new little baby into their life. And so we made plans for newborn photos. But then about halfway through Jackie’s pregnancy the news came that their baby had a very rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 13. There was a very good chance that he would not live outside of her womb. I can’t imagine having to go through hearing that news. My heart was breaking for them. They setup a CaringBridge site and journaled updates and their thoughts. There wasn’t an entry that I read where I didn’t bawl my eyes out. But more than that, I was amazed at their strength and how much they enjoyed every single moment that they got to have Gabriel with them. Every ultrasound they saw, heartbeat they heard, kick that they felt … they cherished it. Their baby couldn’t have been more loved.
This past September, Gabriel Thomas entered this world and shortly after entered heaven. He weighed 5lbs 1oz and was 17 inches long. As his momma said, he was absolutely beautiful. Here’s a bit from their journal, “This journey has been incredibly difficult and there have been many tears. I know the days ahead will not be easy for us. We know Gabriel is completely healthy and safe with God which helps ease the pain a bit. Of course, there is nothing more I want than for him to be here with me but he must be pretty special to get to hang out with God. Chris and I like knowing that we will be able to spend eternity with our baby boy.”
And this one was so touching: “Time. Time is an interesting thing. It never seems to be what we want it to be–it’s either going too fast or too slow. When I was pregnant with Gabriel, each week filled me with bittersweet emotions. I was so happy to make it every single week – it meant Gabriel was doing wonderful! Feeling his kicks and movements made this mama’s heart happy. On the other hand, it also meant we were probably closer to ‘the end’ of his life here with us. I wanted so much to meet my son, but I didn’t want to lose him either. The days were going much too fast. I wanted to keep him in my tummy where he was safe. I absolutely loved being pregnant, swollen feet and all.”
I’m still amazed at your strength Jackie and Chris … and your constant faith in God’s perfect will in your life, even when it doesn’t make any sense. I’m looking forward to meeting your little Gabriel in heaven someday. He is loved beyond measure. My heart goes out to you.
I will hug my girls a little tighter and remember all the moms and dads who have lost a child. May you feel the comfort of God’s love and peace and be extra blessed.
Their puppy, Rocket was an instant mood-lifter … so cute and full of energy!
In their backyard, they created “Gabriel’s Garden.”
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord,“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
You keep track of all my sorrows.
You have collected all my tears in your bottle.
You have recorded each one in your book.