This is the story of cherishing a baby’s brief life. It is beautifully and heartbreakingly written by a phenomenally brave woman who, with her husband made the decision to let her baby go rather than subjecting him to pain and suffering with no guarantee that it would save his life.
“My husband and I learned before our baby was born that our baby was going todie. I was five-and-a-half months pregnant when I learned that my baby had a malformed heart, and the condition was fatal. That doesn’t give away the end of the story. It gives away only the beginning.
What followed was an extraordinary journey of grief, joy, and love as we waited with Gabriel, simultaneously preparing for our son’s birth and for his death. Despite some wrenchingly aggressive surgical options, no one could give our son a good heart. So we set out to give him a good life.
Our guiding principle as we made decisions for our son’s care was that his life be free of pain and filled with love. And it was. The months of waiting for his birth culminated in two-and-a-half hours of cradling Gabriel in our arms, in the same bed where he was born, surrounded by family and friends until his imperfect little heart finally stopped beating altogether.
He knew only love”.
Excerpt from ‘Waiting with Gabriel’ Loyola Press.
It takes incredible strength to come to NICU every day, watching your baby fight, not knowing if they will still be here tomorrow and unable to help them but I think that it takes even more strength to make the decision to say goodbye.
This book slips quietly into my mind, sometimes when I’m least expecting it, helping me to support those families for whom the worst is happening. I try to help them remember and celebrate each minute of their baby’s all too short life, taking with them as many memories as possible.
No one can fill the hole left in the hearts of bereaved parents but maybe I can make it a fraction easier to bear.