The waiting room was packed with nurses, doctors, and technicians of every kind. Delivering a premature baby always has its risks, but this little boy only had thirty-one weeks to mature, so his chances of life are precarious in the balance. His mother had developed P.I.H., which is also known as pre-eclampsia or toxemia. Her body was very sick with high blood pressures and possible kidney failure. Unfortunately for the baby, the only cure for his mother was birth. P.I.H. (pregnancy induced hypertension) is a strange condition in which the mother’s body seems to be fighting against the placenta which delivers the very life to her unborn child. As long as the baby is safely inside of her, she becomes sicker and sicker.
So this day, the doctor decided, was the defining moment when little Gabriel Aiden Works was forced to make his arrival on planet earth.
After a long, difficult struggle, the caesarian delivery by two of the doctors was finally complete. Little Gabriel made his appearance, not crying but obviously moving, and quickly was whisked to the waiting table where three nurses helped him take his first breaths. His skin’s bluish tint immediately changed to a rosy red and squeaky cries began to be belted from his tiny lungs. Two pounds and fifteen ounces of precious energy started his short journey of fighting for life.
Stabilized and swaddled, the NICU nurse brought him to his mother and father, Melody and Brian, for a quick kiss before being taken for further treatment.
All seemed to go well while mother was being cared for after her surgery. Daddy and family gathered in the tiny waiting room to celebrate and offer encouragement because each one knew in his or her heart without saying a word that the situation was possibly critical. Melody’s brother, Blair, was a C.R.N.A., anesthetist, and he knew all too well the risks of this birth. While he tried to be positive, his countenance told the underlying story of his concern.
We put on our glad faces for the rest of the day and buried our fears hoping they would go away.
We were prepared for weeks in the NICU, knowing that Gabriel’s little lungs were not ready for air. We were ready for ups and downs in his recovery. We were prepared for possible bad news about his condition and agreed to take it with grace but to choose to believe that our Father in Heaven had this little one in His capable hands and that all would end well. Our first few visits to the NICU are best described as controlled anxiety. Seeing a tiny little human hooked to all those machines can break your heart. Nothing you ever see on TV can compare to the emotions you feel when it is your child or your grandson in that position. We were so happy he was alive, but sad for his condition at the time. Well-meaning nurses told Melody and Brian not to rub or pat too hard as they loved on him because his nervous system was underdeveloped and it caused him stress. At one point they were even told not to touch him at all, which in hindsight we realize was not good advice considering what the possible outcome could be. Not once were they allowed to hold Gabriel. A mother’s longing to hold her child is a powerful force that needs to be consummated.
The next two days were a blur of emotion, up and down, happy and sad, faith-filled and fear-ravaged.
On the third day of life, modern medicine could no longer sustain his little body even after transfer to another, more equipped, medical center. What went wrong, we are not sure, only that Gabriel lost his brave battle for life.
It was then that Mother and Father were finally allowed to hold their son. A more heart wrenching sight, I cannot imagine. We wept, pouring our souls out to our Heavenly Father and He listened, silently.
Why this child? Why us? Why, why, why?
We may never know the answers to any of these questions. But we do know that our Creator, Gabriel’s Creator, allowed this to happen and He will have an answer if we will listen.
God knew us before we were born, while we were yet in our mother’s womb, the Bible tells us. He formed us in our mother’s womb, the psalmist David tells us. He loves us so much that He gave His only Son to pay the sacrifice for our sins so that we may be in fellowship with Him and live eternally in Heaven.
Our faith is strong; even with broken hearts, we know that God is in control. He will rebuild our lives, and bless our family, as we stay faithful to Him.
We know that we will be reunited with Gabriel one day as we all leave this Earth and return to Heaven where our spirits were created.
May you, as you read this account, have the same hope that we have in Christ.