The story of our little baby boy who lived three days
I actually wrote what your about to read a week after we lost our little boy Gabriel Jacob Horn. I wrote this to my co workers at the time. His short little life from conception to death has played a huge roll in our story and our business. His story actually started our business and to us he is our “little saint” in heaven watching down over us.
Here we go….
“Hello to All,
I wanted to send you all an email so you know what is going on with my family and why I have not been at work for so long now. As you all know I went into labor and delivered our 24 week old baby boy. Why did I go into labor, well the doctor has two theories. One is: The day we found out I was pregnant I also started to spot. We went to the doctor right away. We were 5 weeks along and I had a small tear in my uterus. The tear seemed to be gone at my 7 weeks ultrasound and the baby had a heart beat. All seemed well. The doctor said one of two things happened; the tear in my uterus did not heal properly and got infected causing my body to deliver, or the tear was not a tear but a second baby (a twin) that did not implant properly from the beginning. My body did produce enough amniotic fluid for 2 babies; that’s why I was so big. As my body tried to absorb the other egg it got infected causing the labor. My white count was at 24 and around 30-40 your body becomes toxic and starts to shut down. In order to keep myself alive and try to save the baby my body put itself into labor. There were no outside signs of the infection. My temperature, blood pressure and everything else were normal. The infection was contained in the uterus alone.
So it all began late Friday night with very mild contractions about an hour or so apart. We initially thought Braxton Hicks contractions. Upon awaking Saturday morning the contractions were a bit stronger and closer together. We called the doctor. Since it was Saturday she had us go to the hospital to be checked out. The nurse gave me a shot to stop my contractions and it worked for a while. Baby Gabriel was doing just fine and aside from the contractions I checked out just fine too. The nurse decided to send me home and we thought that all was going to be ok since the contractions we stopping.
We arrived home and I took a nap on the couch. About an hour latter the contractions came back very strong, about 3 minutes apart. We called the doctor immediately! She sent us back to the hospital. I was given a shot every hour for the next 3 hours. Nothing was working; the contractions were not stopping only getting worse. At the beginning of the fourth hour they decided to check my cervix, it was to late, I was fully dilated. About 5 min later my hospital room contained my doctor and about 10 nurses, I had IV’s, shots and medicine coming from every direction. My heart sank as I realized that my son was on his way into a world that his little body was not ready for. I began to pray.
Only about 30 min after the doctor arrived I had to deliver. Two pushes and he was in this world. As the nurses took him away quickly we heard on faint cry from our precious baby. It was at that time my heart broke and our journey began. We did not get to see Gabriel for a few hours after delivery.
As my husband and I walked into the NIC Unit my nerves started to shake. We had to scrub in first before seeing our son. We approached his room that contained a tiny incubator, a lung machine, lots of monitors and flashing lights. As we came up on the incubator there was our son: Gabriel Jacob Horn, 24 weeks old, 1lb 13oz, 12.8 inches long, and his head was 9 inches in diameter. He was smaller then a toy baby and yet the most beautiful and cutest little person I had ever laid eyes on. People always say the best gifts come in small packages and boy was this true!
The first day all went pretty good. Gabriel was in critical condition, which is to be expected at 24 weeks old. Tons of people were already praying for our little boy. A prayer group was stared on facebook for him and within about 5 hours 264 members had signed up to pray. I was filled with a comfort from God. By the next day I had received text messages from people who were praying everywhere. Not only friend and family were all praying but also so were whole convents, churches, organizations and groups. I have found great comfort in know that Gabriel had brought so many people to prayer.
On the second day one of his little lungs got a hole in it. A tube was placed in his chest to control the airflow. It was one more tube to go along with several IV’s in his tiny body. The doctors still had hope and said this was normal for premature babies. Babies at 24 weeks have very fragile and undeveloped lungs. At this point we were hanging in there and so was Gabriel. It was that night, well almost the next morning (4am) that my husband and I were awakend by the nurse and told to go to the NIC Unit right away. Gabriel had another hole form in his other lung. Surgery was underway to place another tube in his chest. My heart was racing and I thought I was going to pass out. After waiting for two hours in the family room they finally came and told us he made it though. I was so thankful. We visited his little incubator for a while and then went back to our room for some sleep.
The third day began and we went to visit our son upon awaking. He looked so precious and sweet. After our morning visit we returned to our room to clean up and prepare for the day. A day we did not anticipate. It was not long after our return to our room that the doctor called for us to come back to the NIC Unit right away. I knew this was not good. As we got buzzed through the doors there were no smiles on the nurses faces. It was a solemn mood in the NICU. I began to pray immediately that I would not have an anxiety attack. As I prayed I realized that Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ, had to go through watching her son die on the cross. Our son was not on a cross and here to save the world, but I feel he was here to bring people to prayer.
We entered his little room and the doctor was already in tears. She began to explain that Gabriel’s X-rays showed that he had suffered a fourth degree stroke. This was probably due to the trauma at 4am when he got the second hole in this little lungs. His little brain was swollen and severely damaged and his tiny body was shutting down. She said he was in great pain and they would have to give him a ton of medicine to keep him basically comatose to not feel pain and that there was no undoing that damage. She did not know how much longer he would live and that all the machines were set up at 100% to try and keep him alive.
My husband and I sat by Gabriel’s bedside and did our daily prayer with him asking for guidance as to what to do. Also earlier that morning Gabriel had opened his eyes for the first time. After prayer we went back to the room cleaned up and prepared for the hardest day of our lives so far, the day we held our son as he died in our arms. When we got back to the NIC Unit all the nurses were by him. He had developed a clot in the umbilical cord and now no more medicine or IV’s could be transmitted that way. The Doctor looked at us and said the body is really shutting down now there is nothing we can do. We watched as the nurses unhooked all of his IV’s and equipment. The room became more and more silent as the emergency buzzers and monitors stopped going off. As my husband stood by my side holding me I held our sons hand while they took everything out of his tiny body. Gabriel was left on a respirator and pain medicine so he would not feel any pain at all.
As they handed Gabriel to me to hold against my chest for the first and last time he looked at me as if to say I know it’s you mommy and I love you. I held him for about 15 min and then gave him to my husband to hold, my husband took off his shirt and held little Gabriel against his chest to keep him warm and to feel his heart beat. Another 15 min later my husband handed Gabriel back to me and I sat on my husbands lap laying back into his arms holding Gabriel on my chest. I guess we sat like that for about 3 hours till his little heart finally came to a stop. As I look back, it only felt like 5 minutes to me. It was 2:45pm on Tuesday the 12th when we did our job as parents. We got our baby to heaven.
All I can say it that our Baby Boy was sent here for a mission from God (as we all are) and he completed his mission in three days. His mission was to bring as many people to prayer as possible and he did it. He really did. I have had hundreds of people post on my facebook how many people were praying because he was here. It is well over 500 or 600 people and those are the ones we know of. My friend Olivia works for Spirit FM the local Catholic radio station and she asked on air for prayers for Gabriel and our family. Its hard to tell how may were praying exactly but I know the number had to be up there. To me our little Gabriel Jacob Horn is a true little saint and always will be.
I know the process of grieving is far from over and only time and Christ will heal our hearts but I am truly grateful for the little gift God gave us for three days. And to see God work though our little man is amazing and awe inspiring. God chose us to carry a son that would bring many to prayer, what an honor and great privilege. With God’s strength we will heal and Gabriel’s presence will always be with us. And now we have a little saint in heaven praying over and for us too.
I did not tell you all this to make you sad or upset, but to let in on our miracle baby sent from God.”
Why is Gabriel’s story part of our roots?
WOW reading that again after all these years visually brings me right back to those three days as if they happened yesterday. But by the grace of God we have healed beautifully from our experience. The reason this is part of our roots is because 2 days before we ended up in the hospital we had just purchased our new professional cameras. Both our new cameras and three days worth of clothing were pack in our car when all this happened. We were about to head to a Catholic couples weekend retreat.
We don’t believe in coincidence only Godincidence.
Because we had our cameras with us Gabriel was the first person we ever took professional photos of which to this day and forever will be our most cherished. Also the same day we were released from the hospital (the same day Gabriel went to heaven) we received our business license in the mail. We believe God has plans for us and this is just the beginning of what he has in store.
Today we are wedding + portrait photographers but tomorrow is always in God’s hands. His will be done. Because of our experience 9 years ago we were introduced to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep whom we now volunteer our time, gifts and talents too. They are an organization who introduces remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture. If you have never heard of them we encourage you to check them out. If your a photographer please think about volunteering here, it truly impacts lives in away nothing else can. It is a gift that will be forever cherished.
We share this to say that even in life’s struggles beauty comes from the ashes. Beauty is God’s love language and if we quiet our souls to hear Him speak we can find the beauty in all of life.