Empty Feeling

All day, I prayed for a miracle. That somehow Gabe's white blood cell count would go down... But ever few hours, I made them re-check his bloodwork, waiting for our miracle.

I watched his count rise from 12-14-19-22....

But around 6pm I made Nick call Dr Del Nido, the man who has advocated for Gabe this entire time. I made him call to ask one more time if there was any chance at all that Gabe could recover.

'Surgeons never give up on their patients, ever.' A nurse told us. But Dr Del Nido told us that it was the end. That if we let his infection brew farther, it would be the longest, hardest road we put Gabe through, his kidneys had stopped functioning well.... his body was swelling from retaining fluid... and the infection was cutting off bloodflow to all of his important organs.

In the last moments with him I still hoped that he would be able to breathe on his own... to come off of everything. I was hoping for our miracle even as we said goodbye. But I know we had our miracle in our arms.

Nick's Dad held him around 7pm. Then, Nick held him at 7:25pm. Then I asked his sweet nurse, Dane, who loves him so much if she wanted to hold her 'nugget' as she always called him. I would be his last hold. I brought him into the world, and I wanted to be the one who was holding him. Dane cried over him, as we all did.... and then she looked at me.

"Are you ready?"' She said.

I began sobbing and she did too. "No." I said, through tears...

I couldn't do it, I'd said it all day. I couldn't say goodbye.. I couldn't give up... I couldn't watch his life end. But I knew that it was going to end whether I held him now or not.

I held him in my arms and cried. A photographer showed up from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and caught photos of him... and then photographed what happened next.

I didn't understand how Gabe would stop breathing. I couldn't fathom it. I have never seen anyone die before. I asked them what they would do... and they made it sound very simple. They would remove the  breathing tube, and turn off the medications that were helping his blood pressure... and turn off the machine telling us his heartrate and breathing rate.

They gave him extra pain medication, but I made them not give them too much. I wanted to see him breathe once more.

They removed his breathing tube, and he cried out loud from the tape being removed... Which caused me to break into tears again, looking at his sweet sad face.

They removed the breathing tube and turned off his medications.

He breathed for a while, but it didn't seem real. It seemed so slow, but so fast.

And we watched him breathe for the next few moments, faster and faster.

Oh Gabe.

It only took a couple of minutes before he was gone.

But before he took his last breaths, I knew he was already gone. I felt his presence leave the room, and I knew our Gabe was forever gone. An empty feeling sunk deeply into my heart, and I knew what that meant.

We sobbed, so much. The photographer caught all of it, and I'm not sure if I will ever want to see it.

Afterwards, Nick told him he thought he probably got a lot of really horrible pictures of us crying...

But he said.. "They weren't horrible. It looked like a lot of love." and he began to cry.

Dane and I dressed Gabe in his little tuxedo for the last time. We put on his shoes and the photographer took some pictures. I had a hard time being in them, because I knew Gabe was not there anymore... and he didn't look anything like the boy in my heart.

The boy who is missing from there now.

I know he is a perfect place of love...

But that doesn't change the empty feeling we have now.

His birthday is on Tuesday, you know.

Oh Gabe.

I love you so, so so much.


Aleisha said...

Lord Jesus I lift Julia and Nick up to you right now. Lord I pray that you would help them through each second of the day, give them strength ,and encouragement and grace to get through. Thank you Lord for giving us the gift of Heaven that we will see our loved ones again, that they will see Gabe again one day. Lord Thank you for Nick and Julia and their testimony , thank you for helping them to share their faith through this and being a light for others as they walk through this valley . Lord we don't know the big picture of our lives , but you do , and you know why things happen the way they do...and it is really hard sometimes through things like this to understand but Lord I pray that you would just be with all the family, thank you Lord for Gabes life , I didn't even know him other than through this blog and he and his family blessed my life , just in this small amount of time. Hold tight to them Jesus , In Jesus name , Amen, Prov3:5,6 God bless you

Kae Hutchens said...

Julia...how can I say anything...
I don't know what to say. My heart breaks and aches so badly for you and your family.

Your love for Gabe shone so brightly, and everyone who I've shared his story with is blessed and moved. I can't imagine how long it took you to write this, I stopped and cried so many times reading it. Gabe could not have had better parents, you and Nick are such an inspiration.

Your family will continue to be in my prayers <3 <3 <3


Lili said...

Julia, it took me forever to read this post because I kept tearing up. I can only imagine how much more difficult it was to write it. I am so sorry for your family's loss. I just don't know what to say. I wish I had the words to offer some sort of comfort. But please know that in the time I've followed your and Nick's blogs and story Gabe has helped me become a better parent, a more patient parent. I will never take anything for granted. I hug my kids a little longer and tighter. I sit and watch cartoons and run and play and forget about the housework. Gabe was loved unconditionally by all of you, by all of us. He was a warrior and an angel. Thank you for sharing him with us.

irene phillips said...

Julia...you don't even know me...i cried silently in the dark...holding my 10 month old reading this post. I'm a mess right now. I know our God is Sovereign and He is good. Though those things are true...we still ache in this life. So glad for Gabe to not have to suffer and be in the complete presence of His Maker.

Praying for peace and courage to get up every morning for you and your family...to be strong enough to say that He the Lord is good.

Fallbrook, California

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