Breanna, North Carolina

Gabriel Alexander was born on June 14, 2011 at 11:30 pm. He was 7 1/2 inches long and weighed 4.9 oz. He had 10 fingers, 10 toes, his daddy’s big ears, and my thin lips. He was perfect.

I found out during my 15 week quad screening that Gabriel had a neural tube defect called Acrania. During my first month of conception Gabriel’s neural tube failed to properly close and although he developed a brain and spine he never developed a skull. My husband and I were told that Gabriel’s condition was a 1 in a million thing and at the time it made me so angry to hear that–to not have any answers. Now, I realize Gabriel really was 1 in a million and losing him was a blessing in disguise.

Gabriel brought my husband and I back together. For the first time since finding out my husband had Hodgkin’s Lymphoma we stopped fighting, put our differences aside and worked together to figure out what we were going to do–how exactly we were going to survive knowing we had to bury our only child.

There was little doubt in our minds that we wanted to terminate our pregnancy. The doctors told us that continuing on with our pregnancy could cause Gabriel pain–the thin tissue covering his brain would develop lesions and my amniotic fluid would painfully and slowly paralyze him.

Our choices were to: let our son die, or let our son die.

How the hell do you deal with that? As a parent, what do you do? As a mother, how do you face knowing you couldn’t protect your son? How do you let go of the miracle baby that you were told you’d never conceive? How do you say goodbye to the only child you may ever have? How do you walk into the maternity ward and know you won’t be leaving with your baby?

I can spend the rest of my life regretting my decision or I can accept it and know that I am an amazing mother.

I choose the latter. I refuse to allow the stereotype associated with abortion to make me think any less of myself as a mother. I did what was best for my son. I put his life before my own (and would’ve gladly given my life for his). I wish more than anything he was here and not a day goes by that I don’t think of him. I still cry when I visit his grave. I still snuggle with is teddy bear and cry myself to sleep.

But, at the end of the day God is in control. Do I feel God was present during my abortion? Absolutely. Do I believe Gabriel is heaven? Without a doubt. Do I think I’ll still get into heaven? I live every day as if I will. God still loves me. He still loves my husband. He loved Gabriel enough to call him home before he made it out of the womb.

Gabriel is my saving grace–my guardian angel. My life is so much better because of him. I am so much better because of him.