We have a follow up on a story we reported on early last month. It was then that a Surrey family welcomed their fourth child who had a rare disorder, anencephaly. Karassa Stinchcomb shares the story of a boy whose life lasted only a few days but has already left an ever-lasting impact.
“We’re grateful for every minute we had,” said Chase Lee, Gabriel’s father.
After 30 hours of labor, Amy Lee gave birth to Gabriel on Oct. 13.
He weighed just four pounds, 12 ounces.
“It was absolutely wonderful! He did not cry. Anencephaly babies, a lot of them don’t, so I do remember asking Chase and asking the doctor if he was alive, and they said, ‘Yes!'” Amy said.
The Lees were able to take him home the following day and their three kids were excited to meet their baby brother.
“I went in after school to pick him up. We went outside the building, and went out to the car and were getting ready to get in the car and he looked at me and his first question was, ‘Did Gabriel go to heaven?’ And I was able to look at him and just say, ‘Nope! He’s at home waiting for you with mom!'” Chase said.
They say for the 66 hours he was alive, he was surrounded by nothing but love.
“He was always held. We had a few visitors come. The kids fought over him! I mean, we had to set a timer on our Google, ‘Hey Google, set a timer for five minutes,’ because they always wanted to hold him. We loved up on him. We sang him songs, and read to him and cuddled him,” said Amy.
On Friday morning, the Lees noticed Gabriel was having trouble breathing.
“You never think as a parent you’re going to hold a child in your arms when he or she is dying. So, it was hard, obviously, but, like I said, there’s just no other way I would want him to be, you know? If he was going to pass, it was at home, and surrounded by his family and love and he was being held by his mom and dad,” Amy said.
The Lees say Gabriel’s siblings knew he was going to heaven. They just didn’t know when.
“Again, I went to pick him up at school and we were walking out to the car and that was the first thing he asked as we were getting in is, ‘Did Gabriel go to heaven?’ And I told him yes. He got in the car and climbed in the back and I could just tell that he was sad. So, I actually ended up pulling to the side of the road so I could go back and just talk to him. Give him a hug,” Chase said.
Gabriel made sure to show off his personality. Which is something they say was so nice to see and something they’ll always miss.
“Grief is kind of a roller coaster. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing just fine and everything is under control. And then, something will hit you and you remember this and that,” Amy said.
“It comes and goes. You have your good times and you think, ‘I got this, you know? I’ll be able to get through.’ And just some little thing will pop in your mind and you get that…just miss him,” Chase said.
The Lees say they’re purchasing a bench at the Roosevelt Park Zoo with his name on it. They’re also going to do a scholarship fund at Bishop Ryan Catholic School in his name.