Gabriel and his SOURCE onesie
God is my strength
As Christians, we hear it all the time, we may even claim it. But do we believe it? When you feel like life is too painful, exhausting, and overwhelming, do you ask God to be your strength when you have none left?
When the Phipps family received the most heartbreaking news, God Himself became their only comfort. The phrase ‘God is my strength’ became real. More powerful than their pain, more real than their loss, and more than just a phrase.
So when Danielle reached out to SOURCE in search for the perfect onesie for her son, we were captivated by her powerful testimony. As she shared the tragic story of her son, Gabriel, we were humbled by her strength and courage in the midst of grief. Through the hardest event of her life, God served as her strength. He was faithful, providing comfort, courage, and filling her with strength to endure. She allowed us to share her story in hopes that it would provide hope to anyone suffering and questioning God’s goodness.
The Phipps family was elated when they found out they were expecting their third child. This joy quickly turned into fear as Danielle began bleeding at 14 weeks. Through tests and an ultrasound, the doctors found that the tiny baby’s bladder was twice the average size. This concerned the doctors enough to send her to a specialist 180 miles away. The Phipps family made the long trek to the appointment with high hopes that their baby would be healthy.
Relief set in when the nurse told them that the baby’s measurements were good, but as the nurse’s face contorted, they became alarmed. Danielle will never forget the nurse’s flat words: “Something is wrong. I think I need to get the doctor.”
Something was wrong. The doctor came in, and their fears were confirmed. Danielle and her husband were told that their sweet baby had a chromosomal abnormality and that the final diagnosis could be one of three things: Spina Bifida, Trisomy 13, or Trisomy 18 and they were sent to a genetic counselor. Fear, terror, praying. Lots of praying.
Two long days later, they got the call. The waiting was over. Their son was diagnosed with Trisomy 18, a chromosome abnormality where there are three copies of the 18th chromosome. They were flatly told that their son was “not compatible with life” and that it would be surprising if he made it to 20 weeks. They gave them the option to terminate the pregnancy.
It was devastating to imagine losing their sweet baby boy, but Danielle knew that choosing to end his life before God did was not an option. All Danielle could do was cling to God and pray for a miracle.
However, through her agony, fear, and questions, she never grew angry. She maintained an inner peace that only the Holy Spirit could provide. All of her questions forced her to lean on God more than ever. Her faith grew rich and deep.
When it came time to name their baby boy, they chose Gabriel, which means “God is my strength.” His life was a testimony that God is faithful. He does not promise a pain-free existence. He vows to be there with us in the midst of it. The God of the universe could empathize with the deep agony that comes from losing a child. God provided her supernatural strength.
As Danielle began to accept that Gabriel would enter into this world in a very small body, she began to search for something meaningful to dress him in. She longed to dress her little boy, look him in the eyes, and tell him very how loved he was, no matter how small. She wanted something that was a declaration of who he was and reflected this season of their life. This was when Danielle reached out to us.
When Danielle’s email landed in our inbox, we knew right away we wanted to create a special onesie for Gabriel. We came up with a design with the meaning of Gabriel’s name on it. We felt so privileged to be able to be a small part of their story.
At the beginning of September, Danielle and her husband got the worst news expecting parents could receive: there was no heartbeat to be found in her baby’s tiny chest. After a long and painful labor, Danielle brought her stillborn son into the world on September 2, 2016. Gabriel weighed 2.8 pounds and was 11.8 inches long. They spent several precious hours with their son—taking photos, having the hospital chaplain baptize him and perform a memorial. Danielle found peace knowing that they did everything they could for their beloved son.
Danielle’s heart of courage to trust God in the midst of immense pain and her brave decision to carry her son as long as God intended is incredible. Upon returning home, Danielle began pumping and donating milk, in Gabriel’s name, to a NICU. She and her husband, have started raising awareness for Trisomy 18.
We continue to be so moved by Danielle’s story. She is such a beautiful example of what it looks like to lean into Christ during an unthinkable situation. When God is your source of hope and strength, he will carry you through the hardest of trials. It’s not just a trite saying, Danielle’s life reflects this to the fullest extent.
So thank you, Danielle, for your bravery in sharing your journey with us and allowing us the opportunity to create a treasured piece for you and your family.