Gabriel Allen Reynolds was born Jan. 24, 2014, at 22 weeks and 4 days. He weighed 1 pound, 4 ounces and was 11.5 inches long. Most babies born at 22 weeks have only a 10 percent chance at life, but baby Gabriel is a fighter. Thursday Gabriel weighed 1 pound, 7 ounces.
“He’s just a miracle. All of his blood work is doing great,” said mother Misti Reynolds. Gabriel is already lifting his head. “God is answering our prayers. God is bringing Gabriel through and maturing him beyond his gestational age. He is a miracle. We are thanking God for coming through for him.”
Gabriel is the son of Allen and Misti Reynolds. Allen is a park ranger on leave at Rock Island State Park due to the time he has to stay in Nashville. Misti is the owner of Lush Salon and Spa located in Rock Island. She has been forced to close the salon while the family is in Nashville.
Gabriel is in the neonatal intensive care unit at Centennial Medical Center in Nashville. When his parents are not by his side, they have been staying with a co-workers’s parents in the Green Hills area of Davidson County.
While their infant son was in the hospital fighting for his life, someone stole many of the donations that had been collected for them by friends and family.
Allen left money and gift cards in their car at night because Misti said they were staying in a nice neighborhood and they never considered their car would be burglarized.
“They’ve never had any robberies on their street, in a very, very nice neighborhood. And then there was a car break-in, three or four cars were broken into,” Misti said.
Along with the money and gift cards, a GPS was also taken from the car.
The Reynolds family is very religious and they are holding no grudges following the theft. Instead, they have taken to Facebook to solicit prayers for the thief.
Kimberlee Bowman, the oldest of Gabriel’s three older sisters, posted a letter to the thief on her Facebook page.
Part of Kim’s letter to the thief says, “... You didn’t realize that cash and gift card was a donation that was given to our family to help support my mom and step dad while they try to stay close to their 10 day old son who was just born prematurely at 22 weeks and 4 days and is currently in the NICU in Nashville fighting for his little life. You didn’t realize that they are an hour and a half away from home and crunching numbers and praying for possible donations to make ends meet and stay afloat while staying as close to their baby as possible during this crisis and the driveway where you broke into their car was the driveway of a family who generously opened their home, to make it easier to stay close to the NICU. You didn’t realize that my mom had to close her business after she went into preterm labor and that money that you saw was all they had.”
Bowman ends her letter by saying, “...I just pray that God blesses you. I want you to be so blessed that you do not feel the need to steal from others ever again. That, if anything, you will have an overflow so you can give to others. We are not going to let this take us back in our faith. God is our provider and he is more than enough! Whoever you are, God loves you. Try to live a life that is pleasing to Him. God bless.”
Allen and Misti keep family and friends informed of Gabriel’s progress via a Facebook page set up in his honor titled “Gabriel: A Promise Kept.”
One post on the page says, “There is power in the name of Jesus ... Glory to God ... Gabriel is doing great ... we prayed over him and know angels are all around him protecting, defending and guarding our precious baby while we rest.”
Misti says she wants people to remember good from Gabriel’s story. “To me, it is about how good God is and how He is bringing Gabriel through. They told us Gabriel wasn’t viable when I went into early labor. I checked myself out of another hospital and we ended up at Centennial where they have a wonderful NICU and where Gabriel is getting stronger every day. People should have hope and faith in the word of God.”
The support page for Gabriel now has more than 1,000 likes from people who are now praying for him, sharing his story and donating money for the family.