Real Stories

“His Daddy Was By Our Side”: Baby’s Heartbreaking Birth Coincidence


Grace Sotolongo-Alvarez and her husband, Gabriel, had a fairytale life. They were madly in love, married with two children – Gianna and Gracie – and a baby on the way. Grace always wanted four children but Gabriel was set on three. Grace knew at some point she would be able to convince him to go for Baby #4 but a terrible birth coincidence changed all of that.

Birth coincidence as baby born same time as father dies
Grace and Gabriel with their daughters, Gianna and Gracie. Source: Facebook

Gone in an instant

At 38 weeks pregnant with their third child, a boy, Grace felt like she was on top of the world.

We were living everything we had prayed and wished for. Our business was starting to pick up and Gabriel was VP of his company and thriving in the construction industry. Gianna was doing great in her first year of middle school and our spunky 5-year-old was doing amazing in PreK and her first year in a big kid school. Everything was great and we were making all of the plans for our little boy’s arrival,” Grace shared with Love What Matters. 

1:05 pm

One week before Grace’s planned C-section, her world was flipped upside down. Gabriel headed to work as normal and, as usual, Grace contacted him around 10:30 am for their daily chat.

“I gave him a long to-do list we needed to accomplish in just a week, before my c-section, and he just lovingly agreed to everything.”

She then texted him at 1:04 pm and heard nothing back.

“I found it odd because he always answered pretty quickly but I knew he had a busy work day and had to be at different job sites, so I went on with my day.”

Tragic birth coincidence
Gabriel was so excited to meet his first son. Source: Love What Matters

Grace went to pick her daughter up from school and, while in the school pick-up line, received a phone call from one of her friends, asking about Gabriel’s accident.

She didn’t know what the friend was talking about.

Grace contacted her husband’s boss and, the moment he answered the phone, she knew something was wrong. No one told Grace that her husband had died at 1:05 pm that day, just one minute after she texted him. But she knew.

Gabriel and Grace's birth story
Source: Facebook

He died instantly

Through a sea of emotion, Grace was able to collect her daughter and drive her to her sister’s house before receiving confirmation that her loving husband had been in a construction accident. He died instantly at 1:05 pm when a piece of machinery fell on him.

“To this day, OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor) has not completed their report, and therefore, 7.5 months after his death, we still do not have exact answers as to why this machine fell, injured another worker, and instantly killed my husband.”

One week before welcoming her son, she was forced to say goodbye to her husband. She was also forced to break the news to Gabriel’s two girls.

Telling my daughter and seeing her change from this innocent 5-year-old who was always laughing and being silly to a little girl whose eyes no longer lit up and whose smile would just no longer come out is one of the most heartbreaking things you can experience as a parent.”

The grief was overwhelming as Grace realised she would be welcoming her son alone. But she remained strong and focused on keeping her baby safe until his planned C-section.

Tragic birth coincidence: Baby born at same time as dad’s death

On November 1st, one week after his dad’s death, at exactly 1:05 pm, Grace welcomed her son, Gabriel Tomas into the world.

“My son was born with multiple signs that his daddy was by our side at every moment. He was born at 1:05 p.m., the exact same time as his father’s death. I believe his father met him in Heaven and carried him before I did. He physically looks just like his daddy and the look in his eyes is his daddy’s same stare.” 

Through her grief, Grace found strength in sharing her story and talking about the man she loved and the father of her children.

Gabriel and Grace's tragic birth coincidence
Source: Love What Matters

 I am at a point in my life where I am married yet I no longer belong to a couple. I am one of my kids’ parents yet I’m alone. I not only have to run a business by myself, raise our kids by myself, run a household by myself, and make all kinds of difficult decisions by myself, but now I also have to find my identity again. This is the loneliest journey, even when there are 100 people around.”

She also shares her story to help others going through something similar.

“I want other grieving wives/spouses (I hate that other W word with which they describe us) to know that it is okay to do things at your pace and at your timing. It’s okay to normalise grief in an age-appropriate way for your children. It’s okay to set healthy boundaries and turn away help if it makes you uncomfortable. It’s okay to cry with your kids and it’s okay to be both strong and weak.

Please don’t rush us to move on because we are still living on the last day our lives were whole and in a state of confusion, and it is normal. It won’t last forever but it is normal.  I plan on living life at my pace, raising our children as we planned, and turning my pain into purpose with my writing in hopes of helping others in grief (and helping their families and friends to better understand them).”

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Avatar of Jenna Galley

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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