BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Heaven sure seemed a little closer with the birth of fallen officer Matthew Gerald's brand new baby boy.
He was born Tuesday, March 21 and was already grabbing onto a piece of his daddy. It's a father he will never get a chance to meet after the ambush on police officers and sheriff's deputies in July of 2016.
Matthew Gerald's wife, Dechia, invited WAFB's Kiran Chawla to her hospital room, so we could all enjoy this special bundle of joy. There was a room full of people to take in the ten fingers and ten toes, but a little bracelet on a little wrist says it all, and if it doesn't, a onesie should.
"'Baby Buttons, that's no choice. I don't have a choice in that matter," said Dechia. "BRPD pretty much already said that, so yes, 'Baby Buttons' it is."
Officer Matthew Gerald of the Baton Rouge Police Department died in the line of duty on July 17, 2016. It was after his death that his wife, Dechia, realized her late husband had left her something special to remember him by. She conceived just five days before he died. His brothers in blue called Gerald "Buttons," so now his little boy will carry on the name "Baby Buttons."
God's miracle came into the world Tuesday. Falyn Matthew Gerald was born at 4:31 p.m. He weighs 6 lbs., 8 ounces and is 19.5 inches long.
Dechia has worn her husband's wedding ring as a necklace ever since the attack last summer. When she held "Baby Buttons" for the first time, he held tight to that ring.
"It was very overwhelming... very emotional. Every emotion you could imagine comes at one time, all at once, but it's very exciting," Dechia added.
It's exciting because little Falyn will be a constant reminder of her husband, but challenging knowing he is not physically here, but Gerald's presence was felt even in the hospital room.
"I can just feel his presence. I don't have to worry about the anxiety or worry where's he's at or what he's doing because at this moment, he's here with us," Dechia explained.
"We all feel daddy with us," said Tish, Matthew's mother. "Very bittersweet, just more than I can express. Just touches my heart more than I can express. It's like having him all over again."