BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) – The wife of fallen Baton Rouge Police Officer Matthew Gerald says her husband left her with one final gift.
Dechia Gerald said the gift will be a wonderful and constant reminder of her late husband.
"I just wanted to let the world know about our gift that Matt left behind when he left us," Gerald said. "We're expecting."
Just one week after her husband died in the line of duty on July 17, Dechia Gerald said her two daughters, 9-year-old Dawclyn and 3-year-old Fynleigh, somehow knew, starting with Dawclyn while her mom was trying to find clothes to wear to her husband's funeral services.
"She said, 'Mommy, I don't know why you're complaining.' She said, 'Because you're pregnant,' and I said, 'Girl hush, don't say that kind of stuff,’"Dechia Gerald said.
Then, just a few days later when she was bathing Fynleigh, Gerald said Fynleigh "told me the same thing. However this time, she told me that Jesus told her that there was a baby boy in my tummy."
Gerald said at this point, she still had no idea and that she was still completely clueless. A week later, the family got together for a gathering.
"Because I suspected, I had bought a home pregnancy test and I had brought it with me and I took it and within a second of that being done, the test read positive," Gerald said. "I wanted to cry but at the same time, it's kind of exciting but then the flood of knowing all of the firsts that he would miss with that one."
Gerald said she immediately went and told her family, her in-laws, her fellow officer wives Trenisha Jackson and Tonja Garafola as well as Officer Gerald's squad. She admitted she's very excited yet very scared, especially since she said her husband was a very hands-on dad.
"For the most part, it's a blessing. I mean obviously he left us a very special gift behind, but at the same time, all those days that I get overwhelmed, I ask how am I going to do this by myself without him," Gerald said.
However, she said she knows there's a higher being watching over her. Looking back at how the days prior to July 17 and the weeks after it transpired, she said everything happened for a reason.
"Did I ever think that we were going to have our time cut that short? No. Did I want to be a widow at 38 years old? No," Gerald said.
In the first few weeks of July, officers were working 12 hours a day without any days off because of the protests in the city. She's surprised she even got the night of July 12 with him, the night she believes she conceived, just five days before Officer Gerald died in the line of duty.
While driving to the doctor for her first ultrasound at four weeks, she said she heard her wedding song on the radio, something she had not heard in a while.
"If you notice, it looks like a wedding ring inside of there," Gerald said pointing at her ultrasound. "I felt like when I saw that he was with us."
His blue eyes is what she said she fell for seven years ago. Now, she's preparing for another carbon copy of her husband.
"It'll have the blue eyes. I'm sure the blonde hair although I've been praying for the red hair however I don't know if that'll happen," Gerald said.
Now at 10 weeks, she admitted she has more questions than answers but truly believes He will guide her through life.
"There's no better gift that a husband could leave behind than a baby, a gift from God. There's no better gift than that," Gerald said.
She added that just two or three days before her husband died, the couple had talked about having another baby, but Matthew was worried about bringing another child into a world with "hatred" and worried financially with him being a police officer and Dechia being a school teacher.
The baby is due April 7, 2017.