Isela’s arm hit Bruno’s face early in the morning as she stretched to wake up. “Ouccchh.” Bruno whined at her.
“I’m sorry…” she told him. “There’s just not room for three of us in this bed.” she smiled getting out of the bed in a Loyola Marymount shirt and running shorts.
“Isela…quit being dumb.” he told her as he looked at her from the bed. “Selly…your feet are huge.”
She glanced down at her feet to see that they looked to be 4 sizes bigger than they were the day before. “Ehh. I know. “ she shrugged walking into the bathroom. Bruno watched her walk into the bathroom. When the door closed her closed his eyes falling back asleep.
“Wake up, Bruno!” Isela yelled at him a few hours later. She was dressed in jeans, moccasins and a big sweater. He didn’t answer him so she threw a pillow at his face.
“Geez. Are you trying to kill me?” he asked sitting up.
“I will if you don’t get up. We have to be at the doctor’s office in an hour.” she said wandering out of their bedroom.
“Holy crap. How did it get to be 11?” he asked himself stretching to get out of the bed She is so beautiful. I can’t even describe it. I cannot believe I am with her. And she’s having our baby. Bruno thought to himself as he watched her stretch out on the couch covering herself with a blanket that was on the other side. He picked up a pillow on the chair next to her throwing it at her.
“Stoooppp.” she cried. “I wasn’t asleep. I promise.” she told him.
“Bullshit. Come on, mama. Let’s go see Brunito.” he said taking her hand lifting her up to pull her toward him.
“Bruno..don’t do that now. I wouldn’t be able to say no, and then we’ll be late.” He didn’t listen to her grabbing her tightly kissing her. He let go of her after a few seconds. “I said not now!” she took her purse from the table waving the keys in her hand. “Let’s go see Selena.”
Isela stretched out on the examining table while they waited for Dr. Garcia.
“I’m so tired…and I’m only 5 months pregnant, Bruno. I don’t get it.” He rolled his chair over to her to play with her hair. I would make a joke about telling her that I could get her something to keep her awake, but that is most likely not the best idea… She closed her eyes as he touched her hair gently. They heard the door open, Bruno rolled his chair frantically back to where it belonged while Isela jumped up.
“How is my favorite couple, today?” Dr. Garcia smiled.
“Isela’s really tired….” Bruno told the doctor. Isela nodded her head.
“Well, let’s take a look at our little baby to make sure everything is okay..and then we can talk about how you’re feeling..”
After doing the examine the doctor filled out some forms turning around back to them. “Isela….how are you really feeling?”
“Like tired all the time. And aren’t my feet not supposed to be this big yet? And tired. A lot.”
“Okay, Iselita. We need you to take it easy. I’m not putting you on bed rest yet, but if things keep up the way they are now…”
“Wait. What do you mean the way they are?” Bruno asked what Isela was thinking. All three of them paused hearing the fear in his voice..
“I know it’s very early. We still have three months,,,but due to Isela’s small cervix it’s probably going to be hard to get our little Selena to term. We all knew this from the beginning. Now, it’s just a matter of ensuring mama and baby’s safety for the next few weeks.”
Isela’s face got white. “But she’ll be okay?” Isela asked. “I just want her to be okay…even if she’s early….”
“Isela…we’re keeping an eye on it. And that’s why I want you to come in next week and to call as often as you feel any changes. “
“Scared.” Bruno finished her statement holding her hand. It was the first time he had shared the same sentiments as she did about the situation. He was very optimistic about the whole thing throughout, comforting Isela through her fears, but now, that her fears had been confirmed, he started to lose it. “What can we do to make sure they’re both okay?” Bruno asked. Isela squeezed his hand, switching places with him. Now she was trying to ease his anxieties.
“We will make sure that this baby is born healthy and to term. Please, Isela, just remember to stay hydrated, keep up your 2 miles every three days and to eat.”
Isela nodded her head, still in shock.
Two months past with Isela going to the doctor weekly and checking in with the doctor the second she felt something was weird. Her dreams were still very vivid with her mother reminding her to have faith in the situation and that she will understand everything soon. Understand things soon? What does that mean? I just wish she would say that everything would be okay. Just fix it all. Just come back. I don’t care if things changed. I just want everything to be okay. Yes, my past caused this. But when I’m sorry doesn’t fix it, nothing will. It was early March. Bruno was getting ready to promote another collaboration between himself and the Far East Movement. He was going to be gone from the middle of March to early May crisscrossing the world until the due date.
:”Brunnnooo…”Isela called out to him sitting in a pile of his clothes as she packed for him. “Do you want the red one at the black one?” she looked up at him showing him two different shirts. “And you can’t have both. Your bag is already probably going to cost a million dollars to check…”
“Put the red one on.” he told her. She gave him a weird looking stretching the shirt as she put it over her head. “Okay….” and now put on the black one.
“It’s too small.”
“Stretch it.” he instructed her.
“Bruno…why am I doing this?”
“Because I want them to smell like you when I put them both in there when you’re not looking.” he explained to her.
“God. You could have just asked me to take out the blue one and then you could have both…” she told him holding up the blue one.
“Put that one on…” he told her.
“No. You can’t have three. Just two..oooooh. Oh my god. That hurt.” she started.
He ran over to her sitting down on the ground next to her. “Isela…what’s wrong?”
“It was like she was going to come out of me like an alien….ohhh. Oh my gosh. It really, really hurts.”
“Leave my stuff here. Let’s get you….” he stopped mid sentence as she gasped on the ground where she was sitting…blood.
“Bruno….what’s going to happen?”she asked him.
“I don’t know, baby.” he said grabbing her with one hand taking out his phone with another. “Isabella…get Dr. Garcia. There’s something wrong with the baby…” Bruno spoke urgently to the receptionist.
“Owwww. It hurts, Bruno.” she cried as he drug her out the door.
“Isela…it’ll be okay.” he told her as they got in the car. I don’t know if it will be. I don’t know if it will be. I don’t know what to do. I’m as scared as she is.
Ten minutes later they walked into the hospital frantic.
“When did you start feeling these contractions?” an older nurse asked Isela as she looked over her chart.
“I felt these..like a few weeks ago, and then again on Monday and now today’s Friday…” Isela thought out loud.
“Okay…Isela...” the nurse added some wires to her to measure heartbeat and blood pressure.
“Is it okay?” she asked looking at the dots moving.
“Yeah…is she okay?” Bruno asked.
The nurse was silent as she wrote down the numbers.
“Owwww. Oh my god….owwww.” Isela cried again. Bruno came over to her rubbing her shoulder.
“It will be okay….” he whispered in her ear. “Have faith, baby.” Bruno looked up at the nurse who was still scribbling ignoring Isela’s cries. “Right?” he asked her. “Please…ma’am…please tell us everything is going to be okay. “
“The doctor will be here to see you in a few minutes…” the nurse said with a reassuring smile on her face.
“It’s not going to be okaaayy….owwwww.” Isela cried again with tears coming down her cheek.
Dr. Garcia came in almost running through the door. “Isela…we need to get this baby out.”
“But it’s only 25 weeks….”
“25 weeks….” Bruno repeated.
“We know. It’s either we get her out now or we don’t get her out at all, Mrs. Hernandez. Like we talked about, you’re just too small for her. …” she paused for a second.
“What’s wrong, Dr. Garcia…tell us what’s wrong…please…” Bruno pleaded.
“Her cervix is too small. Everything is just too small and Selena needs more space…” Dr. Garcia tried to say it slowly. “She needs to have a c-section right now…”
“But…but..will Selena be okay?” Isela said through her tears.
“Take deep breaths, baby. Please. Don’t get too stressed…” Bruno tried to calm her down. “I’ll freak out for you. Just please…” he said calmly.
“I can’t…” she cried.
“Yes you can…yes you can…I’ll be there with you…” Bruno reassured her bending down to her stomach kissing it moving up to kiss her.
“That feels really weird…” Isela said as she felt a small cut against her stomach. “Don’t look Bruno..you’ll pass out and I need you…please…” she told him. Even a joke about his inability to handle blood isn’t going to help us right now…I just need my baby…
Before they entered the operating room Dr. Garcia explained to them that their newborn would be taken to the neonatal intensive care unit right way. They would be able to see her as soon as they had her stabilized.
“I’m not. I’m not taking my eyes off of you until this little girl is out of your tummy, Isela.” he reassured her wiping a tear off of her cheek.
“Please don’t, Bru. If you do I won’t be able to do this..I won’t…” he leaned down next to her kissing her on the forehead.
“I’m not, sweetheart. I’m not.”
“Ouch…” Isela said.
“We’ve got her….” the doctor said quickly handing the baby to the nurses off to the side.
“Bruno…she’s not crying…Bruno….oh my god. Oh my god…Bruno….” Isela cried. He looked in the same direction as she was speechless. The nurses started poking and prodding at their daughter as soon as she was laying down.
“She’s not going to make it Bruno. I had faith…I had it. I’ve lost it….” Isela said quietly watching the same thing he was.
“She’s asleep right now, Yuli…” Bruno said leading his sister and her new fiancé, Ben, into her room.
“Oh my god, Bruno…oh my god…” Yuli said through her tears.
“Sissy…” Yuli said taking her hand.
“Yuli…where is she?” Isela asked.
“Iselita…she’s in the NICU. They’re still making sure she’s okay…” Isela sat up to talk to her sister. The boys had moved aside talking, most likely about the same thing.
“What is wrong with her?” Isela asked.
“Her lungs aren’t fully formed yet. Her heart is very weak and her kidneys…I don’t remember what they said about that but there was something about those too…” Yuli said honestly reaching over to hug her sister tightly.
Early in the morning a nurse came into Isela’s room.
“Mrs. Hernandez?” she asked while Isela watched an earlier version of the Today show.
“Yes?” she turned to look at her.
“We’d like to take you to see your daughter.” she informed her.
“Yes, please. I want to see her….” Isela said quietly.
The nurse helped Isela out of her bed, with stitches she was in lots of pain. “Holy shit. Am I supposed to hurt this much?”
“Yes ma’am…it is considered a major surgery.”
Isela walked slowly toward the room catching Bruno’s curly hair from the distance. The nurse walked a fair distance behind Isela as they caught each other’s eyes. He walked toward her quickly grabbing her as tight as he possibly could. I don’t care how much this hurts…she thought to herself. Isela buried her head into the red shirt she had put on just 24 hours ago. He rubbed her back comforting her through her tears. She dug her nails into his shirt as he cried on her. “Isela…I don’t know if it will be okay….”
“Neither of us know, Bruno. None of us know…” she pulled away from his embrace leading him slowly toward the room the nurse had indicated was open. They glanced into the room full of large incubators and tiny babies. Their baby was not the only one there, but the only one they could see.
“Come with me, Mr. and Mrs. Hernandez…” a nurse named Trisha told them.
“Bru…she has your eyes…” Isela said looking at her large almond shaped eyes which were closed.
“Selly…she has your nose. It’s all wrinkly…” he whispered. She laughed at his description of her nose.
“See. I knew I’d get you to laugh, sweetheart.” he told her rubbing her back as Trisha opened the side so they could touch their newborn.
Isela’s hands started to shake as she held out her hand to touch her small daughter who only weighed two pounds. “She’s so tiny…so tinnyyy….” Isela repeated as Bruno put his hand on top of Isela’s to make it stop shaking.
They stayed there watching the machine breath with their daughter not saying a word.
“Bruno…we have to baptize her. We have to…” Isela said as they continued to watch her.
“I know, Isela. We will. When she’s out of here.” he continued to be optimistic, but it was all a front. She’s right. She’s right.
Trisha came over to them with a gentle smile on her face after they heard a light beep throughout the room. “I’m sorry. We need to take you back to your room, Mrs. Hernandez. Visiting hours are over for right now…”
“I can’t…” Isela said quietly through her tears.
“Selly..come on…” Bruno said wrapping his hand over Selena’s telling her good bye then grasping Isela’s hands with his pulling her away.
“I can’t either, baby…but we have to. We will be back, baby girl. We will be back.” Bruno whispered to their daughter.
“You can both come back at 4…Mrs. Hernandez you need to rest, too.”
“I know. I hurt a lot…” Isela tried to smile. “But my heart hurts a lot more than my stitches.” Isela said moving her hair out of her face taking Bruno’s hand as he led her out the room.
The couple walked slowly into Isela’s room seeing a large family sitting and standing waiting for them. Both families were crammed into the room – a total of 24 people… “Thank you all for being here…” Isela spoke up. “It means so much to us. She needs all of us…” Isela stopped.
“She needs everyone. And we need her, too. “ Bruno said looking down at the ground.
“She’s not…” Isela started looking up at her father through the tears in her eyes. “We have to baptize her so she can be with mama….” she sobbed wiping her tears with her arm.
“Iseita…we can make that happen…” he father stepped forward in a calm voice he had learned from his training as a marriage and family therapist. “I know…I know…this is going to be the worst thing we’ve ever gone through. It’s going to hurt all of us. And it’s going to take…”
“Stop! Stop being my therapist, dad! I just need you to fix it. Please.” Isela yelled. “Just make her better. She’s supposed to be perfect…”
“Isela….she is perfect. She’s perfect the way she is…” Jamie spoke up while Yuli made her way to her sister’s side wrapping her arms around her crying with her.
“And we’re all praying, Brunito. You know God is watching her…and knows the right answer. Have faith in it all.” Bernie said softly. Bruno shook his head as Isela started to cry even more.
“Faith is a bad word, mom. It’s not the right word to use right now….” Bruno snapped at his family. Yuli rubbed her sister’s back with one hand reaching over to touch Bruno’s hand. She and Ben were the only ones who knew the stories about her mother. “I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to sound mean…” he quickly regretted snapping.
Within an hour most of the family had left. Bruno’s brother, sister in law and Yuli and Ben were the only ones left in the room.
“Dad is calling Father Lance..” Yuli told her.
“I know. We need him…” Isela said through her red eyes. Bruno stood off to the side putting things in Isela’s overnight bag Lola had brought them the evening before.
A nurse came into the room as the conversation came to a stopping point.
“I feel like I’m crashing a party when both your families are here…” the nurse said taking a hold of Isela’s arm to make sure her blood pressure and heart rate were okay.
“I know. Imagine Christmas….” Isela smiled. “I just wish it was a happier event…”
“I know, Mrs. Hernandez. We are all praying for Selena. She is beautiful. And she’s got spunk. The nurses love her…”
“She got the spunk from dad.” Isela laughed.
“I’m spunky.” Bruno danced a little next to the chair where Isela’s bag was.