After a long five hour drive my oldest sister and I had finally arrived to the hospital in Red Bluff, California. Aiden, my third oldest sister, and my mom were standing in the doorway of the entrance waiting for us. It was raining. We jumped out of the car and ran for the door. Anxious and excited, we all hugged hello. We followed Aiden as he led us to the waiting room. The waiting room was small and so was the hospital.
Jessica, my second oldest sister, has never been good with pregnancies. She got pregnant for the first time at 16 years old. Making the best of the situation, we were thrilled about adding another girl to our big family. I remember coming home from school one day with my older brother Joey. He was 10, and I was 8 at the time. The house was quiet and seemed empty, but my third oldest sister Stacy was in her room. She hadn’t come out of her room and her door was locked, but that wasn’t unusual so I didn’t think much of it. The only thing that seemed strange was that my mom and Jessica weren’t home. A few minutes after inspecting the house my aunt erratically came in through the front door.
“Wheres Stacy?” she asked.
“In her room,” I answered. She frantically started walking towards Stacy’s room, “Oh no, is she crying?”
With Jessica and my mother being gone, my aunt’s unplanned appearance, and Stacy possibly crying; I was very confused. I knew there was something going on that I didn’t know about. Moments after my aunt walked into my sister’s room, I watched Stacy as she walked out of her room sluggishly and into my aunt’s car parked in the driveway. My aunt followed behind her silently and signaled my brother and me to follow. A 15 minute car ride felt like a day. It was silent the entire time. I could hear my sister sniffle every couple seconds as millions of thoughts recapitulated through my head like the lyrics of my favorite song. The car stopped and we were in the hospital parking lot. We all got off, silently, and made our way to the door. Standing in the lobby was Christina, my oldest sister. Her face was red and her eyes puffy. You could tell she had been crying. She hugged my brother and me then we all sat down in the hospital lobby. Although I can’t remember exactly what she said, I remember her face vividly. It was painful for her to get the words out to say, that there was no more Aaliyah. My sister was 8 months, she was almost there. But there were sudden complications with the pregnancy. My entire family was heartbroken, including me.
It had been almost over a year when we found out that Jessica was pregnant again. As excited as the family was, we were ready to be extra cautious. My sister was expecting a baby boy. The pregnancy didn’t start off particularly well. She was very small and had morning sickness all day long. When Jessica was about 6 months along she was complaining of a pain in her stomach. Considering what happened with Aaliyah we immediately took her to the hospital. Once we arrived they promptly decided to do an emergency c-section. We were all extremely nervous and didn’t know what to expect. Something was for sure wrong if they wanted to get him out so fast. Just over an hour later we got word that my sister was out of surgery. As we stood in the hall outside of the surgery unit doors we were all quiet. We were all so into our thoughts and hopes that everything would be okay. That my sister would be okay and so would my nephew. Suddenly the surgery unit doors swung open and two doctors were pushing my nephew down the hall towards the pediatrics unit. He was in an incubator. He was only 13 inches long and weighed almost two pounds. The doctors were concerned with his condition and transported him to the Portland, OR hospital where he’d be helped and looked after in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. He stayed in the NICU for 46 days before he was healthy enough to come home. Today Aiden is a tall, smart, handsome 8 year old.
After almost two hours in the Red Bluff hospital waiting room we got word that Jessica was going into recovery and that my new nephew was born. The doctors decided that it’d be best for my sister to have the baby at 8 months when he was healthy enough instead of taking the risk of going another month. Malcolm was born healthy and with a full head of hair. The doctors were a little worried about Malcolm’s breathing so they didn’t want us to hold him just yet. They decided to immediately put him in only a diaper and have him skin to skin with my sister. After doing that Malcolm’s heart rate and breathing began to show a lot of improvement, and at around almost 2 in the morning I was finally able to hold my nephew.
Being an aunt is one of my favorite things. I looked after Aiden since the day he came home. I’ve changed diapers, given baths, fed him, changed his outfits, and been up at 3 in the morning when he couldn’t stop crying. Jessica now lives in another state so I only get to see Aiden and Malcolm when we visit, but when we do Malcolm Jose never leaves my arms, Aiden Jesse never leaves my side, and Aaliyah Angel never leaves my heart.