For seven minutes, Abel’s parents thought they had lost him.
His heart stopped beating last week, and they couldn’t find a pulse. The parents both started praying, and then, his dad started singing.
“It’s not 31 diagnoses, it’s 31 miracles that we get to see.”
“It’s just a joy that fills your heart, and I know it speaks to Abel,” his mother, Brithzi Briones, said. “It soothes him and it brings him this peace that just instantly calms him down.”
Brithzi gave birth to little Abel two years ago at only one pound, six ounces. A micro preemie born at just 26 weeks, he had to be delivered months early because his mom had life-threatening preeclampsia.
He stayed in the NICU 10 months.
With each new diagnosis, every setback, every time they go to the hospital, father Alfredo Briones sings to the child.
“While you’re sitting and waiting days and weeks and months in the hospital, you’re scrolling through Instagram, and you see everyone living their best life while you’re trying to find a moment in life, trying to survive, you want to see another day,” Alfredo said.
At 2 years old, doctors have found 31 severe medical issues with Abel.
“It’s not 31 diagnoses, it’s 31 miracles that we get to see,” Alfredo said.
He was born with chronic lung disease, and additional issues have mostly been connected to his lungs, his mom said. He’s been intubated twice.
Then his heart stopped last week.
“All I could think about was, I’m going to lose him. That’s it for Abel,” Brithzi said. “I was hurt, I was confused, I was in shock. I just remember shaking.”
The parents believe it was Alfredo’s voice that brought a heartbeat back – a lifeline for their little boy.
The father sings a song originally produced by the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International worship team called, “The Anthem.”
“Hallelujah, you have won the victory,” the song goes. “Hallelujah, you have won it all for me.”
“Death could not hold you down,” Alfredo sings to Abel.
While nothing has felt settled or safe in Abel’s two years of life, his father’s voice has been a constant comfort.
“I can hear these sounds playing here in my sleep,” the father said of the many doctor visits and nights slept in hospital rooms. “But I know a sound that’s louder than all those words, and that to me is worship.”
Alfredo said the trials and tribulations with his son have left a profound impact on him.
“I have found my strength in weakness. I found light in darkness. And I have found joy in sadness,” he said. “These past two years have been a learning experience. I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot about marriage. A lot about what it is to be a father.”
Mother Brithzi said faith has helped her through the struggle with her son’s health.
“I have found hope and faith in God,” she said. “I have to cling on to the hope. Because God is a promise keeper.”
The parents said Abel is really struggling this week. He’s still in the hospital, and doctors are doing everything they can to save him.
The parents, meanwhile, continue to lean on their faith.
“He gives me the strength and the energy to keep going,” Brithzi said. “Because Abel hasn’t given up.”
And Alfredo keeps singing.