Muerte de una Fachada

Polaroid of Yulfi. Bronx, NY. 2019. © Khris Frias. (Polaroid SX-70 Sonar)

This Polaroid is my avatar for a reason— I think it’s a pretty accurate representation of me because it’s intentionally rugged, giving off a sense of freedom; freedom from society’s norms. I’m naturally a laid-back and care-free dude, and my attitude has both helped me and worked against me throughout my life. I’m working towards finding a happy and healthy medium when it comes to how much I care or don’t care about certain things. Sometimes, I sit back and think about what society deems right; important; and necessary and shake my head in disapproval. I’m not saying that everyone and everything is all messed up because that’s obviously not the case, but we can care too much about things that have no true value; things that are vain, ego-boosting, and superficial (I’ve been guilty of it too). 
I’m trying to find a happy medium.​​​​​​​
Isabella's Birth Story: Part 3
Don't Bury the Head. New Hampshire, US. 2018. © Yulfi Frias. (Ektar 100, Minolta SRT-102)
The last thing I remember saying to my God was, “Please, God, don’t let me be the guy whose daughter died at birth.” I looked over to the bed where the Nurses had laid my daughter and realized that they were still fighting too— chest compressions, the oxygen mask, and delivering shock to my daughter’s little body hadn’t been working for a minute or so. I prayed harder and asked God to fight for my daughter’s life. “Yulfi, I haven’t heard the baby cry. Why isn’t the baby crying?” Ari asked. She was unaware of what had been happening because there were so many nurses in the room, blocking her view of the baby; Plus, she was exhausted and completely depleted of any real strength or energy. “Everything is fine. The baby is fine” was the best that I could come up with as I paced back and forth, in and out of prayer. Then, like a gasp of air after a prolonged submergence, my relief came— my baby let out the most beautiful sound that my ears have ever heard. Suddenly, she was there; Every bit of her nine pounds, eight ounces, and 22 inches of length was filled by her spirit and soul. 
There she was— Isabella Emma Frias, alive.

After a few days in the hospital, we got home and settled-in, comforted by a restored sense of normalcy. Ari and I were relieved that God had ‘showed-up’ for us at the hospital. I sat there, on the arm rest of our living-room sofa, and watched my wife cradling my new baby girl in her arms while my son tenderly looked-on from beside them. Right there, right then, is when God spoke to me and revealed why He had called me into fasting. I heard His voice in my soul, as clearly as if it were audible— “This is why I called you into a fast: for her; Your heart needed to change and become softer, more tender, and forgiving. You needed to become more merciful.” I also believe that if it hadn’t been for that season of fasting and prayer, we probably wouldn’t have won the fight for our miracle baby. Bella is seven years old now, and I’m happy to admit that I’ve made the most out of every single year that she has been alive.
Isabella's Birth Story: Part 2

Where's the Iced Tea? There's the Iced Tea. Lawrence, MA. 2018. © Yulfi Frias. (Ektar 100, Minolta SRT-102)

As one nurse pushed down on Ari’s belly, on one side of the bed, another nurse assisted from the other side. It’s not often that you see poetry in motion, but the relentless effort and commitment of this medical team to getting my daughter out safely was nothing short of inspirational. I was in a daze, as if encapsulated by some divine covering, and everything seemed to be moving in slow-motion around me; You could almost hear the strings. “This is life or death, Momma! You need to push, NOW!” That was the Doctor’s desperate plea to my wife for just one more push.

Ari said a final prayer as she raised her head, conjuring up the will to join the fight for her daughter’s life. Within seconds, and simultaneously, Ari and the Doctor tapped into their reserve— my wife drew a push and the Doctor, an episiotomy. 
There she was— Bella— blue, and as still as my mind-in-shock. Even after seeing her, I still hadn’t realized what was happening. The Doctor held her in her shaky hands and attempted to perform CPR on her while screaming to the Nurses for an oxygen-tank and a defibrillator. Immediately, a nurse rushed to the intercom and called for assistance; I’d swear she dove for it what with how quickly she got across the room and stretched her body out to reach for the call-button.

By this point, I was feeling light-headed and disoriented, and as I hovered there in that spot— where I had been confined to for what felt like an eternity— a Nurse came zipping right before my dilated eyes in a blur of powder-blue scrubs and medical equipment. “Snap out of it, Yulfi. You know what you have to do right now” sang the sweet voice in my soul that broke me out of oblivion and into intercessory prayer. It was on— spiritual-warfare had broken out, and I wasn’t going to let the enemy have my daughter. It took everything that God had deposited in me to fight for my daughter’s life that evening— rebuking; proclamations; declarations; cancelations; binding-up; tearing-down; and casting-out, in the name of Jesus Christ! 
Isabella's Birth Story: Part 1

Bella's Doing Swell. Lawrence, MA. 2019. © Yulfi Frias. (Ektar 100, Minolta SRT-102)

My daughter, Bella, whose name is actually Isabella Emma Frias, is one of a kind, to say the least. Her name means ‘devoted to God’ and ‘complete’, which suits her perfectly because of who she is and how she has impacted our family. Let me tell you a little story about Bella—  She was born on 10/11/12, lifeless; Yes, my baby died at birth, but before I get to that part, let me tell you how the day unfolded.  Momma’s pregnancy was perfect— she ate well, slept well and got her steps in; she also looked absolutely gorgeous at her baby shower. I remember Ari saying that she felt like God had her inside of a bubble of protection throughout her entire pregnancy. Speaking of God, I was fasting from sunrise to sunset for the last trimester of Ari’s pregnancy with Bella because I felt led to, but I didn’t know when the fast should end, so I just kept it up until the day of Bella’s birth. Well, on ‘labor day’, Ari and I had worship music playing in the hospital room and spent the time praying. I photographed the entire process and shared the images on Facebook for everyone who wanted to be there but couldn’t. Those images are somewhere in my archives now.  Despite how peaceful and seemingly perfect everything had been up to that point, things got real during labor. Ariani had grown so exhausted from pushing that she had quit, which caused Bella to be stuck in momma’s birth canal and suffocate. I didn’t know what was going on and neither did momma, but the medical team sure did. The Doctor screamed to Ari, “Momma, this is it! It’s now or never! Baby needs you to push right now!” I saw panic on the Doc’s face, and her hands were shaking. All I heard was Ari say, “I can’t, I’m so tired” in a very faint voice right before letting her head and shoulders fall back onto the bed. When the Doctor saw Ari give up, she knew something had to be done quickly if my daughter was going to survive, so she frantically screamed to the nurses to call for more back up nurses to help with the delivery.  A squad of nurses rushed in, and two of them jumped on the bed with my wife. I saw one nurse pushing down on Ari’s belly, trying to get the baby out. 
This is my son, Julius.

Alive and Well. Lawrence, MA. 2019. © Yulfi Frias. (Ektar 100, Minolta SRT-102)

This is my son, Julius. He struggles with ADHD, anxiety, and mild depression. He sees a therapist, has an awesome and supportive church-body helping him succeed, and we try our best to be the type of parents that our child needs. Julius has been doing phenomenally with his behavior and academic performance this week, while I’ve been away. I realized that I was putting too much pressure on him because I was scared that he would grow up to be a screw up; it turns out that my pressure is what was screwing him up. God is good, and He loves my son more than I do, so I’ve decided to loosen the reigns and trust God on this journey of raising my son. Why have I decided to share this? This is my art, my truth, and I hope it blesses you. 🤙🏽 I like capturing him on camera because his energy and complex personality frustrate, perplex, and fascinate me. You’re going to be seeing a whole lot more of Julius and the other people I love around here.
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