A couple in Chicago was happy to have another baby boy after losing their first child just five days after he was born. But their worst nightmare started when the doctors said he only had 30 minutes left to live.
In their Chicago, Illinois, home, Priscilla and Emanuele Bruno lived with their six children. The parents gave their kids the best of everything and wanted to have more children.
When the Brunos found out they were having a boy, they were very happy. They couldn’t wait to hold their seventh child, but didn’t know that he would die just a few days after he was born.
The Seventh Child
Giovanni, the seventh child of the couple, was born with a rare genetic condition called Skeletal Dysplasia, which made his life harder. The boy only lived for five days, which was too bad.
When they lost their seventh child, Priscilla and Emanuele were heartbroken. They never in a million years thought they would have to watch their baby die when he was only a few days old, but they couldn’t stop what fate had planned.
After they lost their son, Priscilla and Emanuele had another baby. They were so excited to find out they were pregnant, but they didn’t know that their baby would also be born with the same rare condition.
In December 2019, Priscilla and Emanuele gave birth to their son, Francesco Bruno. Again, they were excited to hold their baby in their arms, but the doctors told them something that turned their world upside down.
They moved him from one hospital to another without knowing how long he had left.
“When he was born, the doctors told us he would only live for 30 minutes,” Priscilla told CBS News. The Bruno family wasn’t ready to lose another baby boy to the same genetic disorder.
Not Giving up
It broke Priscilla and Emanuele’s hearts to see their little boy in pain. His illness made it hard for him to breathe on his own, so the doctors put him on a machine that helps him breathe. Even though he had little chance of living, the little boy didn’t give up.
Francesco beat the odds and lived longer than doctors thought he would. His parents were ready for the worst because he had the same illness as Giovanni. Emanuele said:
“We knew that his death was a very real possibility.”
As time went on, the Bruno family watched their child fight. They moved him from one hospital to another without knowing how long he had left.
Francesco was moved to La Rabida Children’s Hospital in March 2021, and he stayed there until October 2022. The doctors took care of him as well as they could, and his parents prayed that they wouldn’t have to lose another child. Emanuele said:
“We are the kind of people who have always looked to God for help.”
Three Years in Hospitals
Before the doctors at La Rabida let him go home, Francesco spent about a thousand days of his life in hospitals. The two-year-old boy didn’t know that there were places other than hospitals.
His six siblings, on the other hand, couldn’t wait to see him at home. They wanted to play with him and hold him in their arms. The hospital staff taught Francesco’s parents how to care for him before he went home for the first time in his life.
Priscilla said, “We are overjoyed, very, very happy, and ready to start a new chapter, a new adventure.” She and her husband had never thought that one day they would be able to take their baby home.
On October 11, 2022, Francesco and his parents went back to their house. It was the first time he walked out of a hospital to go home instead of being wheeled into another hospital. The boy had moved on to a new part of his life.
Emanuele said he had a lot of different feelings as he took his baby boy back home. At the same time, he felt “happy, nervous, tense, scared, and overwhelmed.”
“It’s a miracle he’s still with us,” Priscilla
said. She and Emanuele thought that the doctors’ hard work and their prayers made the difference. They never thought their son would be able to go home.
Since Francesco had been in the hospital for three years, the staff had tears in their eyes when it was time for him to go. Even though they were glad the boy was finally going home, they felt like he had become a big part of their lives.
The fact that their son got better was nothing short of a miracle to Priscilla and Emanuele. They thought that their Catholic faith helped them get through the worst time of their lives, when Francesco might not have lived past the first 30 minutes of his life. Emanuele said:
“We feel like we have one sure thing, and that is heaven.”
Francesco’s six brothers and sisters sang songs to him, played games with him, and showed him lots of love. His parents prayed that their child would stick around for a long time. They thought he got home just in time for his third birthday party.
We hope Francesco will be as healthy as his brothers and sisters and never have to go back to the hospital. We hope the brave boy’s family throws him a great third birthday party.
Click here to read another story about parents who got ready for the funeral of their 3-year-old daughter after she was diagnosed with cancer. After a few years, she went home because she had beaten the disease.