A while back, I shared the story of Lucy’s arrival. Writing Finn’s story has been a little tougher—a lot of overwhelming emotions. I hope you’ll bear with me…
It’s 4 a.m. The ambulance I’m traveling in is flashing its lights, but making no sound. It doesn’t have to. There’s almost nobody on the road and the stop lights are turning green as soon as we near each intersection. “What are you going to name the baby?” the paramedic, Bob or Max (I don’t know who is who) asks. I’m hemorrhaging and he wants to discuss baby names? I look at him, teeth gritted, “I’m leaning toward Bob or Max—whoever gets me to the hospital the fastest.” There are no more questions after this.
A line of nurses waits for me as I’m wheeled onto the maternity floor. One, who I know well, casts an angry glance at no one in particular, saying as she runs toward me, “Why did they send you home? Why?” There are a lot of people running now, shouting back and forth, pushing my gurney. My eyes search for someone in charge and I am relieved to see the only OB I trust presiding over my case. We’ve made it this far—maybe she can still get me to the finish line.
She can’t, and Finn is born 6 weeks early. But we’re both there, moving forward. He’ll be in the hospital for just over two weeks, learning how to breathe and eat, putting weight on his tiny four-pound frame. At one point, he’ll stop breathing and turn blue, just like his sister, and we’ll start that roller coaster all over again, but eventually he’ll come home, hooked up to wires for 7 months, but home and safe and loved.
There’s a bigger story here. Months spent in bed, trying to keep him in the womb; shots, medications, nights and nights in the hospital; restrictions from walking, laughing, even sneezing. Each week celebrating that we’ve made it one more. The stats start getting a little more promising, but the warnings become dire. Family members are asked to type their blood so that a supply is ready. I am warned that it is not a matter of if, but when. Yet, the last of a dozen ultrasounds is mis-read and I am sent home, which is how I find myself in that ambulance—praying in a way that feels foreign, yet still instinctual.
At the risk of sounding histrionic, Finn is my miracle. My fighter. Back from the brink of miscarriage twice, holding on in utero 11 weeks longer than we thought he might, home from the hospital two weeks sooner than planned. He clawed his way into our family. And he is a light. My sweet, mischievous, witty little buddy.
Just after he was born, a friend lost a baby born too early. There probably isn’t a day when I don’t feel gratitude for what I was given and sorrow for what she lost. I don’t know why it happened that way. I don’t know why some people conceive and give birth so easily and others struggle so much.
Finn wakes us up each day with kisses and hugs. When we pick him up from preschool, he runs to us from across the room shouting our names with joy. At night, he says, “Mama, I love you bunches. I love you to the moon and back. Sweet dreams. Kisses, kisses.”
Maybe that’s all I need to know.
Kelly Applegate Photography
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