In September of 2007 we got some new neighbors. A young family moved in across the street, they had a young daughter, two sweet dogs, a Mom (we'll call her "C") and a Dad. Right off the bat it was easy to see that Mom ("C") was pregnant. They were very nice people, tolerant of the Halloween craziness that always happens at our house at the end of October, and just all around very pleasant neighbors.
At the end of February 2008, "C" had her baby. It had been a normal pregnancy, with no complications, and no reasons to worry. Unfortunately, the birth itself didn't go as planned. There were complications, and problems. Big problems. The baby was starved of oxygen to her brain during the birth process. "C"s baby girl Finnley was born, and although she was alive, she was declared brain dead. The doctors told "C" that her baby only had a couple of days to live.
"C" and her husband were shocked and heartbroken. All of their plans for their future came crashing in. The dress they'd bought for Finnley's Baptism would now be the dress they would bury her in. Their family came to town from all over the country to offer support and the help they would need in the future days and weeks.
After a few days in the hospital, Finnley was stable enough to bring home. "C" and her husband brought their sweet, beautiful baby girl home with them, knowing it would only be for a short time that they were able to shower their love on her, and enjoy the essence of her being. They hired a professional photographer to come to the house to take family pictures, they spent every moment holding her, loving her, and praying for her. They asked the members of their church to pray for Finnley, their neighbors, and everyone they could reach. Pray for a miracle.
Those few days went by...and they turned into a few weeks. Finnley was eating, sleeping, crying, pooping. Everything a newborn baby is supposed to do. The doctors told "C" and her husband that those were involuntary things, not to get their hopes up, that this sweet baby's body just hadn't given up yet.
More weeks turned into months. "C" insisted that they do the tests again. Check the brain activity, see if maybe, somehow, there had been a mistake. They tested again. The results were the same. There was little, if any, brain activity. Yet, "C" had the proof in her hands. Finnley was able to smile,track with her eyes, hear Mommy's voice and respond to it. How could this baby be brain dead? The doctors couldn't explain it. Still can't.
More time went by, more prayers were offered, and more little miracles happened. Finnley wasn't able to do most things that babies of her age were able to do, but each and every day they shared with her was a miracle.
This past Saturday, the neighbors and the friends got together with the family in the park. We came together to celebrate a year of miracles. Sweet baby Finnley had her first birthday! I don't think any of us actually ever thought we'd see this happen. It was wonderful, and touching, and an occasion to celebrate every day, every moment.
Don't let a day go by that you don't appreciate. No matter what situation you are in, it can always, always be worse. Each and everyone one of us is living on borrowed time. Be thankful for every day you are given. I know Finnley's family is thankful for everyday they have with her.