Friday, August 12, 2011

Finley Joseph


You are my youngest son, or, as I like to say, my baby baby.

We've liked the name Finley for years. It means, "Fair Warrior". It's Gaelic roots remind me of my grandparents Owen and Martha. They would have gotten such a kick out of all of you.

Your middle name is in honor of your grandfather Marvin Joseph and your great- grandfather Joseph. 

When I look at you, I see myself. You are a boy version, mini-me of sorts. Not only do you resemble me in looks but somehow in spirit too. I can't explain it. Not everybody even says that you look like me, but I see it. I see me reflected in you, every time I look at you. It’s wonderfully freaky.

You were spirited and determined from the start. They said not to expect you or your brothers to be able to nurse since you were only 34 weeks at birth. Yet the moment I held you close, you latched immediately and have wanted to park it there every since.

Sometimes you make a tough guy face which is the cutest thing ever because it's such a facade. You're a complete teddy bear underneath. It's not uncommon to see you making the tough guy, grumpy face while at the same time snuggling into one of your brothers. 

You like to sleep with your eyes covered, just like me (and your big brother Colin)

You are the first one awake when it’s time to eat.

You're the first one awake to start the day in the morning.

You're the first one in bed at night.

I said that we’d call you by your full name, Finley, but as soon as I held you I heard myself say, “Finn” and have called you that every since.

You do everything full throttle. When you're mad, you are SO mad. When you're happy, you are SO happy. When you're hungry, you are starving! Your laugh is the loudest in the room and completely infectious. When you talk, you talk loud, and when you cry, it's as if the world is ending. 

Just after you were born, something about you concerned me yet I couldn’t explain it or even acknowledge it. You seemed to work a little harder to breath, to calm and also seemed a bit sweaty. You clung to me and I never wanted to let you go.

Two days after you were born, the doctor heard a murmur and explained that they would do an echo cardiogram just to make sure everything was okay. Then the doctor asked to speak with both of us and pulled the curtains for privacy.

"Oh God, this is something". 

The doctor said that you have holes in your heart. Several. The plural, "several" is what I’ll always remember and what scared me the most. Several holes. I remember turning to look at you quietly and peacefully sleeping in my arms. So tiny, perfect, and barely 5 lbs. The thought that already life would be harder for you on any level, in any way, just crushed us.

The doctors used adjectives like “swiss cheese” to describe the many holes in your heart. However, in the very next breath they would stress that the condition was most likely very treatable. In those first days and weeks, the doctors, nurses, and us, watched you extra close to make sure your stats were okay and that you were gaining weight. You were appointed a special team of doctors and nurses to watch over you with extra special care.

They worried, amongst other things, that you'd have trouble gaining weight. You showed them! You gained weight like a champion, like it was your only job, and pretty much it was!

You are thriving.

So far, the only difference with your heart condition has been more doctor’s appointments. We go visit a wonderful cardiologist at Children’s Hospital every so often and you’re so brave while there. We lay on the table together and they give you an Echo cardiogram, an EKG and take your vitals.

We are so thankful for you Finn! Already we see your beautiful little personality emerging: feisty, loving, expressive, joyful, resilient, hungry. 

We love watching you grow little buddy. Keep growing into who you’re meant to be.

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