A mother's love: Finleigh's early arrival - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

A mother's love: Finleigh's early arrival

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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) -

When the work day is done, there is nothing Lisa and Chad Strike enjoy more than loving on their little Finleigh.

While looking at a scrap book, Lisa Strike says, "She warms our heart, that's for sure!"

This love story began with cautious hope after the heartbreak of loss. Lisa reflects, "I had multiple miscarriages before I got pregnant with Finleigh. Every week that went by, I would get more hopeful and more excited but still the anxiety was there."

That anxiety would only build on April 5th, 2015. It was Easter Sunday. Lisa was 26 weeks along. As she and Chad attended two family gatherings, contractions started and they didn't stop. Before the holiday was over, baby Finleigh was born at Olmsted Medical Center. An ambulance crew was waiting to take her immediately to Mayo Clinic.

Lisa says, "You have that dream of after you deliver, them putting your baby on your chest and you get those moments with her. I didn't get that. I didn't get to touch Finley until she was in an isolette on a stretcher getting ready to go on an ambulance. I touched her little foot."

Lisa's mom, Diane Barclay, remembers the fear of that time. "I was in the waiting room just walking back and forth. I guess I just thought it was going to be bad news delivering that early. I had no idea a baby could survive at 26 weeks. When she was born, I went into the room and almost instantly cried. She looked healthy. She looked normal." Diane prayed, "God be with us. Hold Finleigh tight along the way. We need your help."

Mayo Clinic became Finleigh's first home, her caregivers almost a second family.

Lisa found strength at Mayo Clinic. "I knew being at Mayo, there was not a better place we could have right at our finger tips. The staff, every day for 87 days, every single person I met, which was a lot, was great."

Chad Strike is amazed daily by his daughter's development. "She's been strong ever since she got home, doing things you won't think a child that age could do. Her personality is pretty cool, too." 

The Strikes have opened their home to speech and physical therapists through the Rochester Public School District's Early Childhood Intervention program. They also give hope to other parents of premature babies by sharing their story.

Lisa says, "When I delivered Finleigh so early I wondered, Why me? Why did I have to have miscarriages? Why did I have to have a baby at 26 weeks? I always knew God had a purpose for everything and I always trusted in that plan."

Today Finleigh dresses her doll in the very outfits and diapers she wore when she entered the world so much earlier than expected. The little outfits fit perfectly. And perfect is just what this little girl is to the family who prayed so hard she would be the happy and healthy child she is today.  

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