After struggling to conceive a child for almost nine years, Jessica and Chris Hill of Lakeland, Florida, welcomed their “micro preemie” baby boy on May 21, 2019. The baby, named Finn James Hill, weighed just 1 pound, 2 ounces (approx. 510 g) at birth with feet not much bigger than a penny; doctors gave him a mere 50 percent chance of survival.
After an eventful 113 days in NICU, however, the couple celebrated Finn leaving the Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida, and a long-awaited, joyous homecoming.
“It didn’t hit me until we left and it was the three of us for the first time,” mom Jessica told Good Morning America. “I knew we wouldn’t have to take him back. It was everything we hoped and prayed for.”
Jessica and Chris had been sorely disappointed by numerous attempts to increase their own fertility. After nine years of trying, they happened across a brand-new option: embryo adoption.
The Hills met another couple on Facebook, and through them, they successfully adopted eight embryos. Jessica fell pregnant with twins, but tragically, she lost one baby at nine weeks. The other baby, Finn, survived.
Jessica experienced a blood clot at 24 weeks that sent her into early labor and then had an emergency cesarean section. “I felt a little bit like a failure to be honest,” Jessica admitted, “because one second he’s inside of [me] and I’m protecting him, and the next he’s out and in a complete separate part of the hospital. It was terrifying.”
Despite the struggles that Finn would endure as a premature baby, Jessica’s doctor assured her that baby Finn was “safer on the outside than he was inside.”
After being born, baby Finn relied on a ventilator for his breathing and had to undergo surgery to repair a hole in his heart, but Jessica and Chris focused on the positive. “He just always has this grin on his face,” Jessica shared. “He is so loved, I can’t even tell you.”
The besotted parents were finally able to hold their son on June 30, having had to observe his progress in the NICU from afar for over a month.
Throughout Finn’s stint in the NICU and beyond, the Hills maintained a close relationship with the couple from whom they adopted embryos. “The couple we met on Facebook are like family to us and we are forever grateful to them for giving us the gift of life, a family, and legacy,” Jessica told The Epoch Times.
“They will be coming to see us again in early spring and [will] meet Finn for the first time,” she added. “The last time we saw them in person was when I was 16 weeks pregnant.”
Christopher told Bay News 9, “They have given us the gift of life. That’s the biggest thing you can give someone, is the gift of life.”
Finally, on Sept. 10, Finn was released from the hospital at the age of 4 months, weighing 5 pounds, 5 ounces (approx. 2 kg). Jessica and Chris now post regular updates on the health and escapades of their infant son on a dedicated Facebook page named “Fighting Finn.”
“We have a sleep study this weekend to determine how much longer he will need oxygen,” they told The Epoch Times in November. “He is now 7 pounds, 8 ounces and thriving.”
“We do have five embryos left,” Finn’s parents added, looking to the future, “and hope to have a sibling or two for Finn.”
A family friend of the Hills launched a GoFundMe page to help raise funds for Finn’s ongoing care and medical bills. “I’m just now going back to work,” Jessica explained to The Epoch Times, “and my husband cannot return to work; he has to stay home with Finn.”
To date, the fund has raised over $5,000 of the couple’s $18,000 goal.
“This journey has been long and difficult for the Hills,” reads the page, “but they have experienced miracle after miracle along the way […] We are so thankful to see [Finn] safely home with Mom and Dad!”
Photo courtesy of Fighting Finn.