Born Too Soon, Baby Finleigh Now Thriving Thanks to Mayo NICU Team

Despite being born three months premature, Finleigh Strike has grown into a happy, healthy, and normal two-year-old girl. And it’s all thanks to the work of Finleigh herself, and that of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Mayo Clinic who helped to care for her.

Lisa Strike was 26 weeks pregnant when she started having contractions. Her care providers realized the baby would require specialty care and called Mayo's NICU transport team. Today, Finleigh is a happy and healthy 2-year-old.

Lisa Strike was only 26 weeks into her pregnancy. So when she began experiencing contractions while visiting family on Easter Sunday 2015, she initially chalked them up to nothing more than Braxton-Hicks contractions. But as the contractions increased in intensity and frequency, she knew they were more than just a warm up. "After we got home around 7 p.m. that night, I texted my doctor at Olmsted Medical Center, and she suggested I call in to the Birth Center there and get checked out," Lisa tells us.

By that point, Lisa's contractions were 10 minutes apart "on the dot." Then, they started getting a lot shorter. "So my husband said, 'Let's just go in, and we'll call on our way,'" Lisa tells us. "I still wasn't thinking that I was going to have a baby that night."

So Lisa and her husband, Chad, drove to Olmsted Medical Center. "We got to the Emergency Department around 9:15 p.m., and they were expecting us," Lisa says. "I had two super strong contractions on the way, but my water hadn't broken yet."

Thirty minutes later, despite being given medications to try and slow her labor, that changed. "They had initially called for an ambulance to take me to Mayo Clinic, but after my water broke at 9:45 p.m., they knew I probably wasn't going to make it there in time," Lisa says. "So they called for Mayo's NICU transport team."

Young Finleigh Strike would enter the world at 10:28 p.m. And immediately afterward, members of that team swooped in to start giving her the care she needed to survive her early arrival. "The transport team got there just in time, which was lucky for us because they took control of things from there," Lisa tells us.

After getting Finleigh to Mayo Clinic's Rochester campus, her care team went to work, Lisa says. They intubated Finleigh and put her on a continuous positive airway pressure machine to help her breathe. "I spent a lot of time putting my hands in the isolette, giving her that familiar touch, voice and comfort," Lisa tells us. "I finally got to hold her after about three or four days."

Lisa also spent a lot of time marveling at those who were taking care of her young daughter, telling KTTC-TV that Finleigh's care team came to feel like friends. "The staff, every day for 87 days, every single person I met — which was a lot — was great," she tells the station.

Today, despite coming into the world some three months early, Finleigh has grown into a happy, healthy two-year-old. Who happens to love to dress her dolls. And she has some unique hand-me-downs to share with them: "the very outfits and diapers she wore when she entered the world so much earlier than expected."

Lisa tells us that her daughter's success story is due in equal parts to Finleigh's inner "feistiness" and the love and support of her NICU care team. "When I think back to her birth, I was never worried that she wasn't going to make it," Lisa tells us. "As time went on, I just became more grateful and thankful that we live so close to Mayo Clinic."

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