My cousin, Chance Finley Odum was born on November 25, 2008. He was born to my uncle and aunt: Philip and Dee Odum, and loving older sisters Lexie and Lillie. Dee’s pregnancy was a normal pregnancy throughout. Little did we know Finn would be born with Pierre Robin Syndrome (PRS). PRS is a birth defect that involves the lower jaw being sized too small or set back from the upper jaw. As a result, the tongue is usually tilted back towards the throat, where it can fall back and obstruct the airway. Most infants will also have a cleft palate. There is a wide range of severity in problems that can occur with this defect. This picture is of newborn Finn with a breathing tube.<br />
Unfortunately, Finn has one of the most severe cases. His lower jaw was hardly developed at all when he was born, which caused his tongue to lie at the top of his throat during pregnancy, also causing a cleft palate. His tongue lying at the back of his throat cut off his airway. Finn had a jaw distraction surgery when he was only a week old, this is a step that doctors take only if the child can't breath on their own or if they know their jaw won’t grow on its own later in life; for Finn they both were the case. This picture reflects the first time Dee was able to hold her baby boy, a whole day after he was born.<br />
His surgery left him with two metal inserts that stuck out right above his ears that were turned for 20 days, which made a gap in his lower jaw for new bone to form. Doctors then let it "sit" for three months. This picture was taken the day before the doctors removed the inserts.<br />
But, don’t believe for a second that his <br />condition stopped his family from loving<br />on him. His family surrounded him with<br />support and love. This picture of Finn and<br />myself was captured during a family get-<br />together a few months after he was born. He<br />eventually fell asleep while I sang him a<br />nursery rhyme. <br />
He has a hole close to his belly button that is called a g-tube that was put in when he was only four months old. It allows formula to be inserted directly into his stomach because he was not born with the sucking reflex. He is at a constant struggle with gaining weight, which puts him in the hospital more frequently than anything. Ear infections are also common in this type of defect, Finn had tubes put in his ears when he was eleven months old due to this. This picture was Finn’s first time being fed through the g-tube. He currently at age two is still being fed twice a day through the tube because he struggles gaining weight otherwise.<br />
So, does PRS slow Finn down? That is out of the<br />question for this little guy. Finn loves to play outside,<br />and would play all day if Mom and Dad would let <br />him. This picture was taken in the backyard of his <br />house in Brownsburg, IN.<br />
Finn has two older sisters: Lexie and Lillie. They like to serve as Finn’s guardians, being very protective over their little brother. Finn knows he has his sisters wrapped around his finger.<br />
I guess you could call them two peas in a pod. Finn and his dad share a special father and son bond. They don’t just look alike, they also act alike. Finn is the son that Philip prayed for. This picture was taken on a hayride before searching for pumpkins to take home.<br />
Finn is enjoying his childhood just as much as the normal developing child. I would venture to say that he is more appreciative of his time doing fun activities because of his times spent at the doctors office or in the hospital. You can see that genuine smile as he is about to receive his birthday cake on his first birthday.<br />
There are times, though, when the fun is put on hold for a doctors visit, hospital trip, or visit from the therapist. For Finn, this is routine, when it normally isn’t for children. Finn’s weight is frequently monitored. In this picture Finn is playing in Mom’s purse, waiting to see the doctor in his hospital gown. It causes stress on the family, always wondering if he will have to be admitted, or if he will be able to come home.<br />
Through all of the hardships, Finn lets the good times roll. He is a very content little boy with plenty of energy and personality. You can always plan on having a good time with him, and would never guess that he has been through so much. The picture below shows his interesting character.<br />
Finn is the average toddler. He enjoys doing things his way, and is always up for an adventure or a laugh. This picture was taken on Christmas when he just couldn’t wait for his new four wheeler to get done charging on top of the toy box. Mom and Dad said no, but he decided his way was a better idea.<br />
I believe Finn’s battles will only make him a stronger person. Him and his family have taken his circumstances and made the very best out of them. He makes the best out of the life he has been given. Someday he will will make significant contributions to society. Here, Finn is showing his patriotism at a very young age at a fourth of July parade.<br />
I can’t imagine my uncle and aunt having any other child. He is a vital part of the family, and not to mention a miracle child.<br />
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