Gage - Missouri
There’s this boy. I’m completely head over heels for him. He has a way of capturing hearts with his smile. He’s my first-born son.
Gage came into our lives in July of 2014 following a normal pregnancy. Shortly after his arrival and a brief stay in the NICU, we were thrilled to be home with our baby boy. That’s when we got a call with results from bloodwork, confirming the doctors’ suspicions and our fears—a diagnosis of CMV.
The early days with our sweet baby boy were filled with frequent doctor visits, blood draws, hearing tests, ultrasounds, therapy and medication. They were also filled with plenty of snuggles, 3 a.m. feedings, dirty diapers and hearts bursting with so much love for a tiny person we’d just met, like many new parents.
We were well connected with good physicians and resources. Gage has always been in good hands by those caring for him, whether it’s doctors, therapists, sitters, etc. Most importantly though, he has never left the hands of God, the ultimate caregiver.
Our journey with Gage has challenged and strengthened my faith and brought so much joy into my life. At first, I was blindly optimistic, thinking Gage would outgrow all of his challenges and end up being a regular kid. Then there were times that I was filled with worry and fear, reading the worst-case scenarios about CMV.
I didn’t notice Gage’s differences right away, partly because newborns don’t do all that much and because I loved him unconditionally and didn’t see flaws. I think that’s the way love is supposed to work—how God sees all of his children—noticing our best qualities first and foremost. As the months passed and Gage wasn’t reaching milestones, it became more obvious that his future would look a lot different than a “typical” child’s.
At that point I slipped into a slight state of depression, struggling to balance denial and hope, not wanting to be unrealistic about what Gage could achieve, but wanting to believe that he could have the best possible outcomes. Luckily, an amazing support system of friends and family and my loving husband helped me out of a dark place. I’ve realized that the “best possible outcomes” may look quite a bit different than what we originally expected.
Gage is now 2 ½ years old. He doesn’t walk or talk. He only eats pureed foods and he still drinks from a bottle. He can’t sit up independently or use his hands very well. But, like I said when I started, he has a smile that can melt your heart. He loves music, dancing, swinging and swimming. The first time he mastered rolling over, you would have thought he’d landed a back flip.
Gage’s milestones are different than most kids, but they certainly aren’t any less celebrated. I feel so lucky that he is part of our lives. I love that he can express his happiness through smiles and laughter. Children teach you to love in a whole new way, and I get to experience that exponentially with Gage. Without a doubt, I am more patient, empathetic and compassionate than I’ve ever been. Of course I still have many flaws, but I’m grateful for the ways that I’ve changed since becoming Gage’s mom.
God has been so faithful through each step of our journey. Our amazing boy has accomplished and overcome so much. I anticipate facing more challenges and tough times, but also hope that we’ll experience more joy in the days ahead than we can even imagine.
-Shared by his mother, Hannah