That moment when you meet your baby for the very first time is magical but also a tiny bit of a breath-holding experience: Will they have all ten fingers and all ten toes? Which parent will they look like? Will they look beautiful? It is just part of human nature to have those thoughts somewhere deep in your mind as you approach the delivery of your baby. A checklist if you will.
Jase thought to himself when he first saw his daughter: “This is going to be rough.” While we sit here in our armchairs and judge him for this, if we put ourselves in his place, we would probably have a very comparable reaction.
The thought that followed the initial surprised one was the tearjerker: “I thought, why am I so upset about what she’s going to look like? I just wanted her to live.” An expression of a father’s true love.
But it wasn’t just love driving him and his wife Missy in their overwhelming desire for Mia to live and conquer her diagnosis. It was also the memory of another child, a child that had tragically started developing in Missy’s fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancies almost never survive to full-term and, much of the time, are a serious threat to the mother’s life.
“I’d heard of tubal pregnancies for years, but didn’t really understand the mental anguish of actually having to go in and have someone remove what could’ve been your child. It was extremely difficult, and there was a lot of pain and bleeding,” said Missy, describing her tragic, ectopic, third pregnancy. She worried that, being 30, her chances of getting pregnant again were slim. But three months and many prayers later, Mia, their miracle child, was conceived. When she was born with an imperfection, what mattered to her parents was that she was alive, not that she didn’t look like a Gerber baby.
Mia, who has undergone surgeries to correct her cleft lip, including one very recently, is a thriving 10-year old. “Life’s a gift,” said Jase to Closer Weekly, “As long as we’re living, we can get through anything.” Mia herself said, “Whenever I feel sad or have struggles, I know that God is bigger than all that.”
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All life is precious, “perfect” or not. Even children with greater disabilities than Mia’s can teach us valuable lessons. Jase, on his Twitter, spoke of the lesson he has learned from his daughter: “When you get knocked down is the time to get back up and go again. Mia taught me that.”