This week we celebrate and bring awareness to children like my son, Mateo, who have G-Tubes! These life saving devices allow proper nutrition and hydration. Mateo was born premature at 32 weeks. Due to placenta deficiency while I was pregnant, he was diagnosed with IUGR (Intrauterine Growth Restriction) which means he was growing, but not growing as big as doctors expected him to be. My Mateo came into this world weighing only 2lbs 5oz. He and I spent the first 86 days of his life in the NICU where the amazing NICU staff cared for him and helped get him bigger and stronger. We started off with an NG tube and when he reached 5lbs Doctors told me he would need a G-Tube prior to discharging. It was our last resort as we tried everything we could to get him on board with feeding by mouth. Mateo not only has a sensory issue on the palate of his mouth but he was also clinically diagnosed with a rare syndrome called Russell Silver syndrome. This syndrome can cause significant feeding difficulties. To say I was scared about having him go under for surgey is an understatement. I could not imagine my tiny little baby of 5 pounds to take on this type of surgery. It’s true when they say babies are so resilient cause he did great throughout the entire surgery. I think it hurt my Mama heart MORE than it did him physically. Almost 2 years later, I can 100% tell you, I have zero regrets! Because of his G Tube, my now, 21 pound - tiny but mighty Mateo is thriving and living his best life! Upon leaving the hospital, the NICU staff taught me how to care for, clean, and maintain the G-Tube. Once we were sent home I was naturally very nervous! I had to learn a new way of life & caring for my son that was much different from my older 2 sons who have had zero medical issues! I experienced lots of trial and error but without trial and error we wouldn’t be where we are today. We are continuing to work closely with our amazing Speech Therapist and happy to report he’s eating small portions by mouth and getting more and more comfortable with food. I’m SO thankful everyone who has been part of my sons journey to help get him healthy and strong! And last but definitely not least, giving thanks to God for giving my little miracle Mateo and I the strength we needed at the most delicate time.