Dangerous Pregnancy Complication Most Mothers Don't Know About
CMV--It's a virus found in 90 percent of Americans, but if you first get it while pregnant it can have devastating effects on the baby.
If CMV is so common and so dangerous, why don't more women know about it?
"I do think the medical profession is partly to blame," said Gillis.
When CBS 11 News called several doctors around town to speak on-camera about CMV, they refused-with the exception of Dr. Gessner. A couple of the doctors warned that the story would cause "mass hysteria."
That's because of the way CMV is spread-through germs most small children carry.
"So if you find out if you're CMV-negative, which is the big concern, then you can do some things to reduce your exposure to mainly small children and their excretions-that being a nice word for stool, urine and saliva," Gessner said.
"If they're telling you not to create mass hysteria, please, I guess I feel a little bit slighted by that," said Gillis, who says she contracted the virus by sharing a glass of juice with a friend who knew she was infected but didn't know enough about the virus to take appropriate measures to keep from spreading it. "Not that I would trade Bailey for anything, it angers me to hear they're more concerned about how people are going to take this than how people are going to deal with this."
Simple measures like washing your hands after changing a diaper and not sharing food or drinks can cut down your chances of contracting CMV-the virus that's robbed Gillis and her daughter of moments the rest of us take for granted.
"I think the first thing that came to me after Bailey was born is-she'll never walk down an aisle," Gillis said. "Those things, they never really get easier. There are a lot of things Bailey will never do. She doesn't miss it, but as a mom, those are the things you want for your kids."
Gessner says a CMV vaccine is the only way to stop the virus, but a vaccine has not been developed yet. But, he says, if you've already got CMV, your body builds up immunity.
Gillis is trying to educate other women so their unborn children are protected. In the meantime, she hopes-mostly, for a sign.
"I would love it if she would sign 'Mom'," Gillis said. "She knows the signs, she knows who I am, but the day she signs it intentionally because she wants me, that would be a good day."