I’ve been struggling with this post all week. Do I write my inner-most thoughts and bare myself to the world or do I pretend that nothing is wrong and leave it at that? After wrestling all week with the dilemma of to-post or not-to-post I decided that it was time to start writing and just see what tumbles out. SO here goes.
When Bailey was born she came out perfect. Ten fingers, ten toes, two big beautiful blue eyes, perfectly pink skin and an already slightly chubby baby body you wanted to eat up. On day three or so a red mark started to show on her bottom lip and I thought that maybe she was sucking too hard on her bottle or something. At her 2 week check-up I asked the doctor about it and they informed me it was a Hemangioma and would continue to grow. Having never heard of this kind of birth mark before I asked a lot of questions and was basically told that there was no way to know how big it could get but that they start to go away in most babies between 9-12 months. So we couldn’t do anything about it but pray that it didn’t get too big.
This is Bailey at 5 weeks old… there is just a hint of a red mark on her lower lip:
This is Bailey at 4 and a half months and you can see how much it grew:
That’s just about as big as it got… here she is 15 months old and just days before her surgery to remove it, which we elected to have b/c hers wasn’t getting smaller and they said having cosmetic surgery this young would make the scar less noticeable later in life. The scar is already all but invisible unless you are looking for it and we’re very happy we went ahead with the procedure.
Bailey was the best baby. Truly, she is one of the sweetest kids to this day that I have ever met. Her personality, from day one, helped people not notice her "bubble" so much b/c she could win anyone over with her little heart. But that’s people that knew her. For that entire year, almost every time we went somewhere, people asked me questions about it. "What a cute baby, what’s on her lip?" was one of the nicer ways people asked and the worst thing anyone ever said was in CostCo; "what’s that nasty thing on your baby’s lip?" I cried all the way home that day.
If I told you it wasn’t hard on me I would be lying. And if I told you I wasn’t racked with guilt b/c it was hard I would be lying too. As much as I loved my little girl I hated her birthmark. I hated the looks and the questions and the fact that someday as an insecure teenager she might look at photos and think she wasn’t a pretty baby. My heart ached in advance for her just possibly feeling that way about herself.
Every mom wants a perfect baby. You want them to be smart and kind and faithful and funny and sweet. But if you are honest with yourself you also want them to be beautiful, and not just to you as their mom, but to the world. You don’t want people to look at your baby and say out loud how cute they think she is while wondering silently (or out loud too) what that thing is on her lip or what a shame that she has such a big birth mark. And if you have never had a child with something cosmetically wrong with them I honestly don’t think you could ever understand. Because I’m sure a lot of you are thinking how shallow I am and how grateful I should be that she was actually healthy and smart and kind when there are so many other things that could have been wrong with her. And when I pray daily for little Noah I know how blessed we are to have 3 healthy kids and I feel guilty for feeling that way at all.
But although you may hate them, you can’t really help for you feel and those feelings were real for me back then.
So why do I bring all of this up?
Grayson was born with birthmarks on his face and head. And when the doctors told us they were birthmarks (because at first we just thought the marks were from delivery) I cried. I cried not b/c he was ugly or b/c I didn’t think my new baby wasn’t adorable, I cried b/c I’d been down this road before and didn’t want to head down it again.
He has one on each eye lid, a few little dots on his forehead and nose, a dark one above his upper lip that goes into his nostrils, a large dark one on the back of his head and one on the back of his neck. They are red in color and are flat which will not change… they won’t grow like a Hemangioma… and are commonly called "stork bites". The doctor said that the lighter ones will fade quickly but is sending us to a pediatric dermatologist (the appointment is August 1st) b/c she thinks he will need laser treatments on the one above his lip and may possibly need an MRI b/c apparently when they are as large and dark as the one on his head they can potentially effect the brain. We are fervently praying that his brain is fine and they are all cosmetic.
I haven’t posted photos of him in color because I felt the need to be honest first about why I was hesitant. It breaks my heart a little for him to go through testing and possible laser treatments just to make his little face "perfect". And I’m ashamed for being sad about him having so many birthmarks. And I’m really ashamed for always wondering what people are actually thinking when they see him.
So. This is as honest as I can be. As bare as I get. Selfishly I want perfect babies. Rationally I KNOW I have perfect babies and thank God multiple times a day for giving me healthy babies. Emotionally it’s still hard sometimes.
If you think I am a terrible person for feeling this way or admitting I feel this way, please don’t leave a mean comment. I don’t need that. The reason I even wrote this post is because if I feel this way then there are other moms or dads or grandparents out there that feel this way also and sometimes it’s nice to know you’re not alone. But this is hard to admit, hard to write and will be even harder to hit the "post" button… so please don’t leave mean comments.