When Olive was born, and she wasn't breathing, and I hadn't even met her, I didn't care about these 'spots' on her body. I didn't care about this giant nevus on her body. I didn't care about anything, other than the fact that I knew my baby was alive, and was going to be 'OK'.
Once we were home, we settled quickly into our new wee family and it wasn't until she was a week or two old, that the enormity of her condition set in.
Eddie and I researched on the internet this condition our beautiful baby had. We spent about two days crying at EVERYTHING. Every comment, every picture, every story, every medical detail we pored over.
Through our research, we stumbled across a Facebook group which is a support group formed specifically for nevus owners or their parents/family.
We came across scary pics of tissue expanders, and beautiful photo's of other children with nevus'. Questions asked by other members, and wee stories told. As overwhelming as this all was, there was one point and it was as simple as that - the ONE story, which completely shaped our attitude towards how we wanted to deal with, and raise, this special girl of ours.
The story was about Audrey. She is 17 years old and lives in Texas. She has a BTN and a ton of satellites. She is BEAUTIFUL. And I mean that. She is an absolutley beautiful person. Inside, and out. Her strong attitude and confident demeanour is one to be admired, from all of us - not just nevus owners!
I have befriended her Mum on FB, and she has been an amazing source of advice and confidence boosters in our journey so far.
Anyway, the story her Mum told was one of Audrey at kindergarten. Her top had ridden up some at the back, and her wee kindy friend asked 'what's that?' of her nevus. Her mum, automatically protective (who of us aren't? ;-) ), jumped in with, 'that's Audrey's birthmark'. Audrey, proud as punch of her nevus, corrected Mum - 'No! That's my nevus!' and proceeded to show her friend her nevus.
Her friend then spent much of the duration of their kindy session stroking Audrey's nevus.
This was the sweetest, most comforting story I could have read at the time. Both Eddie and I, tears streaming down our faces, giggled and said 'I want Oli to be like Audrey!'.
This story was such a defining moment for us, as to exactly how we wanted to raise our Olive, and our attitude towards her and her body.
Recently, there was a disagreement on the site, from different parents about whether they had light hearted stories to tell new Nevus Parents. Whilst some most certainly did, others didn't, and they really couldn't see the lighter side of the situation, mostly due to horrible experiences - bad surgeries, or other kids bullying and saying heart breaking things to their children. Kids can be really mean :(
I found this quite an eye opener, and realised something about me, Eddie and our families.
We have not once been ashamed of her. Not ever. I don't want to hide her. I don't want her to ever feel like she has to hide herself. A lot of you who met Olive when she was born will remember how forward I was with showing you her nevus, and a lot of you also probably felt a bit uncomfortable. The Peacekeeper part of me wants to apologise for this, but I am not going to. I had to do this, because if she is going to strive to be as confident and strong a young woman as someone like Audrey, she needs all the support of everyone who loves her. And this means being completely open about her condition.
She is amazing. I have never once wanted to change her. She was born this way for a reason, and she will be a big teacher in her life. She already is.