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I've been meaning to sit down and write this post for awhile now….but wasn't sure where to begin. If you follow me on Instagram, or have seen pictures of our darling daughter…..you may already know where this post is going.
When Lydia was born, she had what appeared to be a bruise on her ear. We assumed it was from the procedure I had a few weeks earlier (she was breech and the doctor attempted to manually turn her). It seemed minor at the time, we went home from the hospital…..and didn't think anymore of it. At one of her early doctor appointments, he noticed it had grown. Since we were staring in awe at our beautiful baby all day……we didn't notice much of a change. Because the bruising was on her ear, we were sent to an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist. He inspected her ear, and declared it was a venous malformation. Her hearing wasn't impacted, and we were sent on our merry way. Over the next few months, the malformation continued to grow. This was odd, since malformations were not supposed to evolve and change.
Two visits to specialists, one visit to our local children's hospital, and many dermatology visits later…..we have our answer. Lydia was born with a hemangioma. Easiest way to explain it? Hemangiomas are abnormal growths of cells or blood vessels. They look just like birthmarks. They're usually not a big deal, they grow for about the first six to eight months of life….then slowly involute or disappear over time. When are they an issue? When they are in an area where growth can cause damage……to internal organs, eyes, or in our case…..cartilage. Because Lydia's hemangioma is on her ear, there was concern that permanent malformation would be caused if it continued to grow.
So, we have begun treatment. Medicine is a funny thing, it's amazing how a medication intended for one thing can sometimes be used for another. Twice a day, we apply a glaucoma medication called Timolol to Lydia's ear. While there are possible side effects, she has exhibited none.
We consider ourselves to be very blessed. Lydia is doing extremely well. She is one of the children who will probably have few permanent side effects from her birth defect.
What is the lesson here? This had made me think a lot about how I view imperfection. How our society views imperfection. Once Lydia's hemangioma became apparent, I went through a short stage where I didn't really know what to say to people when they met her. Should I explain what it was? Prepare them in advance? I felt like if I didn't say anything it was weird for THEM. Did they think it was a bruise? That we dropped her? Funny, how I made it all about OTHER people.
Then Lydia and I had one of those perfect days right before my maternity leave ended. We were playing in her nursery, making faces in the mirror. I watched as she laughed, smiled and admired her own reflection. Then it dawned on me, she didn't see her hemangioma. She didn't see an “imperfection”. She only saw herself. Which is exactly what my husband and I see when we look at her. To us, she is perfect.
I thought about, at what age would she realize it was there? Would she become self conscious? Uncomfortable? What are our roles as her parents in this? Do I have all the answers? Not yet. But the one thing I do know, I have decided to live in an emotional place where we find joy in our imperfections. How can we expect our daughter to do so if we don't?
So I challenge each and every one of you, my dear readers to find joy in one “imperfection” in your life today. Because you never know which imperfections are gifts in disguise.