One thing I have found since becoming a mum is how strong my mother’s intuition is surrounding the well-being of my children.
Don’t get me wrong, I constantly question myself but when it comes to their health – the big stuff – I have found my intuition has served me well.
I have two children, Lily Kate who is almost three and Henry Simon who is seven months old.
Three weeks after Lily was born she developed a large growth on her head and within that growth I noticed a black dot that kept getting bigger. Funnily enough, the actual growth itself wasn’t the issue to me at first it was more the black speck growing within it.
Because we live in a remote town the doctors weren’t sure what the black mark was and it wasn’t until Lily was seen by a visiting paedaetrician that we found the growth on her head was a birthmark known as a haemangioma and the black spot was dried blood from vessels bursting within it. It eventually became fully ulcerated and needed laser treatment so she was referred to the Dermatology Unit at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) in Perth. As it turned out she also needed laser treatment for what they called ‘salmon patches’ on her face which were marks that wouldn’t disappear with age.
She received two laser treatments for the ulceration and further laser treatments on her face for the salmon patches. Watching my baby get the laser treatment was quite traumatic but I knew it was going to be worth it and I had to keep telling myself that!
She started medication called Propranolol to stunt the growth of the haemangioma and stayed on it until she was one. The haemangioma is still quite visible today (her hair is starting to cover it now) but it will disappear in time. I am often stopped by people commenting on the “big bruise” on her head and I always correct them and say it is a birth mark.
As Lily grew I noticed a small lump appear on her abdomen. Initially it only presented itself when she was tense but then I started noticing it all the time. I took her to see a doctor who fobbed me off telling me it was nothing which didn’t sit well with me. After another couple of failed doctor visits, I finally saw one who said straight away that it was a hernia and in most cases they always need to be removed. So again Lily was referred to PMH where it was determined it was a hernia (not life-threatening) and she is due to get it removed when she turns four.
A few days ago I noticed a freckle on Lily’s lip. I have seen it there before but it seems darker to me now and my intuition has spiked again. We have had it looked at under a derma scope (which magnifies moles) at the local doctor’s clinic and the doctor has admitted that although it doesn’t seem sinister, it is “strange” and worth getting reviewed further. So again we will be going to PMH.
Since having my children, I have learned to go with my gut instincts to question doctors if I don’t believe they are giving me the right answer. Before my kids came along I always trusted doctor’s opinions and accepted what they would say. Not now.
I just wouldn’t forgive myself if I could prevent health issues with my kids and so far on this parenting journey I am finding my mother’s intuition is almost never wrong.
My name is Jaime Bell. I’m about to turn 34 (eeek!) and I live in the Kimberley region of Australia with my partner Anthony and our two children Lily and Henry.