March 17th 2001 is a day that will long be remembered as a day that changed the Wood family forever for a number of reasons. It was a day in past years that we celebrated St Patrick's day but in 2001 it was the day that our precious first child Meg, was born.Meg arrived 2 and a half weeks early on a Saturday morning. She was born at the aptly named Sunshine Hospital after 7 hours of uncomplicated labour. Although we had gone 24 hours without sleep the whole experience is still very vivid. I remember Meg "arriving" and the mid-wife saying that it was a beautiful girl , Meg was then put on Tracey's tummy. Soon after I cut the cord and while deliriously tired, I felt overwhelmed with emotion.We were not aware of anything other than we had a beautiful baby daughter, it was only when I went with the nurses to clean Meg up in another room that I noticed she had 50+ "birthmarks" on her backside. I was the first person to notice it, as up until then no one had focused on her back. I alerted the nurse and she said she had not really seen anything like it before and would get the paediatrician to look at Meg.I went and told Tracey about the marks and that I didn't know exactly what it was and that the doctor would have a look. I have a sister that has a birthmark the size of a squash ball on her face and thought that maybe it was similar, but the sheer amount that Meg had and the area it covered was very concerning.After some time the paediatrician arrived and she said that she had not encountered the condition before and said that she would organise some other paediatricians who may have some knowledge about the condition. The lack of knowledge in the initial days after Meg's birth made this time very bittersweet .The excitement and emotion of having a new baby girl was being offset by the fear of the unknown and what affect this condition would have on Meg's future. Our families were fantastic support but were obviously worried as we were, and probably don't and will never fully understand how Tracey and I were feeling during that difficult time. After 3 days we were visited by 2 more paediatricians who referred us to a dermatologist. So straight after booking out of the hospital we visited Dr Bruce Tate. He knew about the condition and explained that NCM could be a related side effect and gave us some other information and referred us to a leading dermatologist at the Royal Children's Hospital. From there we started searching on the internet for more information on what we could and should do. We were finding dribs and drabs of information but nothing that you would describe as definitive. During our journey we have searched for information on the internet, spoken to plastic surgeons, attended a Dermatologists day where 30 Doctors all looked at Meg and gave us a summary of their findings, Meg had an MRI scan, visited leading paediatricians and of course eventually stumbled across the support group which has been a great comfort and wealth of information for us. Meg will be 3 years old on the 17th March 2004. Meg has developed a large bathing trunk nevus since she was born and the majority of her satellites are now within her large nevus. She has developed other satellites on her arms and legs but they are very small and don't seem to be growing and are very minor. Aside from cosmetic issues she has no ill effects from the nevus. She is a very bright and strong willed little girl who at this stage is not conscious at all of her marks as displayed by her desire to get around in the nude whenever she can.In many ways we are fortunate that Meg's nevus is not in an area that brings attention on a daily basis and is covered by her normal clothing. At this stage we have been advised that there is no real health benefit in removing the nevus and have decided not to seek surgical options. I am sure it is quite confronting for people who see Meg without her pants off for the first time but we believe that we have educated our family and close friends and they know that it is just the way she is. We believe that in Meg's situation and with the improvement in technology that we will give Meg the option of removal when she is old enough to make a decision. Tracey and I know that there will be some difficult times as she gets older and more aware of her body but with our love and support we are confident that we can steer Meg in the right direction.Monitoring the condition will be an on-going process and to this stage the relevant experts are very pleased with her progression. With support from family and friends we will continue our journey and do what we can to ensure that Meg has a great life.
By Troy Wood (Meg's Dad)published 2004
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