WHEN mum Sarah Regan woke up to change her little girl’s nappy one morning, she never expected to find it full of blood.
Her little girl Birdie was just nine-months-old at the time and Sarah was worried she had a kidney infection.
But after being rushed to hospital for tests in 2020, Birdie was diagnosed with precocious puberty.
It’s a rare condition where a child’s body starts to develop too early and Birdie had started her period before she’d even learned to walk and talk.
Sarah, 38, said: “She woke one morning so I went to check her nappy and it was full of blood, not just a little bit. It was a heavy bleed. I was worried she might have a kidney infection.
“I changed her and took straight to the emergency room.
“After ruling out any other causes, they did a bone scan and found that her bones were advanced for her age. They diagnosed her with precocious puberty that night.”
That, Sarah said, had been her little girl’s first period.
The mum-of-three added: “I didn’t know what to think, we didn’t know much about it and we’d never heard of it before. She wasn’t walking or talking.
“It’s hard to tell if she has other symptoms like mood swings or aches and pains because she’s so little. She doesn’t have pubic hair or breasts, which some children with the condition can get.”
Sarah, who lives in Sydney, Australia, said she hated how she has to explain the condition to Birdie’s teachers so they don’t become concerned if they see blood in the now two-year-old’s underwear.
“When she goes to daycare I felt like I had to explain that if they find blood in her nappy that’s why and we have a doctor’s note to ensure no one becomes concerned about it. That’s our biggest hurdle with her.
“As she grows up, I hate that’s always something we have to explain. When she starts primary school, I’ll have to explain to her teachers but it’s important for people to know about it.
“I also don’t want people to become complacent. If blood is found in an infant’s underwear it has to be investigated.
“My son googled the youngest person to have a baby, it came up as a five-year-old who had been abused and he said that meant that Birdie broke the record of someone old enough to have a baby.
“In a way it’s right but it’s disturbing. It’s a horrible thing to think about.”
After the first period in 2020, Sarah says Birdie has suffered from random spotting.
The toddler also has to have a hormone test, ultrasound and x-ray every six months to check on her development.
She added that if her development advances quickly, she’ll consider hormone injections to slow it down and stall going through other elements of puberty too early.
Sarah said: “She’s had spotting since the full bleed. It hasn’t been monthly. It’s stretched itself out, it’s not regular.
“It makes it really hard to track. We’re trying to make sure it doesn’t affect her physically.
“It can affect your growth and appearance so that’s what we’re monitoring and if it does look like that’s happening at any stage, we’ll start a hormone treatment with injections of hormones to stall puberty until she’s at an age where it’s appropriate for her to go through that.
“It’s slowed down a little bit and she’s doing really well. We caught it so early in her and we keep checking her every six months so she’ll have a good prognosis because we’re on top of it.”
Sarah said that appearance wise, you wouldn’t know that Birdie =has the illness.
She added: “As her mum I hope it doesn’t affect her appearance and growth more than any other child her age.
“I just want her to have a normal childhood. If we need hormone therapy then we’ll do it, I just don’t want it to make her different.”
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