We’ve all seen the cute photos of babies playfully sticking their tongues out, or perhaps adore it when our own children do it. But for one mom of twins, this cute pose turned into a big problem when she noticed something strange about the tongue of one of her twin daughters — something that was different from her sister’s tongue.
It first began as a cute gesture on the ultrasound, when 28-year-old Melanie Varney was pregnant with twin girls, Ocea and Indigo. The sonogram technician in Australia commented to Varney and her husband Gabby Mason, about how adorable it was that one of the twins was sticking her tongue out for the camera. Nothing seemed amiss until Varney gave birth to the babies. Ocea looked a little bigger than her sister and different from the couple’s other child.
The new mom of multiples was intent on breastfeeding her twins, but she had a lot of struggle getting Ocea to latch on. She continued with her efforts, that repeatedly felt to be in vain. Her daughter continually stuck her tongue out during feedings, as well as everywhere the family went, which garnered a mixed bag of unsolicited comments from strangers.
“When we were out at the store we would get comments about her tongue poking out – most of them said she was cute but others thought she was being rude,” Varney explained, describing people’s odd reactions. “A couple of times people said it looked like she was thirsty and panting, as if she was some sort of dog.”
Why anyone would accuse an infant of intentionally “being rude” is beyond reason. Perhaps that adult needs to look inside themselves as to what makes them so sensitive and insecure to perceive everything as offensive. But I digress.
As days went on, Ocea’s tongue continued to hang out in pictures and in person, and breastfeeding didn’t get easier because she failed to suck. Eventually, Varney and her 30-year-old husband grew increasingly concerned about their daughter having an underlying condition. The children’s pediatrician insisted for three months that little Ocea was simply going through a phase, but the parents knew it had to be something more.
Varney engaged in the ultimate hypochondria-inducing act and scoured Google for hours looking for answers. Surprisingly, it worked, and she was able to diagnose what was wrong with her daughter. Her suspicion was later confirmed by physicians, and Ocea was scheduled for surgery to fix the deformity Varney discovered on her own.
Ocea suffered from a rare congenital defect called Beckwith Wiedemann Syndrome. It’s an overgrowth of the tongue, which means it’s too large to fit inside her average-sized mouth. Without surgery, it would never be able to fit, no matter how hard she tried. The procedure reduced the length, width, and girth of the baby’s tongue, so it’s now able to rest comfortably behind the front teeth. Miraculously, there is no visible scarring or impairment to mobility.
Parents must always trust their instincts when something doesn’t seem right. When the answers you receive aren’t satisfying, it’s good to keep looking. Although sites like WebMD and other Internet resources found with a Google search can make you believe that your stubbed toe is cancer or some other extreme, in this mother’s case, she got the much-needed answer for which she was looking.
Always seek professional advice from your findings, before attempting to remedy something yourself. Google does not suffice for a medical degree.