Christopher's story

On 23rd July 2009, I had my fourth child by caesarean section. The midwife explained that he had a birthmark on his face but he was "fine." She gave him to my partner who looked first at our new baby boy, then at me, and said "It's fine, it's quite big but it looks OK."

When my partner left, I had Christopher on my chest for skin to skin contact. I held him for five hours. I studied every part of him. His tiny fingers and toes, his perfectly formed nails, his tiny little body, his blond hair and of course his tiny little face. Although his birthmark was a shock, I fell in love with him the moment I laid eyes on him just as I had with my other children.

The next day, a cleaner who looked into Christopher's crib said "Oh a birthmark, that's unsightly" and then carried on with her cleaning. In that instant, my world crumbled. I was so emotional and tired after the operation that I didn't have any energy to react - but inside it broke my heart that someone could be so cruel.

When the paediatrician came to do the checks before discharging us, he said that Christopher's birthmark was probably a stork mark and that given time, it would fade.

Bringing Christopher home was just as exciting as bringing any of my other babies home. My parents had explained to my other children that Christopher had a birthmark and looked a little different. My three-year-old daughter asked why it happened, and my Mum told her that he'd been kissed by an angel, who had left the mark. She was then over the moon at the thought of having such a special brother.

At Christopher's six-week check-up, the GP said that he thought the birthmark was a port wine stain and not a stork mark. He also mentioned Sturge-Weber syndrome which we had never heard of. He referred us to our local hospital as Christopher was also having feeding problems.

The doctor there dismissed Sturge-Weber syndrome as very unlikely as the syndrome usually occurs when the birthmark is higher up on the face and head. He referred us to the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) department at Leicester Royal Infirmary for Christopher's feeding problems. Christopher was diagnosed as having laryngomalacia - a floppy larynx - which fortunately was not related to his birthmark and in time corrected itself.

When we used to go out with Christopher, people stared and whispered to each other, but none of our friends or family really said anything. Of course having people staring at your baby is upsetting and hard to deal with. Nowadays I often forget what people are staring at.

Since then, Christopher has continued to grow and develop 'normally.' He brings great joy to all our lives, friends and family included. We don't treat him differently nor expect him to be treated differently. He isn't disabled or disfigured, he just happens to have a birthmark.

Christopher is a happy, healthy baby and I want for him what I want for my other children -for them to grow into well-rounded, happy individuals who are proud of themselves and everything they do.

We always said that treatment for removal would always be Christopher's decision. However I'm concerned that Christopher will receive a lot of negativity because of his birthmark, and our GP has referred us to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford to find out about treatment options. I'm not sure if we will have treatment even if it is available. I'm not sure I want to change my beautiful boy's face. However I don't think it will do us any harm to find out.