When Sarah Regan went to change her 9-month-old baby’s diaper she was horrified when she found it filled with blood.
Panicking her baby girl Birdie could have a kidney infection, Regan, 38, rushed her daughter to the emergency room in 2020, where doctors carried out a battery of tests.
Doctors carried out ultrasounds, hormone tests and an X-ray on her wrist, and they found her bones were advanced by 18 months and she was diagnosed with precocious puberty — before she could even walk or talk.
“That was her first period,” the puzzled mom from Sydney, Australia, told Kennedy News. “I didn’t know what to think, we didn’t know much about it and we’d never heard of it before.”
According to Stanford Medicine, precocious puberty is a rare condition in children involving physical signs of sexual maturity developing too soon.
Because Birdie, who is now 2, is so young, it’s hard to tell what other symptoms she has, like mood swings or aches and period pain.
“She doesn’t have pubic hair or breasts, which some children with the condition can get,” Regan explained.
The mom of three, who has two other children, Zachary, 10, and Elsie, 1, admitted it’s tough having to constantly explain Birdie’s condition.
“When she goes to day care 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,” she revealed. “That’s our biggest hurdle with her.”
However, the mom says 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,” she told Kennedy News.
After she initially started bleeding, Birdie has suffered random spotting. The toddler has to undergo a hormone test, ultrasound and X-ray every six months to check on her development.
Regan says if Birdie’s development advances quickly, she’ll consider hormone injections to slow it down and stall other elements of puberty from coming too early, but doctors are monitoring the situation.
“She’s had spotting since the full bleed. It hasn’t been monthly. It’s stretched itself out, it’s not regular,” she explains. “It makes it really hard to track. We’re trying to make sure it doesn’t affect her physically.”
The concerned mom says just wants her daughter to have a typical childhood.
“As her mom I hope it doesn’t affect her appearance and growth more than any other child her age,” she said. “If we need hormone therapy then we’ll do it, I just don’t want it to make her different.”
Despite her rare condition, Regan describes Birdie as a “normal” baby.
“She’s a normal girl, she’s almost 3, she’s having tantrums,” she said. “She’s normal, you wouldn’t know. Appearance wise you wouldn’t know the difference because we’re on top of it.”