One mother from Missouri learned an important lesson about acceptance and embracing differences with the arrival of her second child. The newborn looked remarkably distinct with a head full of snow-white hair.
Already a mother of a little girl, Taylor Dunnavant, of Saint Clair, Missouri, ascertained her second pregnancy was different from the first when she started losing weight instead of gaining it. In addition, she had nosebleeds and pains in unexpected places.
This dissimilar experience of pregnancy left Taylor believing the “baby was a boy,” until she was informed by her doctors that she was actually expecting another girl.
Unbeknownst to Taylor, there was yet another big surprise awaiting as she went into labor two weeks earlier than the anticipated date. While Taylor was in labor, nurse Lindsay exclaimed with a wide smile, “She has hair!” as Taylor was pushing.
“I wasn’t surprised. Our first daughter was born with a head full of the darkest black hair I had ever seen in my life,” Taylor wrote for LoveWhatMatters.
The second-time mother then gave one final push, and finally, baby Noralynn Kay came into the world. As the doctor lifted Noralynn up and set her down, Taylor was surprised.
“All I could do was yell, ‘Oh!’ Our baby had hair alright, a head full of hair — white as snow,” she wrote.
She looked at her husband, Chris, and “all I could say to him was, ‘She has white hair.’” Shaken by the surprise, Taylor wondered how her newborn got white hair. “Is she okay?” she pondered.
Noralynn’s snow-white hair then became a topic of conversation at the hospital that day.
Nurses came into the room to take a look at the baby’s unique hair, and they began asking many questions: “‘Is she an albino? Where did the white hair come from? Were you white-headed as a baby? Is anyone in your family albino?’”
Taylor was totally unprepared for the questions and felt uncomfortable to have Noralynn being labeled as an “albino.” However, her first daughter, Brooklynn, then 5, had no issue with her newborn sister’s unusual look.
Blown away by Noralynn’s unique beauty, Brooklynn said, “She looks like Elsa and a snow fairy!”
“She looked at me and said, ‘Mom, she’s a snow fairy and I started giggling. She said, ‘She’s related to Elsa!’” said Taylor, in an interview with PEOPLE.
Needless to say, Noralynn piqued onlookers’ curiosity everywhere they went. Taylor and Chris had to bear with all the staring, pointing, and the endless questions posed by strangers.
“And we even had people yell across the grocery store to ‘look at the little albino.’ Of course, this upset us,” Taylor wrote.
To determine whether Noralynn has albinism, Taylor and Chris met up with a specialist. Having no prior knowledge of the congenital disorder that is caused by the lack of melanin production, resulting in the skin, hair, or eyes to have little or no color, they were anxious.
“The genetic counselor explained to us that albinism is a recessive gene. Meaning, that both mother and father have to possess the gene in order for the baby to receive it,” Taylor wrote.
With neither Taylor nor Chris having a family history of albinism, the only possibility could be “the baby mutated the gene all on her own.”
The genetic counselor also shed light with the parents on things that Noralynn might experience in her journey of life.
“With Nora specifically, it is unlikely that she will ever have any other hair color other than white,” Taylor shared. “Her eyes will remain silver with glares of red, and it’s possible that they may gain little pigment, but unlikely.”
“She will most likely need some type of corrective lenses, like glasses. We will forever have to lather her up in the highest SPF of sunscreen that we can find. There is a chance that she could have trouble with hearing,” Taylor added.
Listening to the specialist’s explanation, Taylor’s initial worries were lifted away.
She was relieved knowing that all things could be managed and that Noralynn was “healthy, just different.”
Taylor has come to terms with Noralynn’s albinism. However, she was concerned about other people’s prejudices.
“How do we as parents make sure that our children do not grow up disliking themselves or things about themselves because they are different?” she wrote.
But as time went by, Taylor knew how to handle the attention of onlookers. “Now I just politely respond with, ‘She has albinism.’ Most people are just genuinely curious. That’s why I feel it is so important that we shine a light on the subject.”
As Taylor picked up more information about albinism, she came to the realization that “everything is going to be ok.”
Her family “couldn’t be more blessed” to have Noralynn in their life.
And of course, Brooklynn is absolutely in love with her little sister.
“She wants to do everything with her,” Taylor said. “She tells people, ‘My sister has white hair, but it’s okay! She’s different.’”
Having Noralynn has opened Taylor’s eyes “in so many ways.” She has gained a new perspective: that everyone is different and unique in their own way, and to accept others as they are.
Well, as the saying goes, “What makes you different, makes you beautiful.”
Undeniably, Noralynn is a little beauty with a snow-white gorgeous mane. She does look like a snow fairy!