While some people would be shocked by the unusual situation, here is what transpired.
CafeMom contributor Patricia Williamstalks about her experiences having two amazing babies born with albinism. In a post published on the blog, she first talked about her second baby Redd, and how at the time she knew nothing about albinism. When her baby was handed to her, she was thrilled at his sparkly white hair and lovely blue eyes. He was the most perfect thing she’d ever seen.
“At the time,” she wrote, “We should have realized there was something extra special about him when nurses (who were not our nurses) were coming in to see the “baby with white hair”. My husband and I were both so happy to show him off. We had both been born with blonde hair (and so was our first son Gage), so seeing our second son with such blonde hair didn’t strike us as unusual.”
His blue eyes would sometimes flash red when he was in certain light.”
Patricia talks about the three most outstanding things about her angel baby; his sparkling hair, his constantly dashing eyes, and the change of color in his eyes.
“The first was his hair. It was so white it would sparkle in the sunlight. I pointed it out to my mother-in-law who just said, “He’s like a special little fairy.” Second was the way his eyes were always dashing up and looking up and back in constant motion. I would try and block his view with my hands to see if he would divert his eyes down, but nothing ever worked. Third was how his eyes would somehow flash red when he was in certain light. This was by far the strangest occurrence. Patricia and her husband didn’t know what these things meant. They felt he would grow out of them soon enough. Little did they know there was a lot more to his unique attributes than just being newly born.
Learning about Redd’s nature
The couple had to conduct some research about Redd. They were most concerned about his eyes tracking constantly. When her husband conducted an internet search, he immediately read the word ‘albinism’. Patricia had never heard the word and had no idea what it meant. She knew about albinos, she never heard ‘albinism’.
“I remember him looking at Redd and saying, ‘White hair, pale skin, tracking of the eyes… he’s an albino!’ My immediate response was, ‘No he’s not! Don’t they have red eyes?’” The couple decided they needed to learn as much as possible, looking up basically everything they could find on albinism. At the end of their exercise, it became clear to them that they needed to consult their pediatrician.
The pediatrician was shocked she hadn’t noticed it initially. Redd had refused to open his eyes during his examinations, so the doctor was unable noticed the eye color change or tracking. The fact that he kept his eyes shut so much made a lot of sense to them at that point. Albinos are extremely sensitive to bright light. They were referred to a genetics specialist who described his nature as OCA1 (Oculocutaneous Albinism type 1).
“He told us there are various forms of albinism, but the OCA1 Is the most common in which the body produces little to no pigment in skin, hair, and eyes. He said that the white eyelashes and white eyebrows are the easiest way to tell the difference between someone with albinism and someone who is blonde. Being clueless as to how ignorant I sounded, I decided to ask, ‘But aren’t they supposed to have red eyes?’