Every mother is able to find adorable qualities in her newborn baby that makes him or her unique and extra cute. However, many other people think newborns all sort of look the same.
While most mothers would deny that their baby looks identical to every other baby, there is some truth to that belief. We have fairly universal expectations of how a newborn baby will look after birth.
Joni Gatlin, mother of Madison Gatlin, was shocked by her own daughter’s appearance at birth. Not only was Gatlin shocked, but doctors were stumped at first by Madison’s unusual condition.
Besides some abnormal fluid during a prenatal ultrasound, Gatlin and doctors were not expecting Madison to be born with such severe swelling, which they found was due to an extremely rare condition. The condition made her look like a muscular bodybuilder rather than a tiny newborn.
Doctors were finally able to give Madison the official diagnosis of CLOVES syndrome. This overgrowth syndrome caused the lymphatic fluid to swell beneath Madison’s arms and chest.
The swelling has given her the unusually muscular appearance that she has. As you can probably imagine, some stangers have made less-than-tactful observations about this little girl that have been hurtful.
Gatlin has lovingly used the name “baby Hulk” to describe Madison’s condition in a way that other children can understand. She did not want a detailed medical description to scare other children or cause children to treat her daughter differently. When they would make blunt comments about her daughter’s appearance, she would say that nothing was wrong with her little girl—Madison looked that way because her dad was the Hulk.
Imagine a bag of sugar being attached to one of your arms at all times. At 18 months old, Madison’s swelling in her arms and upper torso weigh approximately five pounds, which is equivalent to a bag of sugar.
Every parent delights over their child reaching new developmental milestones. Madison and doctors have been especially delighted to watch Madison perform physical tasks that were thought to be impossible for her just a short while ago.
Initially, they suspected that Madison would have no range of motion. By just four weeks old, she had full range of motion.
Gatlin explained, “They told us that she would probably not sit up. She probably would not crawl on time. She would be very behind. She’s doing all of those.”
Madison is one of 150 documented cases of this overgrowth syndrome worldwide. Her family has embraced her unique appearance and dedicated their lives to supporting Madison’s medical needs.
Gaitlin said, “Everyone looks different. She just has bigger muscles. She’s my Hulk. I love her.”