1 in a million
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Hi! my name is Florencia, I’m from Argentina and I’m going to tell you the story of my son.
I remember, as if it had been yesterday, the last ultrasound where doctors told me that they couldn’t see clearly the sex of my baby. Although previously, in one ultrasound they told me that my baby was a girl and in other one they told me a boy. I remember that day I was worried and thinking that I already had a whole wardrobe full of flowery dresses and pink bodysuits, what would I do if my baby was a boy? I had no money to spare, so from that day (when I could) I started buying white or yellow «unisex» clothes. The day of delivery arrived, I spoke to my baby .. «Antonella, wait for grandmother to arrive» and I walked around the house.
At 17 I didn’t have much idea what to do. I arrived at the hospital, after 12 hours of pain, screaming and crying. Antonella was born .. as soon as she was born the nurses looked at each other and said to me .. «Congratulations mom» and I asked .. «It’s a girl? It’s a boy? What is it?
After two minutes they took her away because she wasn`t breathing well … she spent several months in neonatology, and a few days later they told me that my daughter had been born with diaphragmatic paralysis, pulmonary hypertension and ambiguous genitalia, obviously I didn’t understand anything.
After a month and a half, we were referred to the Hospital Posadas to see the endocrinologists. I had never seen a hospital so big and in such bad condition, I was there for 15 to 20 days … the worst of my life. They treated my daughter like a guinea pig, and since I was a minor, doctors didn’t take me into account, and they didn’t care what I said. As soon as they had the genetic analysis, in which they discovered that she had an XY karyotype, the doctors wanted to operate on her to «normalize» her genitals. They told me that “she couldn’t be a normal woman with her ambiguous genitalia”, and a lot of other things they said to me every day.
Luckily, they couldn’t do anything without my authorization, and what I did was to inform myself. I looked everywhere for something that said that it was «mandatory» to operate on her, because that’s how the doctors made me see it. I never agreed to the surgery, a “vaginoplasty”, that they offered me as the only option, but I didn’t know why. At that moment, all I wanted to do was run away and take my daughter from that hospital. A few days later, I asked to be transferred back to the Hospital de Tigre, which is where we felt most comfortable and accompanied.
A year and a half later, we went to the Hospital de Niños Ricardo Gutiérrez for the first time. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t go with fear .. I was terrified!! Terror that the same thing as in the previous hospital would happen to us again. The first thing we did was start from scratch, they did genetic and hormonal tests, etc. Until they had the results and we spoke with the doctors, they told us that Antonella had a «disorder of sexual differentiation, XY with dysgenetic gonad and congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)», gonadal dysgenesis was what caused her to be born with ambiguous genitalia or genital differences, and, in addition, she was born with CAH. Thus, we agreed to assign her the female gender, they made us a report to be able to process the document we needed (a birth certificate, which we only obtained after two years). After explaining everything, with its pros and cons, about my daughter’s condition, the doctors ended the meeting with the phrase .. “We are here to accompany you, let’s not rush to do a surgery that has no turning back, and, above all, that it can bring irreversible consequences”. At that moment the only thing that came out was crying … and not just a few tears … I couldn’t stop, with everything we had been through, those words were a caress to the soul. For the first time since my daughter was born, I felt safe and calm next to a doctor.
We agreed that, if an operation was to be performed, it would be when Anto was 4 or 5 years old, but on the way something stopped us .. Antonella, at 3 years old, began to say that she was a boy, when we told her .. «What a pretty girl «, she would say ..»No !! I’m a boy!!”. At first, we didn’t give that situation the importance that deserved… I thought she was very young and didn’t know her gender.
The kindergarten began, and everything started to change .. the teachers called me every day.. Antonella lived playing with boys, she didn’t want to do activities with girls, and, above all, she said that she was a boy. Every year it was the same, so we went back to the doctor… I took her to the pediatrician, the educational psychologist, the neurologist, and to the endocrinologists, because the time for the surgery was also approaching.
That’s when I contacted Laura Inter, I read her story and others of many people like my child, they all spoke of pain, of feeling ashamed in medical exams and controls, and of the consequences they had to go through with surgeries. So, after everything we had go through, and after all the information that Brújula Intersexual gave me, I couldn’t make my child go through all that. We had already been through a lot, especially my child.
So, I communicated all I researched to the doctors and their answer was … «I hope you don’t have to come back, but if you come back, we will welcome both with open arms». I felt so good, I left so happy and relieved.
Time passed, Antonella started primary school, and the calls from school start over again. This time, Antonella had come to the front of the classroom and told classmates and teachers that he was a boy, that he was going to line up in the boy’s line, and that if any girl wanted to line up with him, teachers would have to let they do so. She also told the teacher that there shouldn’t be lines exclusively for girls and other for boys, why didn’t all the children line up together? That day marked a before and after, obviously when he came back from school, I talked to him, and that’s when my child told me that he felt like a boy, his precise words were … «It’s not that I feel like a boy, I had to be born like one”. He had just turned 6 years old .. I was speechless, I just wanted to hear him. I remembered all the times when I made him wear dresses and he didn’t want to, I remembered that he threw the headbands under the bed so I couldn’t find them, I remembered that from the kindergarten he said he was a boy and I didn’t listen to him … my son was not heard, and the worst thing is that his mother didn’t listen.
That day, with his father, we promised not to make the same mistake again. That day ANTONELLO was born. My son told me … «Mom, I was always Antonello.» A few days later we gave him his first shirt, it was light blue with squares, as soon as he put it on, I saw his face … he had a smile that I had never seen, he looked so radiant. Since that day every time someone calls him Antonello, he shines and smiles.
When I told our family about the situation, my sister said … «Our mission as parents is that our children are happy», there is nothing as true as that.
I share our story to help other families who are in the same situation, everything happens for a reason, and they live normal lives without surgeries or modifications … they are perfect as they are.
I’m eternally grateful to Brújula Intersexual for guiding me and providing me with tools to defend my son.
Seek help, inform yourself, and, above all, listen to your children.
Thanks for this space.
- Antonello’s Proud Mom