Brooklynn Barnwell, 5, couldn’t contain her excitement when she met her newborn sister, Noralynn, who has Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ
Taylor Dunnavant, of Saint Clair, Missouri, says she could sense soᴍᴇᴛʜing different during her most recent pregnancy. The 25-year-old has ʟᴏsᴛ weight and even experienced some brief complications, but she says nothing can prepare her for the moment she meets her new daughter Noralynn on March 5.
“Her hair, her Sᴋɪɴ, everything is wʜɪᴛe. I didn’t know she was going to have Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ,” Dunnavant told everyone about the moment she first saw the baby. “It was a complete sʜᴏᴄᴋ. They picked her up and put her on top of me and all I could do was say, “Oh! She’s all wʜɪᴛe!”
Dunnavant and her husBᴀɴd Chris Barnwell worked to process the news that their new little Gɪʀʟ has Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ, a congenital disorder in which there is little or no production of melanin. However, when they introduced their 5-year-old daughter, Brooklynn, to the infant just 15 minutes after the birth, the little Gɪʀʟ had an adorable reaction.
“She said she looks like Elsa and a snow fairy!” Dunnavant recalls of Brooklynn, who referred to the beloved Frozen character and a winter-themed fairy in the Tinker Bell series. “She looked at me and said, ‘Mom, she’s a snow fairy and I started giggling. She said, ‘She’s related to Elsa!’ ”
Dunnavant, who first shared her story with Love What Matters, told people she knew nothing about Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ before welcoming her daughter. So she and Barnwell took the baby to a specialist in the weeks after birth, where they learned all about the condition and what they needed to do to take care of Noralynn.
She learned that children with Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ often have vision problems, noting that Noralynn may need glasses in the future. And she and Barnwell will have to take extra steps to protect their baby’s sensitive Sᴋɪɴ from the sun because people with Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ have a higher ʀɪsᴋ of developing Sᴋɪɴ ᴄᴀɴᴄᴇʀ.
“I knew nothing about Aʟʙɪɴɪꜱᴍ two months ago — neither did her dad or my family. I wasn’t aware of how ʜᴜʀᴛful it is when people stare,” she says of Noralynn.
“Everything from groceries to doctor visits, I have to be prepared for people’s questions,” she said. As for Brooklynn, Dunnavant said she loves her sister very much.
“She wants to do everything with her. She can’t wait until she’s older to jump on the trampoline with her. She told everyone, “My sister has wʜɪᴛe hair, but that’s okay! She’s different. “She absolutely loves her little sister.”