April 24, 2007

Omphalophobia

The birth of a belly button is a hallowed event. Six to twelve days after a baby is born the withered umbilical stump falls off and sweetie's darling new button is revealed to the world. Up until this moment there is no guessing what it will look like. Genes seem to have no factor in whether the button is in innie, an outtie, oval or circle, craggy or smooth.

We carefully tended my newborn's umbilical stump with alcohol swabs, cleaning it thoroughly to ensure the prettiest button possible. My first child's stump fell off on day twelve so I was happily surprised when I found Cher's stump in the blanket on only the ninth day. My joy was shortlived. I pulled back her shirt and saw it. At first I wasn't quite sure what it was. I finally understand those who suffer from omphalophobia, or a fear of belly buttons. They must have seen something like this.

On an otherwise flawless being, Cher's belly button is a blood stained nightmare. It protrudes at least half an inch from her abdomen and is almost as wide as a nickel. The stump must have fallen off prematurely because the entire thing is still oozing something nasty. I've never seen anything like it. Ever since discovering her extra appendage, I've taken care to dress her full sleeper suits to help me forget what lies beneath. When I do find it necessary to change and bath her, I find myself focusing on her face, her boogers, her toe lint, anything to keep my eyes off the utter outtiness of her outtie.

Yes it true, I am one of those people who secretly believe that we "innies" are better than the 10% of the population with "outties." Outties are aberrations of nature whose bodies never fully accepted the separation from their mothers. Outties are unable to slip discreetly through crowds as their large protruding belly buttons catch on strangers' belt buckles. Outties wear brown socks with black pants. Outties are just weird. And now I have the biggest outtie of them all living right here under my own roof. True, it could be just an umbilical hernia and may go away in a few months time, but if it doesn't?

She'll never be able to wear spandex tops. She'll never be in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. She'll never be able to feed small woodland animals out of her belly button. Oh, the things she'll miss. Of course, there is always umbilicoplasty (belly button cosmetic surgery to create an innie). Or an even more drastic option, dare I accept her the way she is? Take in the outtie? These are frightening times my friends. Frightening times indeed.

29 comments:

Marie said...

Ah, little Charlotte, I feel your pain. I, too, had a freakishly large outie. I, too, had a mother who was puzzled by my abnormality, though her tack was forcing me to lift my shirt and show the Visiting Teachers. Oh, the humiliation!

It turned out to be an umbilical hernia and it was operated on twice before I was five, creating the massive moon crater of an innie that I now have. Forget small woodland critters -- I have to keep the thing dry for fear of attracting a crocodile colony. On the up side, bikinis were never a temptation. On the down side, I have had to devise several wedding-night explanations: one for a shocked husband, one for a mocking husband, and one for a running-screaming-out-of-the-bedroom husband.

Pity us, ye cute little innies. Turn not away from us in disgust.

AzĂșcar said...

I am grieving for your loss.

Doug said...

Does the growth also expect to be fed?

Clyde said...

Time for reflections. Sigh.

Now back to bussiness: You can make a fashion statement by "decorating the thingy" with bows, barretes and such things. If that doesn't work, your last hope rests in asking Penny to develop her smiley-faces painting skills using a sharpie. :)
PS As you see the pros are waaaaay much better!

citymama1 said...

You're too funny.

glittersmama said...

No Sports Illustrated? Dang it.

Awesome Mom said...

My youngest has an innie barely, it pops out when he eats a lot of food at a meal. I love teasing my husband about it since he is just as grossed out as you about outie belly buttons.

coolbeans said...

Can you get an outie bellybutton pierced?

CACKEL said...

The odds of it being a hernia are pretty low considering that she was not born premature or low-weight and is not African American, which all raise the odds of having this condition, according to your link. I'm guessing the surgery is low-risk, so that might be the best option. I had an uncle who had the surgery because he was to embarrassed to take his shirt off when he went swimming. I was about 6 eyars old when he had the surgery, and I prayed in church that he could have his belly button operated on safely. I didn't know why everyone laughed.

Rachel said...

My pediatrician told me that some kids are outies until age three, and then magically they become innies.

I bring this news to give you a sliver of hope. All is not lost....yet.

Adam said...

i was an outie until i got a little older. can't remember when. but maybe it was when i got chubby.

Marie said...

Sorry -- I didn't mean to be an alarmist. Just trying (and failing) to be funny. For the record, I'm the only person I know who's had an umbilical hernia, and my whole family is just very hernia-prone. At age 7 I had an inguinal hernia, and two other immediate family members have had hernias as well, so it's almost certainly genetic. We's just got the saddest stomach muscles you ever saw.

Sarah said...

Despite the odds, the doctor said today it is in fact an umbilical hernia and that it's not uncommon in kids for the first few months. She seemed rather nonchalant about it and seemed to think it would start looking normal in a few more months.

Marie, I can't believe you've actually had belly button surgery! You're so hip! So which husband greeted you on your wedding night, shocked, mocking or screaming?

Coolbeans - your suggestion to pierce an outtie made my stomach hurt. I can't imagine anything less sexy or more painful!

M&M said...

How is it that you can even make belly buttons sound hilarious?! You have a gift! Congrats on the beautiful little girl. I look forward to many more of your stories.

Adrienne said...

Am I only person squicked out by navels? The fiance has an innie, but since he has all of .00015% body fat, it's incredibly flat and shallow. Me, with a little more, ahem, padding? Cavernous navel. And I'm frightened of my navel. The idea of cleaning it with a q tip makes me gag... NO TOUCHING THE NAVEL!

I think it's because when I was a kid, I thought my belly button actually still led to my stomach.

Adam said...

adrienne, i am with you on the no touching the navel. i cannot stand to have anything come even close. its the worst form of torture

pflower10 said...

Just think when she leaves a room she can say "I'm outtie here" or when she's looking for more toilet paper "Are we outtie toilet paper"
"You're so outtie control"

Abigail S said...

Victoria's Secret has a relatively new model who is an outtie. So there is hope for your daughter!

Bek said...

My two youngest had hernias (both are black and it is WAY more common with AA children...) and Nori is still sporting a pretty awesome one. Jacob's went away when he was 2...

I always wondered how it was determined if it would be an innie or outie.... you learn something new every day....

Bek said...

P.S. Hollywood, I wouldn't worry about it. Kids usually outgrow the hernia with out any problem, but it is much more rare for it to happen in a white baby... so, already she is breaking the mold... she is going to be a treat when she is 3.... :-)

Marie said...

Oh, I'm not married, Sarah. But I've felt from a young age that you can't get started too early preparing for such tricky moments. Moments when all your future happiness turns on a bellybutton.

wynne said...

...or falls into one, as the case may be.

wynne said...

Okay, that really didn't make sense. (I'm not thinking clearly because I'm still overawed by Sarah's ability to use the word "omphalophobia" as a post title.)

Chanel said...

now she'll have a little playmate when Penny is busy. awwww, how sweet.

Jordan said...

Sarah:

It could be a hernia. Our youngest son has a belly button like that. The doctor says it should go away by the time he is 2 (and if it doesn't, he might need surgery...) as his internal organs grow and strengthen. Perhaps it is similar with yours! So don't despair yet!

Well- I just read the rest of the comments and it seems that you already determined that! So good news!

Hope you and Adam are well- we sure enjoy hanging out with your sister and nieces and nephews out here! :) (We call them our cousins because, in fact, they are! Aaron and I are (fairly closely) related...)

I miss those days in Ann Arbor sometimes!

Marion of London said...

Hmmm stumbled across this site when I was looking to see if anyone else in the known galaxies had a horror of their own belly button (as I have). Innies or outies are fine with me -- just don't even look in the direction of mine or I may become hysterical, possibly homicidal.

Marion
London GB

Anna said...

that's so rude. you should embrace every part of your child. horrible mother...

Anna said...

that's so rude. you should embrace every part of your child. horrible mother....

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