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As Eric cut the umbilical cord, he got a closer look at his newborn.
Rosie didn’t look like their son, Silas, had at birth.
Yet being intersex is almost as common as having red hair, affecting nearly two percent of the population.
These differences in sexual development may be in chromosomes, internal organs or genitals.
Rosie has a more serious form of the condition called salt-wasting CAH, which can be life-threatening.
After birth, Rosie’s blood sugar and weight plummeted, and she spent 19 days in the NICU.
Surgery is a huge risk because you don’t know what any child’s gender identity is going to be, intersex or not.” On their third day at the London Health Sciences Centre in Ontario, while Rosie was still in the NICU, Eric and Stephani Lohman had their first DSD team meeting.
A few more pushes and Rosie made her grand entrance, wriggling and wailing and perfectly pink.
A nurse held up the alert newborn for her parents to see. “I told you ultrasounds could be wrong,” Stephani said to Eric, giving his arm a playful swat.
Intersex conditions also occur when babies produce high levels of male hormones or are unable to respond to them.
Rosie was born with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which caused her body to overproduce male hormones while in utero and develop male characteristics, and underproduce other hormones needed to fight illness and regulate salt and water in the body.
Stephani sensed something was wrong, but, numb from the epidural, she couldn’t sit up to see what was going on. After what seemed like an eternity but was really only 10 minutes, the paediatrician approached Stephani’s bedside and sheepishly explained to her and Eric that sometimes when a baby is born, it’s hard to tell if it’s a boy or a girl. Intersex, or differences of sexual development (DSD), is an umbrella term that refers to people born with variations in sex characteristics that don’t fit into the typical binary definition of boy or girl.