When Ruby Ashby was born it was love at first sight.
A smiling, happy baby with a bubbly personality, her parents thought she was perfect.
But they were concerned that as she got older she would face problems other children didn’t have to worry about.
Ruby was born with a large mole on her head, covering almost a quarter of her tiny face and reaching down into her eye area.
Dark brown in colour, it is also mostly covered in hair.
“We’re just calling it a birthmark – we had the tests and it’s all clear for now but who knows what could happen in the future,” Ruby’s mother Natalie Ashby, from Towradji on the NSW south coast, says.
“When she’s older she won’t want to have it either.”
Ruby is the one baby in 500,000 born with the condition, called Congenital Melanocytic Nevus.
In January she will have the first in a series of operations to remove the mole.
“I’m getting a bit nervous actually, it’s all starting to feel real,” Natalie says of the plan.
Ruby’s first surgery is on January 12, and will be to create excess skin for surgeons to use to replace the mole-covered area.
A silicone balloon will be inserted under the skin and gradually inflated to stretch Ruby’s existing skin so that doctors will have enough skin to work with.
This process might need to be repeated three or four times.
To remove the mole from Ruby’s eye area, doctors will need to take a skin graft using the soft, sensitive skin behind the little girl’s ear.