When she was 8 weeks old, I was changing her and was shocked to see that the strawberry had turned into a deep purple bruise. I called the midwives in a panic. They informed me it was a vascular birthmark. Some great information on the various types of birthmarks, can be found here. A friend of mine from our pre-natal class had been referred with her daughter to the birthmark clinic at our Children's Hospital. When I took Grace in to our family Dr. I made mention of the clinic. Our Dr. referred us and we became patients of Dr. Fraulin. A Pediactric Plastic Surgeon. This was blessing #1.
Hemangiomas go through a period of growth (a quick, rapid phase) then a period of involution (a slow prolonged phase). Grace's hemangioma burst at 3 months old, only weeks before our first clinic appointment. We took her to emergency, but they weren't able to do anything for her, and she wasn't in pain (G's hemangioma had never caused her pain. She hardly knew it was there).
When our clinic date came up I came with a folder of photos for them, of how her birthmark had appeared at birth, and as she grew those first months. For the first year at the clinic we also saw a pediatrician. Part of the clinics purpose is research. It is still unknown why some children are born with hemangiomas, and others aren't. What is known is they are more common in girls, than in boys.
Those that follow this blog will know that this past June we elected to have Grace's hemangioma removed, as suggested by Dr. Fraulin. Her hemangioma wasn't involuting as quickly as they would have liked.
You may find the third photo below graphic. This is your warning. But, my first reaction yesterday when all her bandages were removed, when I first saw her scar was "it's beautiful". I teared up seeing her flat back for the first time. And without showing her scar, it is hard for others to understand how dramatic the change is.
This was taken yesterday before we headed to the hospital to have her bandages removed.
And this is my Grace taken last night. We still have a journey in front of us. She is wearing the compression bandage for the next three weeks, and we have to avoid places with lots of kids. But, we are on the healing journey.
Tonight, we are having a birthmark party. To celebrate the amazing change this sweet girl of ours is going through. I've made these (but with pink icing). There will also be pink balloons, and sparkling juice.
She's a brave brave girl. And I love her to bits.