Noun: A benign tumor of blood vessels.
Today was Elle’s six-week doctor’s appointment with Dr. Haddad, who I very much trust and enjoy. I figured she was getting shots – I was wrong, just one shot, the second of three Hep-B vaccines – and from reading up online, that she would just get a general once-over to make sure she was developing properly.
And, that is what happened.
When she got the shot, she cried a cry I hadn’t heard before and it broke my heart (though I did not cry). It was a cry of pain, that she was hurt…and I was glad to know that she doesn’t cry like that for us…only when she’s hungry or got a wet diaper.
My only question for the doctor was regarding the spot on Elle’s forehead, above her left eye, that he said at week one that was a stork bite and would fade away.
However, it has progressively gotten redder and even purplish at some parts and it seems to have gotten slightly larger over time. And then, it started getting puffy.
And while I figure that it’s fine – truth be told, I don’t really notice it on her until someone points it out or asks what it is – I wanted to ask the doctor.
Turns out, it’s a Hemangioma or ‘Strawberry’.
It will continue to get bigger over the next many months, then it will stop growing and then it will fade over time. Some research says 50% are gone by age 5 and nearly 100% fade by the age of 10. However, the doctor today told me it would be gone by the time she was 2. Either way, my only concern was that it wasn’t something serious to worry about and that it wouldn’t be something that, when she comes to be ready for school, that she would get made fun of for having.
From what he told me and what I’ve read, I don’t have that to worry about and if she were to still have it when school time comes around, they can laser remove it and do some other things to remove it without leaving any scarring at all…which is also good to know.
Some people – I will not name names – of our extended family seem to be dwelling on it and are being a little bit rotten with what they’ve said. Like “Well, I hope she doesn’t have it forever” or “You need to get that taken care of”. As though we haven’t consulted our physician. As though we don’t see her and make sure she’s safe and happy and healthy EVERY. DAY. Isn’t family supposed to be supportive? I’m learning that’s not always the case…
I recognize I may be sensitive on this particular item, but when I say ‘oh, the doctor says it’s a stork bite and will go away’ and you continue to harp on the topic…that bothers me. And I’ve got relatively thick skin…
I did ask the doctor for one thing, though, when we were discussing the hemangioma (which, by the way, the doctor’s daughter also had one and it was gone by the age of two) and that was: Can you give me some words to use when people say “What happened to her head?” or “What is that?” or “Will it go away?” and he was adamant and awesome in his response:
“You tell them that the doctor said it’s a mark from birth, nothing to worry about and it will go away by the time she is two.”
He was serious and re-iterated this statement again. I think having had a daughter with the same thing made him quite prepared with those words, but I liked that he really knew what I meant when I asked that question.
In wrapping this post up, I almost just typed ‘of course I wish that Elle’s perfection fit into other people’s views of perfection’ and realized that if I said that out loud, I’d vomit. I want Elle to be JUST EXACTLY who she is. She’s got a birthmark that’s more red and more prominent than others…but it’s who she IS. Baby, she was born this way (to quote Lady Gaga). She is perfect just like she is…and whether this fades on its own, we make a decision to medically intervene to help it fade, or just let her live with it, we’ll do that with her very best interests at heart to help her be EXACTLY who she is…and perfect at that.