Just like my ezcema, I wondered if any of my children would have Hemangomias. Commonly known as strawberries, I was born with about 11 of them. Typically with hemangioma's more females then males have them, babies with low birth weight, and children of multiple gestations are prone to getting them. Most of the smaller ones disappear on their own without a trace. Some of the bigger ones leave what doctors refer to as a scar. Before Brook was born with them, I had no idea that the marks I had left from my Hemangomia's were scars or that they were supposed to go away. I also didn't know there were different types or that they sometimes "involute" and cause pain. The information parents were given thirty plus years ago versus the information parents are given today varies. Involuting is when the blood vessels start to collapse and dry up.
Let me start at the beginning...
Brook was born with a Congenital Hemangioma on her right shoulder, skin tags on her cheek near her ear, with a little extra cartilage on her right ear Tragus (google parts of the ear) and shortly after birth an Infantile Hemangioma appeared on her scalp.
Both Hemangioma's are full of nerve endings and blood. Once her shoulder birthmark started to involute, the doctor compared it to a skinned knee that was causing her pain and discomfort.
I now know that I was born with Infantile Hemangioma's and so was my twin sister. Some of them went away and others left a "scar".
Brook is the only one of my four children that has hemangioma's. Regarding the skin tags, some children are just born with them. Some in the medical field indicate there is some issue with the kidneys but her kidneys have been checked and deemed fine (you can google this as well).
Kind of like myself, Brook's hemangioma's didn't bother her and we really had no intention of removing them. Her skin tag on her cheek we planned to get removed at the appropriate age her pediatrician and plastic surgeon recommended. Usually this surgery would happen after a year of age especially since it's cosmetic and after she had all of her tetanus shots.
Rapidly involuting, partially involuting and noninvoluting are the various types of Congenital Hemangioma's. It appears that Brooks shoulder hemangioma is partially involuting. After leaving the NICU we noticed that she had a small hemangioma on her scalp which is kind of weird in a way because my twin sister also has one on her scalp. Funny story, I used to tell people that my sister and I were connected and that's where we got separated, people really believed that! Most of my hemangioma's did disappear but the larger ones are still visible, but just flatter and no longer red. One on my chest above my breast area, one on my arm and one on my thigh are what the doctors now refer to as hemangioma scars. They have basically just flattened out and become skin color versus the reddish strawberry.
One day I noticed that Brooks shoulder was causing her some pain and after looking closer, I noticed the center of her hemangioma was starting to get really dark like it was bruised. When I first contacted her doctor and trying to explain over the phone what was going on with her hemangioma, I believe they assumed it was something with her shoulder and not the hemangioma. Of course, after actually looking at it themselves they determined it was the hemangioma causing her pain. The blood vessels had started to collapse and the entire thing started involuting, which basically means it started to dry up and scab. Again, comparing it to a badly skinned knee, you can imagine as a baby, this really hurt. It's located on her shoulder, it's in a place where everything from the high chair to the car seat, to one of her sisters playing with her, could hurt her. It totally indicated how we fed her, how we held her, always making sure that we didn't brush up against her birthmark. There was even a point that she started to hold her head to one side in an attempt a get away from the pain. I knew something had to be done and I wanted her out of pain immediately. Thank goodness she has gone back to holding her head up straight which tells me she's not in the pain she was when it first started.
After going to the pediatrician, we got an expedited appointment for the dermatologist. Then after seeing the dermatologist, we got an expedited appointment for the pediatric plastic surgeon. The pediatric plastic surgeon determined that as soon as possible we need to get the shoulder hemangioma removed. It basically can continue to involute and cause her pain. The surgeon also determined, that while she is under the anesthesia they should remove the skin tags, shave down her Tragus and also remove the small hemangioma on her head. Although it wasn't causing her any pain, remove it as a preventative measure, not knowing if that one could too start to involute too. They decided it was in her best interest just to remove everything while she was under. The surgery itself shouldn't take more than two hours. After meeting with the doctor I felt a lot more confident that this actually needed to happen now versus waiting until she was a year old. The doctor himself said if she was his child he'd be doing this.
Since she is going under anesthesia there are some night before the procedure and day of the procedure instructions that we need to follow regarding food. She can't have any baby food or cereal after 11 PM Thursday. No formula past six hours before her surgery, breast milk up until three hours before her surgery and then up to two hours before her surgery it's clear liquids, water, apple juice, white grape juice. This is one of those times that I thank God that I have a frozen stash of breastmilk that I was holding onto to mix with their cereal. She'll at least be able to drink. We have to wait until the afternoon before the procedure to get our time to arrival at the hospital. The youngest patient goes first, so that really should be Brook since she's seven months old. I also wondered with all these precautions, do's and don'ts do they go by her adjusted age which would be five months or her actual age; and the nurse determined they follow her actual age.
While at the pediatric plastic surgeon's appointment the doctor said they want to do some genetic testing on me and possibly my sister just to gather as much information as possible while they can. They want to determine if there is any additional information, good or potentially bad that I may have that Brook also may have. My appointment won't be before Brooks surgery appointment, but it'll still serve a purpose. I'm completely there for gathering all the facts, especially if it's going to shed some light or help my child or other children. What I didn't know until I started reading more about it online, was that Hemangioma's are benign tumors. Very interesting that both of her birthmarks will get tested to determine what type it is. OK, enough of the medical jargon.
Kanon's favorite sister from the beginning has been Brook because of her "dots", as he refers to her skin tags. It's been the sweetest relationship. He's been drawn to her more because she was different. Whether or not he was being empathetic or just himself, I asked if she'd still be his favorite and he said yes. He'll still love her.
What is Brook going to look like, and how will we tell her apart after the surgery. Well, aside from her personality, I think she's going to look more like Bailey in my opinion and instead of birthmarks and skin tags she may have small scars. Even though a plastic surgeon is doing the procedure, this doesn't mean there won't be scars. Genetics and time will tell, how she heals, so at this point, we'll say a prayer and leave it in Gods hands.
An update post to follow, on how our day went and the results! Visit my You Tube channel to see Brook and get a visual of her birthmarks and skin tags!
~ Truly Karae