Monday, May 18, 2009

Colin's Strawberry Birthmark - Strawberry Hemangioma



At about one week old, Colin developed what looked like a scrape on the side of his head, towards the back. It was a little pinkish-red and about the size of a dime, slightly oblong. The babies were still in the NICU at the time, so we initially thought maybe he had just scraped his head by accident during a changing or feeding or something like that... and fully expected it to heal up.

But it became more red and eventually it started to become raised off his skin and we realized he had a Strawberry Birthmark, or Strawberry Hemangioma. It's even shaped like a strawberry, for extra effect.



About Strawberry Birthmarks...
Strawberry Hemangiamas are a "collection of cells that make up tiny blood vessels. Strawberry hemangiomas, while they are technically birth marks, are often not noticed at birth. In fact, they usually do not become obvious until the first few weeks of life. These occur more often in females than males and are more commonly seen in Caucasian infants (10%) than in other racial groups (1%).

After an initial growth phase, it's size only increases in proportion to the child's normal growth. Then over the next several years, the red color of the hemangioma begins to fade the mark dissolves away. Most of the time, there is little if any mark left behind. Strawberry hemangiomas completely resolve in 50 percent of children by age five and 70 percent by age seven. The rest show gradual fading completed by the time they reach the teenage years." (from parenting.ivillage.com)
It grew a little bit as he grew, but quickly stopped and started to become smaller (compared to his huge head - it's like an orange on a toothpick!) and now it's just hanging around there. There is nothing we want to do about it, we just hope it gets smaller - and that eventually his hair comes in and covers it up! There are laser treatments but those are generally reserved for Strawberry Birthmarks that cause physical pain or problems... Colin doesn't even know it's there.

Really, it doesn't bother us at all. What does bother us is that people notice it on him right away if he's not wearing a hat. People say things like "what's he got?" and later, after they've seen him once, they'll ask "how's his head?" His head is fine, it's just a birthmark. Especially little kids, they'll immediately say "what's that?" or something to that effect - but they are kids. Clearly it stands out as often the first thing people notice on him.

So, we hope it gets covered up by luxurious hair sometime soon and we know it could be much worse. If this and reflux are going to be the extent of his "health problems", we couldn't be happier.

14 comments:

Mommy, Esq. said...

I've seen that on other kids and wondered what it was (but didn't ask of course).

Sotorrific Twins said...

my sebastian has one on his side and my sisters and i all had them, too. mine's totally faded away but the skin where it was still feels kinda funny.

Just Kristen said...

Well...people are just ...well, people! I think it is kind of obvious it is a birthmark (although I didn't know they normally faded, that's cool!) He will eventually have loads of hair to cover it....I want to be encouraging but mine are still pretty sparse on top at 11 months!

Boston Chef said...

yeah, we're probably being a bit too harsh... at this point we just tell people right off the bat when they meet him "this is his strawberry birthmark" and get it out of the way!

Ava is starting to grow some dark hair, hopefully Colin's starts soon too!

Sotorrific Twins: do you mean it feels funny on you or feels funny to the touch?

koko said...

Our daughter Klara has one as well, her strawberry mark is raised and is on the top of her head. It looks like a red power button. I get the same reaction from little kids and people. People don't know any better. I now too just mention at the start before people have a chance to ask that it is a birthmark and that it is harmless and will regress with

koko said...

time. However, the whole experience has made me more sentitive to persons with real disabilities and their feelings when they receive odd stares or comments.

Janice said...

My daughter Mia has one on her shoulder. It's about the size of
a quarter but it has a really large
stock holding it up. We have an appointment with a specialist next month. Our pedi is worried that she will hit it and bleed. People
stare at her all the time. I was covering it up all the time but now
I don't care. Let them look. I was recently at a amusement park and I was annoyed because people were staring so much when I noticed
a little boy that I found to glance
over at. To my shock he had a t-shirt on that said if you stare any longer I might just do a trick for you. I guess I was guilty of noticing someone that was different.

Andy said...

My six month old son, Julian, has a Strawberry birthmark on his forehead. We get the question constantly. I vary in my responses. Usually I say "it's where his mommy dropped him last night" or "it's the reset button", when I'm really pissed about it I try to flip it around with "his horns are starting to grow out, but why hasn't your kid's grown yet?"

Naturally at six months he has no concept that it's even there, but we plan to tell him when he asks about it, that it is where mommy kissed him when he was born, but mommy forgot she was wearing lipstick.

We've been suggested like everyone's else's Peditrician to wait it out, but my wife and I are both worried about school. Kids can be pretty damn cruel. We'll just have to wait and see if it goes away by then and hopefully kids will have been taught proper manners.

SixFoot said...

I am a twin and was born with 5 strawberry hemangiomas and my twin was born with one. All but one of mine disapated as I grew, the one on my temple barely noticable just soft skin, one on my back, one on my hip, one on the bottom of a toe and one on my arm right where it bends. The one on my arm did not get smaller as I grew so I had plastic surgery to have it removed. My twin had one on the back of her head just as your baby does, you would never know she had one. Don't worry your sweet baby's hemangioma will disapate as he grows hair does grow over and it will just remain a extremely soft spot on his head, soft skin, just like baby skin.

SixFoot said...

Kids are mean, the reason I had mine removed was due to the children I went to school with laughing at me all the time. My parents were told it should disepate as the other four did. When I was around 10 and it hadn't gotten any smaller my parents talked to me about having it removed and I did. I'm glad I did the strawberry hemangioma was about the size of the top of a coke can it was huge, especially compared to the others that I had.
Other kids just didn't understand what it was, kids can be quite horrible. My mom use to tell me that it was from angel kisses. It bothered other people more than it bothered me until the teasing began. As an adult now no one teases me about the others, they where smaller about the size of a half dollar and there is some mark left but barely noticable. You just tell that sweet baby that the angels loved him so much they kissed him and left a mark.

Jennie said...

My son has a hemangioma that looks exactly like your son's - even in the same spot! He's 7 wks. Ha your son's gotten bigger/smaller? I'd like to know how he progresses with it.

Boston Chef said...

Hey Jennie! They are 15 months now and Colin's birthmark has faded considerably... it is flat on his head now (doesn't "stick out" anymore) and has gone from bright red to more of a dull brown/red.

He has some hair - not too much - and even that little bit of hair further hides it. We really don't notice it anymore and neither do most other people!

Good luck!

nanred said...

my daughter had a strawberry just like your son, however, hers did not fade until she was between 10 and 11 years old.. Now it is very tender and cannot be touched. (she is 16). I too had been asked those same questions and she was stared at like she was in a freak show. The trouble was that she had fine blond hair so it stood out (the size of a bottle cap) for her elementary school years. I am glad to hear your sons is fading early.

Lisa said...

My daughter also has a small one, but hers is right in her hairline in the front. Will hair grow there after it fades and goes down? I'm worried it will affect her hairline...