Thursday, July 14, 2011


"Oh, what happened?"

"Does he have an owie (I have no idea how you spell that word)?"

"What is that (as they point at his head)?"

These are the most common comments that I get when I take Sully somewhere.  These comments are not confined to acquaintences but are extended from strangers of all ages.  At first it really bothered me and I felt self-concious about my baby (if that makes any sense).  In fact, I often stared at it, rubbed it, pressed on it in those first few weeks that it seemed to be growing so big so fast.  No, he was not born with it but it is still considered a "birthmark".  Here is a not so good pictoral documentary of the hemangiomas growth.

Three days old, the day we left the hospital

One week old

Two weeks old

Four weeks old

Five weeks old

Six weeks old

Three months old

Six months old

In the beginning, it was just a little red dot.  I thought it might have been from the internal monitor they had put on his head.  But the red mark never went away and it just got bigger and darker and then raised.  Once it started to raise, I knew what it was immediately.  I had seen them before on my cousin and my niece.  I also knew that it would eventually go away and that it was benign and did not hurt him. 

Here are some facts about hemangiomas:
-30% of hemangiomas are present at birth
-a hemangioma, aka strawberry birthmark, is an abnormal overgrowth of a collection of blood vessels
-they are not hereditary (although I question this as I had 2 cousins with them, one of Clayton's siblings had one and our niece had two of them)
-there is no known cause of hemangiomas they but are often seen in premature babies (I would not consider Sully premature but he did arrive 3 weeks early)
- it is not a result of any sort of trauma in the womb, during the birth or after the birth
-eventually the blood vessels stop growing and shrink down to normal size, causing the hemangioma to disappear
-50% of them are gone by the time the child is 5, 60% are gone by the time the child is 6, and so on
-hemangiomas grow the most during the first 8-12 months of life
-when the hemangioma is growing it will appear very cherry red and shiny and raised, when it is involuting it will appear paler in the center and flatten out and turn more purple in color
-hemangiomas are the most common birthmark in children
-they can range in size from small, like Sully's, to very large, encompassing most of the face
-they are most commonly found on the face, neck and trunk

Sully's hemangioma has not grown since he was about 6 weeks old.  It has gotten more purple in color and flattened somewhat so I think it is in the involution phase.  We have to be careful not to allow him to scratch it as it will bleed a lot from trauma from all the blood supply to that area.  It is so a part of him now, I could not imagine Sully being Sully without that hemangioma.  Since it is here to stay for a little while, I see it as an opportunity to educate others on hemagiomas.  Hope you all learned something!


aag said...

Thanks, Tara! I really learned a lot. But, I will continue to call the hemangioma Sully's cute spot, since I think it compliments his overall adorableness quite nicely.

Angel Baby Mama said...

I can't believe the things people say out loud!!!! Thanks for educating! My cousin had one as well, on her stomach and it did fade :)

Andria said...

I wonder about the heredity thing, too. I had several on my arms and chest. Gus has a very large on on his butt. We figure he'll use it as a pick-up line if it doesn't go away- "You want to see my birthmark?"

Candi said...

Yes, thank you Tara, very informative. And it amazes me how people can be so inquisitive and rude at the same time. But, now people that you have answered to are more knowledgeable to the Hemangioma and will maybe further educate others about them as well.....Keep up the blogging!