Monday, August 8, 2011

Hemangioma...A Post For My Baby Girl.

When my daughter was born at 4:41pm that (freezing) cold November day, she was perfect. I want to say one more time...she was PERFECT. Chubby, beautiful, healthy. Wonderful exactly as she was made. Right after she was born they put her on my chest so we could have a little snuggle, and then they took her and wrapped her up so that Daddy could have a chance to meet his newest princess. As he was holding his baby girl, the nurses were talking with me as they were filling out their paperwork. I asked to nurse her, since it had been about 15 minutes since she'd been born, and while I was doing that, they asked me about the "birthmark" on her belly. Did anyone in my family have one? Did I? (During both of my pregnancies, I developed a huge brown mark around my belly button to go along with the dark line that went down the entire length of my belly.) I told them that my mark wasn't a birthmark, it would go away several months after my pregnancy was was the same thing that happened with the twins. The nurse said she thought it was something that "started with an H".
I knew exactly what it was, after she'd said that. I had JUST watched a video on YouTube the same night I went into labor (about two hours before), and it was called "The Birth And Death of a Hemangioma". I didn't even want to think about it, because my only experiences with the word "Hemangioma" was the video I had watched, and a little girl we know. (As it turns out, both were a different type.)
When she was born, it was just a little bit darker than her skin colour. Like a birthmark. It changed as time went on, and continues to.

Hemangioma at 1 month old.

As you can see, at a month old, it was starting to get pink. A hemangioma is an abnormal buildup of blood vessels in the skin or internal organs. In our daughter's case, she had what is called a "strawberry hemangioma". "Superficial or "strawberry" hemangiomas often are not treated. When they are allowed to disappear on their own, the result is usually normal-appearing skin. In some cases, a laser may be used to remove the small vessels."
Found HERE.

They are more common in girls than boys, and there is nothing a mother "did" during her pregnancy to cause it. As many as 10% of babies born will develop a hemangioma before a year old.

Hemangioma, 2 months old.

By two months old, it was turning the normal red (which is where it gets it's "strawberry" name from). You could clearly see the blood vessels in it, and when you pressed on it, you could see it turn pale, and then turn red again as blood flowed back into it. At this point, it was still flat and even with her skin.

Hemangioma, 3 months old.

By three months old, it was at it's worst. It was bright red, and raised off of her skin. It literally looked like someone had cut a thin piece of strawberry, and placed it on her belly. It never bothered her, and touching it didn't hurt her.

Hemangioma, 5 months old.

By five months old, it had almost flattened out again. It was starting to get areas that were lighter, as you can see from the photo.

Hemangioma, 8 months old.

Here we are at 8 months old. Her mark is not nearly as visible as it once was, and is still completely flat. Only the very top of it has a clearly obvious pink-ness to it, and it's hard to see the blood vessels in it. It seems like every day the areas that are flesh-coloured are getting larger, and the darker areas are getting smaller. However, if she is cold, it turns a light shade of purple. I think it always might, even if it gets to the point that it looks normal otherwise.

Strawberry hemangiomas are "superficial, and most hemangiomas often disappear on their own. About 50% go away by age 5, and 90% are gone by age 9." (Link HERE.)

About 30% of hemangiomas are present at birth, the rest appear in the first several months of life. (As in the YouTube video.)

Most hemangiomas are on the face, neck, or head.

There are several kinds of hemangiomas:

Superficial Hemangioma

Tumorous lesions that develop near the surface of an infant's skin are called superficial hemangiomas, explain medical experts with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Typically, superficial hemangiomas appear bright red in color and lie flat against the skin. Certain children can develop a superficial tumor called a strawberry hemangioma, which causes a raised, red lesion to appear across the skin.  (What my daughter has.)

Deep Hemangioma

A child who develops a hemangioma tumor within her muscles, internal organs or lower skin layers has a type of skin lesion called a deep hemangioma, according to health experts with Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. Deep hemangiomas may appear smooth across the skin's surface, but develop a blue or gray color. This type of hemangioma tumor may not be detectable until a child is several weeks or months old because it begins deep beneath the skin, explains Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. Once detected, a deep hemangioma can feel firm or rubbery to the touch.

Combined or Mixed Hemangioma

Children who develop hemangioma tumors within the upper skin layers as well as within their bodies, lower skin layers or muscles have combined or mixed hemangioma tumors, report Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center health professionals. The skin lesions exhibit characteristics of both superficial and deep hemangiomas and can appear red and blue in color. Combined or mixed hemangiomas can appear as flat or raised lesions across an infant's skin.(Taken from HERE.)

Hepatic hemangiomas

"Hemangioma is the most common benign tumor affecting the liver.  Hepatic hemangiomas are mesenchymal in origin and usually are solitary. Some authorities consider them to be benign congenital hamartomas.Hemangiomas are composed of masses of blood vessels that are atypical or irregular in arrangement and size. Etiology remains unknown." (Found HERE.)
"...are thought to be present in as many as 7% of healthy people. Hemangiomas are four to six times more common in women than in men. Female hormones may promote the formation and growth of hemangiomas. Hemangiomas, although referred to as tumors, are not malignant and do not become cancerous. Hemangiomas are not unique to the liver and can occur almost anywhere in the body." (Found HERE.)

More information on Hemangiomas found HERE, and HERE.

I wanted to post something about hemangiomas, just so that people don't think they're alone when their child has one.  It's something people don't really talk about, and I thought it was high time to inform people about them.  

1 comment:

  1. My friend's daughter has been getting Captopril treatment for her strawberry birthmark here in NZ. They have had really good results with it.