Kaitlin’s Haemangioma Story
My name is Gemma, I’m 31, live in Kent in England and I am a very proud mother of 3 children, a girl and two boys.
I was very young when I found out I was pregnant with my first baby, 17 in fact, so I felt like I had a lot to prove to everyone. I embraced pregnancy and enjoyed every second of it. My daughter Kaitlin was born at 38 weeks on the 13th December 2003 and I thought I knew all there was to know about parenting. How couldn’t I, I’d just spent the last 9 months reading every single book about parenthood? Well how wrong I was…
Discovering the Haemangioma
After bathing my daughter for the first time (this was about a week after birth) I noticed a small pin prick sized spot on the side of her head. I dismissed it and thought was just a blemish from birth. A few days on and I thought it seemed to be growing so I went to my docs who said there was no concern and it was just markings from birth. Panic over I thought. But as the days and weeks went on it was growing in size, by 2 weeks of age it was the size of a five pence piece and flat to her head. It continued to grow and raise and became bobbly and change in colour so at her 6 week check I thought I’d ask the GP again.
Confirming it was a ‘Strawberry’
No sooner had I walked in the door the GP said so calmly: “Oh she has a haemangioma.” I was shocked. “She has a what, sorry?” was my reply. Again calmly he told me it was a strawberry birth mark, that they were common and they’re nothing to worry about. He then showed me pictures of them on his computer and told me it would grow more and change in colour, almost like the cycle of a strawberry, then it would fade in colour and should disappear by the age of 2. The GP said to be very careful not to catch it with anything and cause it to bleed, as if this was to happen a trip to A&E would be needed.
Living with Kaitlin’s Mark
As Kaitlin grew so did her strawberry mark and has had to endure endless looks of horror from strangers and people pointing and staring. This was very upsetting for me at the time but I soon learned to ignore it as I didn’t see Kaitlin with her strawberry mark I just saw a happy beautiful girl. I would have explained to people what it was if they had only asked and not looked on like she was a freak show.
Supporting Other Parents
When Kaitlin was about 10 months old I took her to a soft play and there was a little girl in her mum’s arms and she also had a strawberry mark, which was on her forehead. I noticed it and smiled at the mum, she was quite cross: “It’s a haemangioma!!” she said. My reply was again a smile and I spun Kaitlin round so she could see my daughter’s strawberry on her head. She looked so happy that I wasn’t there to stare or judge but just to be accepting. We sat and chatted and swapped our stories and from that day on a look or comment from strangers never bothered me again.
What Happened to her Haemangioma?
When Kaitlin reached 2 years of age the mark had changed to a deep purple colour and by the time she reached 3 the strawberry had completely gone just as the GP had said. I wish I could have been more aware of haemangiomas at the time so I hope by sharing my story I can help people to be a bit more aware.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story
Thank you Gemma for sharing Kaitlin’s haemangioma story. Gemma can be found on Instagram: @gbgirlxoxo
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