Friday 18 November 2016

Conrad: Baby Strawberries

Before having my twins I never knew what the red marks people often call a strawberry or raspberry birthmark were?

Conrad was born "mark free". It wasn't until a few weeks after birth the small flat red mark on his arm started to grow and raise from the skin.
A month after birth a small mark started to appear on his forehead too.

Notice Conrad's hemangioma on his left arm, shortly after birth
These marks are called hemangiomas (pronounced he-man-jee-oh-muh). They are benign tumours of blood vessels that form a red mark. I've spoken to several pediatricians in the NICU and they explained the marks will grow for the first few months of life then will slowly get smaller and disappear in a few years time. They are more common in premature babies. Intervention can be done through laser therapy or medications, if the hemangioma is close to the eye it could impede vision or in the nose it could interfere with proper breathing function. If it was to get cut, it could bleed easier and longer. We will have to watch out for the one on Conrad's arm.

Hudson points out Conrad's hemangioma and calls it his boo boo. To him it looks like a cut on his forehead and his arm. I hope physical differences, as small as they can be, are embraced by others. In this day of age where children often are bullied and physical appearance is important, it is essential for me to teach my children about these differences and how they make us unique. 

The way I respond to my children's questions and model behaviour will affect the way they look at physical differences and disabilities and possibly how they treat others. These explanations should be age appropriate and explained using proper and simple terms. I won't always know the answers. If it is appropriate, perhaps we can ask questions, as the person may be open to explaining it to us, as I was with Hudson's helmet otherwise we can find the answer together. I was happy to explain why Hudson had a helmet when a parent wasn't quite sure themselves.  I hope I can teach my children about physical differences so they can accept and always include others and be comfortable with anyone they encounter. 

Conrad today
If the boys were closer in size the hemangioma would help us physically differentiate the boys! We love Conrad unconditionally and wouldn't change our smiley sweet boy. If the mark doesn't in fact go away, so be it. I honestly hardly notice Conrad's facial hemangioma anymore. I see the sweetest smile and bright blue eyes of my little fella! But in case you wondered about it, it's not a scratch, it's a hemangioma!

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