1. This is our youngest, Liam
  2. Liam has a hemangioma (a vascular birthmark which is a tumor made up of blood vessels)
    These are sometimes referred to as "strawberry marks"
  3. It's been there since birth
  4. They start out small and flat, grow rapidly for the first year of life, and then slowly start to go away (which is referred to as involution)
  5. 90% are gone by the time a kid reaches 9 years of age
  6. His pediatrician and dermatologist urged us to just wait and monitor its growth since it's not affecting his health
    These can grow so large that they can obstruct airways or damage organs depending on where they're located. There's a superficial part and a part that goes deeper under the surface.
  7. We agreed because 1) they're doctors and they know more about this than we do 2) we didn't want to put our kid through any painful/potentially traumatizing unnecessary procedures
  8. Our main concern has been the psychological effects that this could have on him
  9. We get asked about it constantly
    Because people are curious and they have no tact. My favorite question is "what's wrong with his face?"
  10. Right now it doesn't matter because he's oblivious but very soon he will start noticing that people notice.
    And the thought of him feeling embarrassed or different or something breaks my freaking heart
  11. Because he is the jolliest person I've ever met.
  12. Like, so happy and such a curious mind and just full of joy
  13. And I would very much like to keep it that way
  14. Three weeks ago he scratched his birthmark and it bled. And bled and bled and bled. We had to call an ambulance because we couldn't get it to stop.
  15. The bleeding stopped on the way to the hospital but started again in the exam room and three more times during the night.
  16. Imagine going in to get your baby and his crib looks like this:
  17. At this point it seems medically necessary to remove it, right? Apparently not.
  18. A couple weeks later we found a new dermatologist at Emory who strongly advised that we stick with the "wait and see" approach.
  19. The very next day the wound opened up again.
  20. This was what I found when I went to get him up from his nap:
  21. Guys