Let's start from the basics: a "strawberry" is just a nickname. The real name is a capillary hemangioma. Basically, it's a collection of blood vessels located on the top layer of the skin. They are called "strawberries" because of their bright red color. Although, some that form on deeper layers of the skin can be blue or colorless.
Here are some interesting facts that I've found:
-They occur in about 10% of all births. We know several children that have them (4 off the top of my head).
-83% of all capillary hemangiomas are found on the head or neck area.
-They occur 5 times more often in females than males.
-White infants and premature infants are more likely to get them.
-Most babies are not born with them (LL wasn't) and they appear 1-4 weeks after birth.
-They usually stop growing at 6-9 months of age.
-Most doctors will not do anything about them unless they are blocking a child's airway or hindering their vision.
-Some will disappear by 2 years of age. 60% will disappear by 5 years of age. 90-95% of them will disappear by 9 years of age.
Now on to LL's story. At birth, she had no visible birthmark except for a stork bite at the back of her neck, but it was very small. The picture below is one of the only ones that we have of her without her strawberry!
Birth - February 2009
About a week after she was born, we noticed something on her right shoulder, near her collarbone. It was red, but not raised, and looked more like a bruise. We thought that we might have just pinched her in the car seat on accident. When it didn't go away, we did a little research and pretty much figured out what it was. In the picture below, it is kind of hard to see it, but if you look closely, it's there.
February 2009 - 3 Weeks
When we went to the doctor for her one month check-up, they confirmed that it was indeed a strawberry hemangomia. They said that there was really nothing that we could do; it would grow and then eventually go away on it's own.
March 2009 - 1 month old
This is the point in time where it really started growing. This is also when it started "raising up" off of her skin.
April 2009 - 2 months old
In the next picture, you can really tell how red it really is. It had a very bright quality to it. At first, I was kind of upset about it. But very quickly in, I realized that things could be a WHOLE LOT worse. I mean, it wasn't cancer. It wasn't anything that effected her health. And, praise God, it wasn't on her face. When I was pregnant, I was always terrified that she would have something on her face. I was really worried about one of those port-wine stains. I have a very large birthmark on my back, and I've always hated it. It is something that I've never wanted for my children. With this, I very quickly got over all of those fears.
May 2009 - 3 months old
June 2009 - 4 months old
See how very red it is?
At about 8 months old, it really had stopped growing. This is also the point where it stopped being quite so red, and started to get a "silver" quality to it. You can really see that in the next picture. Also, at this point it is very raised off of her skin.
October 2009 - 8 months old.
At this point, it is most definitely done growing. It still has the same "silvery" quality to it.
February 2010 - 1 year old
May 2010 - 15 months old
After her one year appointment, we had to change pediatricians. For her 18 month appointment
(August), we saw our new pediatrician. She did something that our previous pedi didn't do - she measured it! At 18 months, it was measuring 3 1/2 cm. The next picture was taken the day it was measured.
August 2010 - 18 months old
At our 2 year well baby check, our pediatrician measured it again. After just 6 months, it measured 3 cm! That means that it shrunk 1/2 cm. That's not a bad measurement. It's hard to tell in pictures, but I can really tell in person. You can actually see the size that it used to be and how much it has shrunk.
March 2011 - 2 years old (25 months)
We don't have another appointment until she's 3 years old. I'm sure I could attempt to measure it myself, but I've never tried. We're really to the point where I don't even notice it anymore. I don't think our close friends or family do anymore, either. We don't ever have any problems out of it. She knows that it's there. We catch her playing with it sometimes and have to remind her to leave it alone - it could bleed a lot if she were to break the skin on it. It is cute, though, because if you ask her where her strawberry is, she'll reach up and touch it. Overall, we really don't make a big deal about it. Sometimes kids will tell us that she's bleeding or ask us what it is. I don't mind that at all. I'd rather them ask then just stare and be rude. I do get pretty upset when kids act weird around her because of it. Or if they act like something is wrong with her. That doesn't really happen that often though. It did happen a few months ago, and you can read about how if felt about it in this post.
June 2011 - 28 months (present time)
This is just a part of who my little girl is! I do think that it will be strange when it's not there anymore. I wonder if I'll really even notice, though? Only time will tell!