Chloe's story

Our daughter Chloe was born 17th July 2008 without a single mark on her body. When we left hospital a few days later the midwife said she had a 'stalk mark' on her head and nothing else was said. We thought nothing else of it as it was hardly noticeable. 

Within a few days the red mark had started to grow bigger and darker in colour, which we anxiously watched grow quite quickly. I went to my GP when Chloe was 6 weeks old to ask for a referral to a birthmark centre which we had read about online. The GP said no, it's just a birth mark and nothing to worry about. I left feeling very anxious and upset. 

Two weeks later I had my 8 week post-pregnancy check up with a different GP. Without even having to ask, noticing the mark he said he could refer Chloe to the local hospital if I wanted. By the time we got our appointment at the local hospital, Chloe's birthmark was very large, red, very dry, infected and scabby. The doctor we saw left us waiting a long time, and eventually appeared holding a book open on the relevant page. He wasn't very helpful and was rather rude, so we asked him to refer us to Great Ormond Street which he reluctantly did. He then just walked out of his office and left us sitting there. 

After spending months chasing Chloe's appointment, she was 6 months old by the time we got our long awaited appointment at Great Ormond Street Hospital with Professor Harper. By this time we were very concerned about her birthmark as it looked so aggressive. We could not have asked for a better service and we were given lots of reassurance. It was a shame it took such a long time to get Chloe seen by the right people. She was weighed, measured, photographed, and had her head scanned and checked, in case the birthmark was affecting brain blood flow. 

We were told she should have been given medication a long time ago by the GP to clear the infection/scab up so it didn't scar her, as that would ruin her hair follicles and stop her hair growing. She does have some minor scars where no hair will grow but it's not really noticeable. Professor Harper gave us medication to clear it up, which it did. He told us not to touch the scab and let it fall off by itself. We were told it was a strawberry haemangioma birthmark.

The birthmark was made up of lots and lots of blood vessels and Chloe could be at risk of knocking it which would make it bleed profusely. My husband did catch it with his watch one day when she was sat in her high chair and blood just ran down her like a river, my husband pressed down hard with a tea towel and it did stop after a few minutes. Chloe was eating at the time and somehow wasn't bothered by it at all, just concentrating on her next bite of food! 

Professor Harper was so reassuring that the birthmark would disappear, which I wasn't too sure about as it was so big. But by the time she was 6 months old it started to shrink, which is unusually quick. We had a lot of stares, good and bad comments by the public, but we really didn't care as we thought she was just beautiful.

Chloe is now nearly 4 years old and as you can see from the photos it has nearly disappeared. Chloe knows it's there and it doesn't bother her at all. Chloe has now been discharged from Great Ormond Street as both they and us are happy with her progress. They have told us eventually it will be virtually invisible.