Elise's story

Elise was born 25th February 2012. She was 4 weeks early (induced labour) and weighed 5lbs 2 oz. We were discharged the next day but readmitted when she was 5 days old due to severe jaundice and suspected septicaemia. She was given phototherapy and antibiotics. At this point there was no sign of a birthmark. 

Back at home a week later, we noticed a small red mark on her head. We didn't think much of it but over the next week it seemed to swell. As she was still under paediatric care, I mentioned it at her next appointment. The doctor didn't seem concerned and said maybe she was turning into a unicorn! She asked another doctor for their opinion, they confirmed it was an haemangioma. He said not to worry unless it doubled in size within a week. 

It did. We were having regular appointments for Elise's other health issues (prolonged jaundice, craniosynostosis and low white/deformed blood cells) so we didn't have to wait for a referral. As it was in her soft spot and doctors became concerned it was either on or putting pressure on her brain. They then referred us for a scan. I was told there was a 6 week wait. I called up to make the appointment and said I could be there within minutes if anyone made a cancellation. The receptionist was very understanding (at me being an hysterical first time mum) and managed to fit us in that day. 

She had an ultrasound as they felt that would be adequate due to its location. Fortunately it was only in the outer layers of skin and not affecting her brain. It continued to grow but paediatrics were reluctant to treat it. I made an appointment with dermatology via my G.P. I had read about Timolol (topical beta blocker) and wanted to request it as treatment. I was worried about her knocking it when she became mobile. We went to the dermatologist (One hospital worker tried to direct us to A&E when they saw her head) and we left with a prescription for Timolol.

Within one week it had shrunk from 3cms high to just 1cm. It was over 4cms in diameter and it shrunk to 3cms. It continued to shrink over the next few months. There were no apparent side effects. 

Elise is now 8 months and no longer on Timolol. She has a very slight 'bump' left along with the strawberry nevus, which continues to fade on its own. 

The first few months of her life were a constant worry, it seemed to be one thing after another but worst of all was the stares and comments. People would constantly ask if we'd dropped her (including a doctor, 2 health visitors and a police officer!) People also thought we'd left her in the sun due to her prolonged jaundice. There's nothing like being asked if you've dropped your sunburnt baby on their head! 

Elise has remained happy throughout and no longer has any health issues. She's our beautiful bundle of joy. It was such a relief to find the Birthmark Support Group and talk to others in a similar situation. Hopefully sharing her story will raise awareness and help others.