Monday 12 December 2016

Birthmark Shmirthmark

When I was first wheeled down to the Neonatal unit, Harrison was in the HDU (High Dependancy Unit).  He was on a ventilator and seemed quite poorly. The doctors and nurses were all standing round his incubator mumbling to each other. One of the nurses introduced us as "Twin 2's parents". I hadn't even seen him yet, and the doctor looked at me with deep concern on face. My heart sunk. 'What could possibly be wrong?!' 'Was it his heart?' 
The doctor said that he needed to warn me that he had a large birthmark that was covering a significant amount of his body. I was envisaging a monster. They asked if they could have permission to take photos for medically investigation, as they've never seen one like that before. They said they would be referring him onto GOSH (Great Ormond Street Hospital), but it would likely be something he'd have forever. I could have cried my heart out. My poor baby! Especially when he'd always have his identical twin to compare himself to.

Then they wheeled me over to him. He wasn't a monster. Yes, he had a red mark on half his left foot, and some of his leg. Later they explain that his nappy covered the rest. I was nothing in my eyes. I didn't care. He was perfect. My perfect little human. I had made two perfect little humans!💙💜
This is a photo I took of his leg when I first saw him. I look at it, and think the doctors made all that fuss for that? We haven't ever hidden it. I bet you've never noticed it in our Instagram photos. It's already faded significantly, and tends to only flare up when he's upset.  I have done some research since leaving hospital, and Harry is so lucky. They are mainly found on peoples faces and necks.  

At the end of November, we had our referral appointment at GOSH. They took some photos, and confirmed it was a Port-Wine Strain that he'd have for life.

They then left us with a big parenting decision. At four he could be given laser treatment to his leg and foot via the NHS. Not for cosmetic reasons, but to prevent bleeding that is usually linked with this type of birth mark. He'd probably need 4-6 treatments over a year or so. The laser apparently feels like elastic bands being flung over and over at the skin, and feels very sore afterwards!

Of course it slit up as a couple. The hubby thinks if he has no bleeding issue then we should leave it be. Which I tend to agree with, but I don't want him turning around at 13 asking why we didn't do it. And just because it doesn't bother me, doesn't mean it won't bother him. I hated a mole I had on my forehead, and I had that removed when I was 12. I spent the whole of year 7, being picked on for it. Maybe if my parents had removed it earlier they could have protected me from that! The laser treatment can improve the colouration by up to 70%. I've googled before and after images, and they are brilliant. 

I still cringe when people strangers ask how have we not mixed them up already. I hate the fact it always comes up. We tend to say,'We put them in different colour socks.' But if I'm being honest, if it wasn't for his birthmark we probably would have got them confused. I feel bad. If they weren't twins, strangers wouldn't ask, and therefore they wouldn't know. 

At least we have a few more years to make the choice, and see if he has any medical problems with it first. I'd love to hear from people with birthmarks that may have had or not had the laser treatment. Is it worth it? 

I'll keep you posted!