Strawberry Patch

For the first two months of Evy’s life, I thought she had a blister on her upper lip from nursing. My “What to Expect the First Year” book assured me that nursing blisters are common and not painful for the baby, so I didn’t think twice about it. Then we visited my husband’s family, which consists of a bunch of doctors and other highly educated individuals, and his cousin who happens to be a pediatrician mentioned that Evy’s blister might, in fact, be a hemangioma.

This word brought visions of my Anatomy and Physiology flashcards to mind.

oma: suffix meaning “tumor”

mick: name of new mother that wasn’t worried, now very worried

She saw the flicker of panic in my eyes and broadened her description. It’s actually a birthmark that occurs often on Caucasian infants. Sometimes people call it a “Strawberry Patch.”

According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, a hemangioma is a “birthmark that appears as a bright red patch or a nodule of extra blood vessels in the skin. It grows during the first year of life, and then recedes over time.”

After reading this, I was adequately mollified. Plus, I heard from my mom that I had one on my forehead soon after being born. Evy’s so lucky she has it on her lips. She has a constant pout that rivals Angelina’s. I almost hope for her sake that it doesn’t recede.

Once I started explaining to people that Evy’s lip had a birthmark, lots of people told me stories of how they had one or someone they knew had one.

One of those stories makes me smile every time I notice Evy’s pouty lip. My cousin Courtney had a large hemangioma on her belly until she was about five years old. Her older sister was telling me how Courtney would meet people and, soon after being introduced, lift up her shirt and proudly show off her Strawberry Patch. She’d walk around the house topless, flaunting her birthmark to her three sans-strawberry-patch siblings. Cami, her sister, told me how jealous she became of Courtney.

“I wanted a Strawberry Patch so bad!”

Courtney gloated about her special mark until it disappeared.

I don’t know how Courtney came to believe that her birthmark made her special. It might have been my aunt Lauri convincing her it was something to be proud of, or it may have been something Courtney believed herself.

I love this story though and I hope that when Evy finds something unusual about herself I can promote this kind of thinking in her.

A mark of distinction rather than an imperfection.

How could she not be proud of these puckers?



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