August 26, 2013

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This is a post I’ve been hesitant to write for some time, as it involves my most precious little person whom I always want to protect from everything, really. But, I figure addressing it is better than not. It’s hardly a big deal, but I’ve received a few inquiries, so I thought a post was in order.

By now, you’ve likely noticed the red mark on the lower side of Ruby’s right cheek. And you’ve likely wondered what it is. It’s called a hemangioma. A whaty-what? A hemangioma (we call it “mangi” around here) is a gathering of blood vessels. It’s very common in babies. She wasn’t born with it, like a birth mark. I first noticed a tiny red dot on Ruby’s cheek when she was about a month old. What was it? Chicken pox? An allergic reaction (she has a dairy allergy)? She has quite a few of them– tiny little things. A few on her fingers, two on her back, one on her head… but unfortunately, the only one that has grown has been the one in the most visible spot. Because she has several, our doctor suggested we go to a children’s hospital to have an ultrasound on her internal organs when she was about 3 months, just to make sure there weren’t any growing inside that could cause problems. But nope. None in there, thank goodness. Just a more prominent one on her face. We have deemed it “Ruby’s Ruby.”

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So, what can be done about a hemangioma? They typically grow until they hit a certain point (usually age 1), then start reversing all on their own and go away. All by themselves. But, they can take a long time. She could have it until she is as old as 9. You can have them removed, but there is a chance of a scar. We have gone to see a pediatric dermatologist, but I wasn’t thrilled with her, so we are currently looking for another doctor for a second opinion. I don’t know what we will ultimately decide– to let it just do its thang, or have it removed.

The truth is, it drives me a little crazy. Not because I notice it’s there. We barely see it. But because other people do. I’ve had more strangers than I can count ask me “what happened to her face.” A lot of kids, which I of course understand is just their curiosity, and I don’t mind answering their inquiries. I had an employee at a grocery store grab her face and try to wipe it off. And then I karate chopped her right in the crotch. Not really, but I wanted to. Again, I know this is such a small thing, but I want people to see only how beautiful she is. How funny, and sweet, and pure my Ruby is. Not be concerned she has some sore on her cheek. Another employee (same grocery store– sensitivity training, anyone?) ask me very loudly on a crowded isle if my daughter had a boil on her face. Seriously people?

Well, there you have it. Wonder no more. She doesn’t seem to mind it, and so we don’t really either. Except when strangers try to wipe it off her face (come on, who touches someone else’s child without permission?!?). Then I have to restrain myself from going all kung-foo.

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  1. Oh Jen, I am so sorry. I think as mothers all we want is to see our baby’s with perfect everything…perfect limbs, face, organs, etc…we don’t want to think about anything that might make them perceived as “different”, for fear that they will one day become self-conscious, or deal with ridicule. I will admit, when I first started reading your blog, I noticed the “ruby” on precious Ruby, but I dared not invade on the privacy of a stranger, nor seek to offend, because I know that it might be a sensitive subject, or for all I know, it could have been something serious…and bottom line: it was none of my business. I figured you’d share it here on the blog if you ever felt the need to…and well. here you did. I can’t believe some adults these days – they have no tact, no consideration for others. I don’t know why people don’t stop themselves and think they should just not open their mouth at all. Children, of course, are exempt on that…but adults should know better. I’m sure it will all turn out fine and the most important thing is that it has no cause for alarm and she is perfectly healthy. xoxo

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think she is one of the cutest baby’s I have seen and I love her cute little smile.

  3. Maggie Nichols says:

    Jen, Your sweet baby Ruby IS beautiful~ AND perfect~ AND special! Those are “Angel Kisses” and you can enlighten the ignorant people of that!

  4. Ashleigh Avery says:

    Jen-Ruby is absolutely precious and her smile melts my heart. She is one lucky little girl to have you for her Mama! πŸ™‚ I’m sorry people can be so insensitive and ignorant at times. Ignore them and just know you have the sweetest, most beaatuiful little girl on the inside and out.

  5. Erica says:

    This was beautifully written, Jen! Ruby is perfection : )

  6. Rochelle says:

    She is just precious! My daughter also developed a “mangi” after about 2 weeks old. Her’s was on her elbow and of course I freaked out not knowing what it was. She is almost 5 and it is completely gone. I noticed around 3 or so it started to shrink. It probably took about a year to go away. So sorry people give you a hard time. My oldest son had to wear a helmet for a flat head….oh the comments and states we got! Taught me a great lesson to teach children and adults how to be curious in a kind way.

  7. Jackie says:

    Such a beautiful baby! I actually had a hemangioma pop up on my tummy while I was pregnant with my first baby. It grew to about the size of an eraser on a pencil. After I gave birth, I considered having it removed, but decided to wait. Three months after delivery, it was completely gone! I can only sometimes find the tiny mark it left. Wishing the best for sweet Ruby! And that people will be more sensitive about her ‘ruby’.

  8. Wendy says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only mom who has thought of Karate chopping a stranger! But in all seriousness, Ruby is a gem. You can see the love in her eyes when she smiles- not the “mangi.” She’s a beautiful babe just like her mama.

  9. Jessica Ross says:

    My sister, Ashleigh Avery introduced me to your blog and I’m so grateful she did! I love reading all your posts but the ones about your sweet babe are my faves! She is the most beautiful baby and her happiness just glows! Thank you for sharing your life, and I don’t think anyone wouldn’t have your back for doing done karate chops!


  10. Brandie Evans says:

    First let me just say I have been following your blog for some time and I love it. I was introduced to your work by your True Birds cousins whom I went to school with. Our daughters are just about a month apart in age so I love reading about your little lady and seeing how you relate to being a working mom. Thank you for writing today’s post. My daughter too developed this very same thing at nearly the very same time. Her hemangioma is on the back of her head and because our little princess has no hair everyone always asks what happened to her and just like you my defenses immediately come up. Thank you for putting into words what I feel almost every day. Your daughter is beautiful and because you make her feel that way each and every day I know she will feel that way each and every day.

    • Jen says:

      Thank you so much, Brandie! I just love those twins. It’s neat to hear from other mothers who have gone through the same thing. xx

  11. rachel says:

    Is it time to admit that I blog stalk you? We went to CVMS together and had classes together. I am a regular KSL news watcher and automatically recognized you and somehow stumbled on your blog, maybe via pinterest.

    Both my boys were born with club feet and we also had a million people asking us what happened to our infant, like we broke their legs on purpose or something! My husband even wrote it on the bottom of one of their casts with a sharpie so people could figure it out on their own. Super Annoying!

    Anyways, I’ve always thought your RUby was a gorgeous girl and I love your blog!

    • Jen says:

      Rachel, this is awesome! What’s your maiden name? And thank you for following my career– bless you! I love the sharpie solution. Shall I have Miss Ruby wear a shirt with an arrow pointing up and an explanation? πŸ˜‰ Anywho, thanks for reading! xx

      • rachel says:

        Johnson. I was friends with Carrie Lybbert and Angela Carson. I think we had technology and dance together but time may have clouded my memory πŸ™‚

  12. Julie says:

    That is SO interesting. I follow you on instagram and have followed your blog for a while, and honestly…I have NEVER noticed it. I had to go back to the photo to see what you were talking about! I guess all I had ever noticed was her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes! Don’t let the comments of others drive you too crazy…at the end of the day, all that matters is that she is happy and healthy!

  13. Katie says:

    Ruby is one of the most absolutely precious little ones I have ever seen and she is one lucky girl to have a mama like you. Sending love to you both from Dubai!!

  14. Angela Smith says:

    She’s basically one of the prettiest, cutest, sweetest, little punkins I’ve EVER seen!! Nothing could ever take away from that. And her laugh, shoot me now, it’s too die for!! I’ve never met her in person, but I love that little lady! It’s fun to see her and my little Walker doing the same types of things since they are so close in age. πŸ™‚

  15. Renee says:

    Ruby is absolutely beautiful! And I find Ruby’s ruby a precious name. Having had two beautiful baby girls with hemangiomas on their head – my first had hers on to of her head and my second has hers on top of her head and on her eye – I get you! I found people’s reactions and comments insensitive and often plain ignorant. What matters is Ruby, you, and your family. You will make the best decision for Ruby and your family. I do hope you find a pediatric dermatologist that you like. We had a fantastic one in Chicagoland.

    Wishing you the best!

  16. Robyn says:

    It’s hard to image anyone noticing her Ruby with those bright eyes and that pretty smile!

  17. Claire says:

    My 22 month old also has a hemangioma low on her left cheek that started to show at two weeks old. And I had to laugh at your grocery store comments because I have been there and done that too. I had one guy tell me that my daughter had jam on her face. I even had a photographer who took some pictures of my daughter at 6 months completely edit the hemangioma off her face when she gave me the pics! I told her (politely) to put the mark back on her face for my copies of the pics. It is part of her and it didn’t even look like my daughter without it.

    • Jen says:

      Oh people. I’ve had the “jam” comment before too. Yes, it’s completely practical to feed a 3 month old jam, right? And good for you with the photographer! It’s a part of them– why would we want it gone? xx

  18. Christina says:

    Hi Jen,

    I’ve never really commented on a blog before. I just saw your post about Ruby. My boyfriend’s daughter Ava was born with the same thing. Her’s had become quite large and was not getting smaller. They chose to have it removed when she was a little over two years of age. Now she has just a small scar underneath her chin which is barely visible at all. She is a beautiful little girl and was a beautiful baby as well just like your little Ruby.

  19. Sara says:

    She is absolutely beautiful! Love your blog & seeing posts of your little one! My little girl is almost 14 months, so it’s fun to see the similarities πŸ™‚

  20. I was a little disappointing to read “just kidding” after the karate chop remark. Totally justified, and something I’d do.

    Love you and your sweet beautiful Ruby.

    Visiting Utah in a couple weeks. We’ll hafta do a playdate!

  21. Sarah says:

    ‘Ruby’s Ruby’ is such a sweet nickname- she’ll love that when she gets older. With those eyes it’s hard to notice anything else!

  22. Jana Francis says:

    I feel your pain! My little Jane (now 7) has a great big WART right in the middle of her forehead. People ask everywhere we go “why don’t you get that removed” but our ped says not to because she will get a giant scar with such young skin and it will most likely come back. Sigh!

  23. […] next day, my baby girl, my sweet Ruby, was put under anesthesia as a surgeon removed her hemangioma. It was a relatively minor procedure and I know she was in the very best care, but as the nurses […]

  24. I just read your post about Ruby’s surgery- I’m so glad she is doing well. I clicked over to read about your experience with her hemangioma as my son has a couple as well. They first appeared just as Ruby’s did, about a month after he was born. One on the outside corner of his eye and another below the skin on the side of his nose (next to the same eye). They grew rapidly, especially the one under his skin. It got to be almost gold ball sized and he looked deformed. It made me so sad the way people would stare at him and ask what was wrong with his face. He ended up taking medicine that helped shrink both of them down. Now they aren’t very noticeable (he’s 3 now) but sometimes people will still see the one next to his eye and ask what it is. Anyway I loved reading your post about it because you articulated a lot of my feelings. Thanks so much for sharing. And your daughter is BEAUTIFUL!!

    • Jen says:

      Thank you so much, Brooke! So sorry to hear about your experience. It’s so frustrating, isn’t it? Glad to hear the medication worked for you guys. We opted not to try it, as Ruby’s was relatively small and the potential side effects frightened me. But I’ve heard it has great success for larger hemangiomas. Thrilled it helped your sweet son! xx

  25. Candice says:

    Some people are morons.

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