In August, S developed a little red spot on his right cheek, near his eye. You can just barely see it on the left side in this picture, taken August 6th. That little spot on the apple of his cheek. It was red, round and flat against his skin, not raised.
It stayed small for quite a while. By October first, it was a little larger, but not much. Here is another picture, for reference:
By November 18th, more than three months after the spot first appeared, it was getting a lot bigger.
Of course, this was the week before Thanksgiving and everything was crazy. We were preparing to leave for Ohio to visit family for a week, so I planned to get an appointment when we got home. I waited too long, however.
While in Ohio, the spot started getting larger and looking strained, like it was growing too fast and filling up. On Thanksgiving Day (naturally) I was cleaning S's face after he ate dessert and saw what looked like chocolate on the spot. I wiped it a little more and it started pouring blood! Not a fun thing to see on your baby! We rushed him to the bathroom, cleaned him up and fashioned a bandage to stop the bleeding and keep it covered. Takes a little finagling to make grown up gauze and tape fit a tiny face without getting in his eyes, covering his nose or getting too close to his mouth. Daddy held him while we opened presents (we do Christmas with my sister-in-law's family then since that's when we're all together) and S was pretty worn out and quiet for a while. He cried about the cleaning and bandaging, but I think it was mostly because he didn't want to be restrained and didn't quite understand.
I called the pediatrician in the car and got an appointment for the next morning. Had to find a baby-sitter for K next, because he freaks out whenever something is happening to his brother. It's very sweet how much he cares about S, actually. The triage nurse thought it was something that was essentially a bundle of veins that break the surface of the skin, but I can't remember the name she gave it.
The pediatrician didn't seem to know what it was when he saw it and referred us to a plastic surgeon. Because it was on S's face, they wanted someone with very specific skills to take care of it. We saw him that night and finally got a diagnosis: pyogenic granuloma. It is caused by some kind of injury, either surface or something that pierced the skin. Then the blood begins to pool in the area and increases. This is his face right after taking the bandage off to show the surgeon (on November 29, if you are keeping track of the timeline):
It had finally stopped bleeding (we had to keep changing the bandage and using a lot of gauze for two days before). You can see it was still raised, but this was honestly about 1/3 the size it was before it broke! The plastic surgeon had to shoot novocaine into S's cheek (definitely the worst part for S) to numb it. I held his body down, the nurse held his head, and the surgeon then cut the bump off with a scalpel and cauterized it with silver nitrate (which comes on a stick that looks like a large, gray tipped match). They put a band-aid on it and we were done!
S did so well with the whole thing! He cried, but didn't try to squirm away or really even fight against our restraint. I was so proud of him! He had also let the doctors and nurses remove and apply the bandages, look at his face and everything else that day with barely a peep. He had even left the bandages alone for most of the time we had them on over the few days. And this is a kid who won't leave a hat on for more than five seconds! God really protected him, and I think S figured out it was helping him to have the bandage. The doctor and nurse were impressed with him too and said he did better than most adults do! As soon as I lifted him up after the procedure, he calmed down and went back to normal. I was so thankful that he didn't seem too affected by the whole thing.
By December 3rd, he looked like this:
Here is a shot from this past Sunday, when we went to the zoo:
From what I read online and what the doctor said, it is possible for something like this to happen again. At least now I know what it is and who to call. And, like my mom said, if your kids have to go through something medical, at least it was something pretty minor and fixable like this!