Treatment: Laser treatment for Port Wine Stains
Laser(s) used: n/a
Number of Treatments: Around 13 or 14
First treatment: 8 Days old
“The earlier you treat it, the more success you have of the removal. Within a day, I am sure they could perform. It’s that safe. One of the best things about Dr. Waibel is that she’s one to make you feel really comfortable. Being a new mother herself, she understood the protectiveness and wanting to make sure that your baby gets the best chance. It is about 85% gone right now. So it is pretty amazing. Instant gratification comes with each treatment because you can kind of see it start to chip away and disappear.When we are done, I think we would have 100% satisfaction in the stain being removed.”
– Sabina, Ameline’s Mother
On the safety of the treatment…
The earlier you treat it, the more success you have of the removal. If we had gotten there just after she was born, I would say they could do it. It’s that safe. The laser is pretty safe and like I said, the earlier you do it, the better the clearance rate is.
On being a nervous mom…
I was definitely nervous because Ameline was just a baby. I was nervous about the laser use, and the thought of causing pain to Ameline. However, Dr. Waibel put our mind to ease by performing a little trial on our arm so I had an understanding of what it would feel like. It was really just like a little rubber band snapping. We were really comfortable with it; we decided to do it right then and there and it lasted for less than a minute. So it was quick and relatively easy.
On feeling safe with Dr. Waibel…
Dr. Waibel is really good about treating your child. She allows you to decide when, how many, or how long each treatment will last.
On lack of information for mom’s…
When something like this happens, you should have more information, an advocate or counselor. It would be nice to have that information available readily and who are the right people to contact and how we can go about it and talk more. I was sitting on a hospital bed Googling it trying to find out how I am supposed to treat it.
I am Sabina, and Ameline is my daughter. She is 5 months old now and was only 8 days old when she received her first treatment. We saw Dr. Waibel for her laser treatment; she is the only one that has ever done it on Ameline.
How many treatments are you in now, and how many treatments has Ameline had?
We are in treatments every two weeks. I’ve kind of lost track of how many she has had; I would say maybe 13 or 14.
How did you first come across Dr. Waibel and how did it all begin?
After I had given birth, I had a C-section and for whatever reason I wasn’t awake for the delivery so I had no idea she had the port wine stain until my husband came into the recovery room to tell me that she had a large birthmark on her face. I didn’t know anything about port wine stains at that point because it wasn’t relative to me. So when we were in the hospital the pediatrician came in a diagnosed it and said “oh well, you need to get her checked out immediately and you need to see Dr. George”. We went to go see Dr. George who is a pediatric dermatologist. We made an appointment, actually, while we were in the hospital because we wanted to get taken care of immediately. So we went and saw Dr. George and he has gone ahead and verified that it was a port wine stain and she said in order to remove that, we have to get her laser treatment. There was a doctor down in Miami that she highly recommended and that happened to be Dr. Waibel. Within the first Wednesday, after seeing Dr. George, Dr. Waibel said to bring her down on Friday.
Did they tell you, if it’s safe to get treatment that early?
Yes, the earlier you treat it, the more success you have of the removal. So if we had gotten there on Tuesday, just after she was born, I would say they could do it. It’s that safe. I mean, within the minute she was born, within a day, I am sure they could perform. The laser is pretty safe and like I said, the earlier you do it, the better the clearance rate is.
What was your experience with the first treatment?
Dr. Waibel was actually really good about our comfort level. When we had a consultation with her, she went through everything with us. She described what she did, what it took, how many it might take. We thought it was just a consultation; then she said are you ready to get started. Yes, we were ready to get started. I was definitely nervous because she was a baby but Dr. Waibel put our mind to ease.
How does Ameline react to the treatments?
In the first treatment, when the laser zapped her a little bit, she became quiet for a moment trying to register it. Then she started to cry. Not the “I am in pain” kind of cry; more like “I don’t understand this” kind of cry. But then, in a minute she was done; that is how fast it is. Ameline was fine. Since those treatments, she might cry briefly but not like screaming “I’m uncomfortable” kind of cry, just a scared cry. It lasts for less than ten seconds, and then she’s smiling happy and back to her normal self.
Dr. Waibel is very informative. She lets you know about the treatments. She’s really good about allowing you to decide when, or how many, or how long. So if I feel that Ameline in any sense is uncomfortable or in pain, which has never happened, I could tell her to stop and she will just use a certain amount. But for the most part it is so quick and the baby doesn’t seem as if she’s in pain in any way and we’ve been very successful in her treatment.
Have you come across anybody who had no idea that you can get this type of treatment (burn and scar removal with a laser) soon and you can be active about it?
Almost everyone was surprised that you can get this kind of treatment with a laser. They’ve all heard about laser treatment but didn’t know that you can do it so young.
What was the biggest obstacle you have faced through this experience?
Ameline is kind of a rare case. When I had given birth to Ameline, I had no idea of what it was or what could be done. We were very lucky to have a pediatrician who had seen Ameline that very day and knew exactly what it was and sent us in the right direction with Dr. Waibel. I found some fault with the hospital a little because I think when something like that happens, the hospital should have more information and an advocate or counselor on hand so when a woman gives birth she would have that information available readily and know who the right people to contact are as well as how to go about it. It would have also been beneficial to talk more about the statistics outright because the real problem was that I sat on a hospital bed Googling it trying to find out how I am supposed to treat it by myself without the aid of the hospital.
You are running around reading these worst case scenarios. You are hearing that laser treatment can be done but you don’t realize just how early it can be done. Thinking she can live with this until she is ready to get it done. Whereas when we were directed to the right people, there was help. How amazing it was to find out that the treatment could be done so early on and now knowing how successful it has been, and being able to put the visual aspect behind us so that we could focus more on Ameline and her growth.
What would you say to other moms going through the same experience?
I would say for moms going through this, information has to be a little bit more available even though it might be one in 1000 that this happens to. The information that is out there isn’t the nicest to read. However, after being pointed in the right direction, there was a solution.
I just wish that there was a little bit more organization to the process and somebody was at least able to tell me right away that this can be treated or gave me a list of doctors who could treat it. It is not as scary as it seems. I would want other moms going through the same experience to know that they can do it and to get the baby to Dr. Waibel or to treatment ASAP. So don’t wait.
One of the best things about Dr. Waibel is that she’s one to make you feel really comfortable and her being anew mother herself, and her child being a few weeks older mine, it was comforting because she was attuned to what I was going through because she had just had a baby herself too. It was comforting to me because she was going through the process as I was and she understood the sensitivity of being a new mom and the protectiveness and wanting to make sure that your baby gets the best chance.
Was there not even a moment of hesitation that you said to yourself “I don’t want Ameline to have to deal with this; I want to be proactive and get rid of it.” What made you know that this can happen?
Well I come from a medical family; my father was a physician and I was always surrounded by the medical field and doctors and such. I also had just come off of two and a half years of taking care of my father having brain cancer, I had just lost him and the baby was kind of the next hope. When she was born, it kind of just put me right back into that advocate role again. I don’t know how to explain it. But for Ameline’s sake, we knew it needed to get taken care of. We knew as a baby, she’s not going to remember the treatments; the sooner we get it done, the easier for her. The longer we wait the harder it is for the child and they are more aware of what is going on. Now, Ameline is not going to remember any of it. So there really wasn’t any hesitation. It was just something that needed to get done. We did it for her sake and for our own too.
Well, Ameline being a strange case, it is about 85% gone right now. So it is pretty amazing. I can definitely say that it is a long process in the sense that there is a healing period between each treatment, which is every two weeks, which isn’t that long but the instant gratification comes with each treatment because you can see it start to chip away and disappear. I am really very impressed with the results and I am very happy. I feel like Dr. Waibel’s expertise and specialty has really given Ameline another chance. We just started at her eye and once her eye starts to fade away you have to look twice to see whether or not she has what she has. As far as a long road ahead of us, it may be; but not for the port wine stain because she has other facial birth marks that were underling and on her body so she might have to get treatment for that. But as far as her face goes and the fact that she is five and a half months and 85% of it is gone says a lot when you didn’t think it would ever go away.
Did Dr. Waibel give you any sort of gage as to how much longer it would take to completely remove the port wine stain?
Not too many more treatments; she is fairly confident that it will be a 100% gone. I would have to I agree with her. She has done an amazing job on her face.
Can you describe generally where it is on her face?
She had it on her entire right hand side of her face. From the top of her head down to her chin. It also extended from her ear to her nose as well. Basically, it covers about half of her entire face.
How has Dr. Waibel been as a provider and what would you say to other moms or other patients having to be treated by her? Would you recommend her?
I would recommend her to moms who are going through this because she is amazing! She will make you feel comfortable and give you the hope that you need as well as fulfill that hope. She’s comforting and she a relief. It has been a relief to be with a physician who actually gives you the time, explains things, puts you at ease, and shows genuine care and concern. You don’t find that very often with a lot of the physicians now-a-days. You feel more like you are just in and out and just another patient but with Dr. Waibel, you don’t. We have been taking Ameline for treatments and watching her grow up and it is almost like a little outside family member. Seeing the staff and seeing Dr. Waibel every two weeks serves as a comfort. She has helped us through a very difficult time.
Did you have to travel relatively far to get to her?
It is a two hour drive for me one way, so altogether it is four hours.