Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Small Worry

We've gone back and forth between two pediatric practices since Amelie was born. The neighborhood one is way more convenient and the pediatrician from there saw us in the hospital. She was warm and lovely there, and spent lots of time  Like an hour with us. Each time.

Then we saw her in the office. And it was still an hour each time. It started to get annoying. She seemed disorganized and easily distractible. Her practice partner, Dr. G, has a terrible reputation -- prescribing twenty "hot steam" treatments a day for my friend's baby's pneumonia instead of antibiotics. And then I had a concern about Amelie's breathing -- she was making loud gasping noises with breathing (inspiratory stridor) from time to time. And I realized I didn't trust this pediatrician with this concern.

So we switched back to our former pediatric practice. Dr. Rita is smart and focused. And lets me text her cell phone with urgent concerns. I email her for less urgent issues. Unfortunately, she's an hour away by public transportation. Driving is faster but parking is pricey in downtown Brooklyn. So to take one of the kids to see Dr. Rita is at least a half day adventure. A full day of missed work.

My friend Amy still goes to the neighborhood practice. She saw the new NP, Kate, there and liked her. Amelie was scheduled to see a doctor in Dr. Rita's practice for her flu shot on a day I was off work for a Muslim holiday... but the practice didn't have their flu shots yet. But the neighborhood practice had flu shots in stock.

So off we went to see Kate. She was focused and caring. Efficient but thorough. Perfect. And she noticed that with their measurements of Amelie (newborn, one month, and now, six months), Amelie had fallen way off her growth curve for length. She told me, "If I were the parent, I wouldn't be worried yet. Let's check her again in a month."

This advice might work on some parents. But "don't worry yet" has yet to work on me.

So when we got home, I dug up Amelie's measurements from her visits to Dr. Rita. And plotted them all on a growth chart. Even more worrying.

See how her heigh measurements (the top graph) are more or less on the same curve, then
suddenly drop to the 2nd percentile line?

I faxed the measurements and the growth chart to Kate. She called me yesterday and is definitely concerned... but Dr. G. is insisting that I bring Amelie back so he can measure Amelie himself. Thing is, she was measured three times in their office last week. The final measurement, Kate did herself, with me helping. They have a special tool for measuring babies, not just lying her on the exam table and making marks on paper at her head and feet. So I am confident the measurement is correct. I'm not squeezing an extra visit to the pediatrician into my already crowded day to appease his ego. I said as much to Kate, though I tried to say it nicely.

So now I am waiting to hear back from Kate. I also emailed Dr. Rita with a copy of the growth chart and asking for recommendations. I'm hoping that Kate will be able to give me names of specialists to see even without my returning to their office... but given what I have heard about Dr. G, I am not confident. Ridiculous.

Meanwhile, I had extreme anxiety, bordering on panic, about this but have now settled into mild to moderate anxiety. Kate wants us to see genetics as well as a pediatric endocrinologist so of course I'm worried that she has some rare syndrome associated with short stature.

To be sure, when Kate mentioned sending her to genetics, I burst out with "Oh my god, you think she has a syndrome???" and she laughed. And said, "No, she's beautiful."

And now Amelie has learned to rock and so I'm worrying that she's autistic. Despite her love of faces and extreme social skills.

I had a bit of growth delay myself as a child, though it was never diagnosed as such. I was just always really short... until everyone stopped growing and I kept on growing. I didn't get my period until I was sixteen and a half! But I was never this short. (I'm 5'5" now; her donor is 6'2". Neither of us have short parents.) Luckily I have my own growth charts from childhood filed away -- I can pull them out and bring them with me to the specialists.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure she's fine but I'm worried nonetheless. I'm not sure I wish that she's "just" super short or that there's some easily solved problem, like needing to give her extra growth hormone.

The first ride in the grocery cart is a thrilling experience!

Early morning snuggles... we love our short baby!


  1. She looks perfect to me! I am sorry for the worry and I hope it turns out to be a pre-growth spurt measurement or something.

  2. She could be on the brink of a growth spurt and in a week could have a totally different reading...but you know that! Try not to worry. :)

  3. I agree with the pre-growth spurt comments. I know it's so hard not to worry, I still worry about my boys having behavior issues even though they are 2 month into school without the first concern from any of the staff, lol... Also none of my grew at all between their 3rd & 4th birthdays, not a mm! They were already little giants so no one was concerned except me, 2 weeks after their 4 year well check & they've each grown 2+ inches, CRAZY & ridiculously tall again. I hope all goes well with the specialist & will be thinking of you both...

  4. It's always scary when a doctor brings up a "concern". My doctor was worried when T hadn't grown at all between his 9 month and one year appointments and wanted me to bring him in earlier for the next checkup. Everything was fine but boy was I worried!

  5. Same here! I didn't get my period till I was the same age as you were, and kept growing long after my friends stopped. Now I'm taller than average, and I have an extremely petite kid. She's 4 but looks like a 2-year-old running around with the other kids. My ped said, "well, somebody has to be in the 1st percentile." She's healthy otherwise, just short, and while I'd love her to be tall, I try not to worry about it. Hope you get reassuring news at your next appointment!

  6. This happened to my daughter and she was shifting her growth curve. Depending on how they tilt their heads lying down they can get really different measurements. She was on 1 curve, but is now trending on a lower curve- perfectly normally. Don't worry - hahahaha

  7. But the data on your hand-drawn growth chart show her getting 1 inch shorter in a month. Stopping growth I could see. But shrinking in length? No- much more likely a measurement error in the last month or two. If I remember right Calliope was skinny as a baby, right? With everyone else I'll urge you to not worry. But also empathize -when we were concerned about possible craniosynostosis for infant Carys, I came very close to a real panic attack late one night. I always tell myself not to worry until I have a reason to. Hard I know.