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Help! My Kid Won’t Grow

I’m really tired. Just so you know and don’t get your expectations of this post all miles high. Managing the emotions, needs and appointments of three kids doesn’t leave a ton of time left over for frivolousness like watching a TV show that hasn’t been TiVo’d or taking out the recycling before the entire laundry room is full of Trader Joe’s bags brimming over onto the floor with Diet Coke Cherry Zero cans and empty Pediasure bottles. Fuck it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
As I told you in my last post, Jon and I took Sadie in to see a top of the line Endocrinologist at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. I’d link back to that post but it was YESTERDAY so scroll back if you didn’t read it and then come back cause I’m about to tell you how it went. Ready?

The trip over kind of sucked because it was right during Sadie’s naptime but you can’t argue with these sought after appointments. They aren’t concerned with anything as trivial as “naptime.” When I got there I could see why. So many kids with so many illnesses. My personal little pity party was shut down pretty darn fast as I strolled through the hallways past youngsters and their parents obviously dealing with much worse than something as simple as being the size of a peanut. These kids were thankful to be upright. Perspective was had. And then lost when I met the parents of a little girl who was “growing too fast.” Upon further conversation, her dad is 6’6″ the kid is just going to be tall. She seemed absolutely normal for a one-year-old to me.

Once we were in our exam room waiting, Sadie broke out and wandered the halls saying hello to people in other rooms. That’s how we befriended a couple with a 16-month-old who’d been diagnosed sixth months before with type one diabetes. That…is more than an annoyance. That is a nightmare. Perspective was had again.

Dr. Grow came into our room and began the chat about Sadie, her history, her reports etc. The gist of the exam was that Sadie seems to have nothing wrong with her besides her body’s refusal to grow. We are going to run some labs but the doc doesn’t think that we’re going to find anything medically wrong. The fact is that she is an extreme case of Small for Gestational Age. If a baby is going to catch up, it usually happens in the first two years. If it doesn’t happen by then, and you see a plateau in your baby’s growth, most times growth hormones are needed at some point. I don’t know if needed is the right word. We are going to discuss it more on our next visit in three months. Here’s what I didn’t know that pretty much threw me for a loop: growth hormones are everyday until your child hits puberty. I am sort of sick over this. At this moment is hardly seems worth putting a child through shots every.single.day in order to hope they grow an extra three inches total.

Of course, as you all know about me, it’s the fucking unknown, lack of diagnosis, vague, we’ll see, I don’t know, not every kid’s the same, nothing’s clear cut bullshit that kills me (please see my addendum before feeling sorry for me).

Bottom line, if (when) it becomes clear that Sadie will be so short that she won’t be able to keep up with her peers unless we give her the growth hormones, then I will step up and do what I feel is right for my kid. Until then, I will continue to feed her a lot of ice cream and eat anything that she leaves behind.

P.S. I wrote this entry last night after having spent the better part of the day at the hospital. I was a bit emotionally spent. But in the light of day, this is all good news! Really, it’s the best news. My daughter is a healthy, happy little fireball who is going to be just fine.

I think what’s frustrating is that we’ve spent so much time and energy worrying over and trying to fix something un”fix”able. It’s unfixable because it’s intangible. A lot of intangibles woven together into one gorgeous little munchkin. The hardest part for us is over. We can stop looking for a problem that isn’t there and just watch and wait for Sadie to grow on her own little curve in her own time. As Martha says, “It’s a good thing.”

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 24, 2009 3:34 amSadie45 comments  

45 Comments

  1. lonek8 said,

    you will do the right thing, and she will be wonderful. Keep up the humor and your spirits.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 4:41 am

  2. Anonymous said,

    Hi–This must be so hard. I can't imagine. We have acquaintances (the kind you see and make awkward conversation with at mutual friends' birthday parties) whose daughter was similarly tiny. They made the difficult decision to do the growth hormone shots, were heartsick about it, etc. Well, we hadn't seen this little girl in about six months and the next time we did–whoa, beanpole! Not in a weird way, in a very normal catching-up way. It was wonderful to see and they all agreed it was worth it.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 11:24 am

  3. Mommy, Esq. said,

    This must be so stressful for all of you. I know you will do what is best for Sadie and most importantly you will love her no matter what. Good luck.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 11:41 am

  4. Lil Mouse said,

    I think your bottom line here is a great way to think of it (although I fully expect to hear more about the growth issue in coming days)…I am on the short side 5'2, and although I've endured some teasing, a lot of it, was, what is wrong with you people, can't you see my MOM is only 5'3? My dad is 5'8 (both are shrinking by now I'm sure) and both brothers top out at 5'8 as well. My husband at 6'1 is the giant of the family. As years go by, all my nieces and nephews will probably 'outgrow' me. They are all excited to see me and 'measure up'. Most of them pass around 13. We compare shoe sizes, too. It's a funny thing and once you're out of the under 10 teasing range, people just get tired of it, you're short, you're short, you're tall, you're tall. One kid from school was my height, and he got growth hormones around freshman year and he got taller than me and he was like 'in your face' to me, and I just thought he was the dumbest kid ever for doing that. He's more of a normal, if there is a normal height, now. Not sure he's any nicer of a kid though. Long story short, sounds like you're doing the right thing, just keep it up (oh and I have only one baby and my recycling threatens to swallow me all the time so you're not alone there)…

    | September 24, 2009 @ 11:52 am

  5. Red Lotus said,

    You sound as though your spirit is broken… I am sorry you are so discouraged. you will make the right decision. I have a gray area too, he turns 5 next Thursday.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 12:34 pm

  6. Red Lotus said,

    If you want to read about my gray area, you can visit my blog

    http://www.2boysoutsidethebox.blogspot.com

    | September 24, 2009 @ 12:36 pm

  7. Aunt Becky said,

    I fucking hate not having answers. I also fucking hate Avril Lavigne. Please tell me she won't be playing Sadie in the made-for-TV-movie.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  8. SHannon said,

    Awwwww….Steph,
    You are a phenominal mommy. You know what's best for your baby. You are very smart and wise to know what Sadie needs more. Sometimes Dr.'s guess on what may be wrong or what they need to resolve a problem. Sometimes you need to do what you think is best. Use your own judgement, it's probably the best judgement after all! Your humble friend, Shannon

    | September 24, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  9. Laura said,

    I was a nanny for a little boy who had trouble growing and when the puberty hormones weren't kicking in the parents decided to put him on growth hormones. It was the best decision EVER. He is growing now, normally and while he won't ever be a tall man, he no longer worries about being the shortest kid in the class. His appetite increased (so much so that I grocery shop for his visits because he eats me out of house and home) and his self-esteem skyrocketed. The shots are unpleasant at first because, well, they are shots but they don't neccesarily hurt. Mainly you just have to make sure the ampules warm up a bit because they are too cold when they come straight from the fridge.

    In the end you will make the decision that is right for you (and I know how hard those decisions can be because I have a kid with Sensory Integration Dysfunction so I know how painful "different" can be) but when you make your decision and see results either way, it is so helpful.

    Hang in there.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 1:12 pm

  10. Kristin said,

    Hang in there. The unknown is always the worst. At least she is eating and gaining weight now, right? Maybe now she will start to catch up in height too. She's just taking her own sweet time.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 1:23 pm

  11. Carolyn...Online said,

    Oh man. I don't have any words of wisdom or advice. Just good thoughts and internet hugs. You're doing the best thing for your kids everyday and you can't really ask for more than that.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 1:28 pm

  12. Amy said,

    I'm so sorry you're having to go through all of this. I'm actually right there with you. My daughter was diagnosed FTT and at 11 months old is just now 16 pounds. She's on the verge of being diagnosed in the beginning stages of hypothyroidism and is going for a thyroid scan, an endoscopy and a flex sig (colonoscopy) to rule out Celiac Disease and test for a couple other things. It's such a struggle and can be SO frustrating (especially waiting for the doctor appointments, blood work results, etc.). But I wish you guys the best luck and truly hope it's nothing serious.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 2:49 pm

  13. Anonymous said,

    I agree with the first blogger respondent. That's not say that you are not going through hell right at the moment and I sympathize.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 2:55 pm

  14. Heidi said,

    Hey, I could have used some growth hormones. Shorts not so bad except that a lot of people want to kick your ass in school. Remember all the bitches that wanted to beat me up? It couldn't have been because of my big mouth, could it?

    Sorry I don't know much about growth hormones but if it will help Sadie feel better about herself and if there are not a lot of side effects… I really don't know but your a loving mom,she's lucky to have you.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 3:15 pm

  15. Sarah said,

    I know a mom who is doing the hormone shots for her 3 year old and it's not as bad as she thought it would be. As the mom of a little boy (also a twin) who just won't grow either, my thoughts are with you.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 5:25 pm

  16. My Bottle's Up! said,

    i hear you and i feel for you.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 5:55 pm

  17. Kristy said,

    I am sorry the doctors did not have a magic answer for you. I don't by the "preemies catch up by 2 years" line anymore. I had a 32 weeker. At 1 year, she weighted 17.5 pounds. At 2 years, she weighted 19.8 pounds. I think she was about the zero percentile for weight and maybe the 10th for height. I thought she would always be small since preemies "catch up by 2." She will be six in one month and is now 43 pounds (50th percentile). She is also tall and all of her size 5 pants are 2 inches too short. My point is she didn't really start growing until she was about 4 years old. I should also say that no one gave me crap about her size. Kids really do have there own agenda when it comes to growing.

    Good luck in whatever you decide to do. Sadie certainly sounds like she is keeping you on your toes. Enjoy the ice cream.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  18. rle said,

    To the extent it helps – I am a 38 year old woman, and I am four-foot -ten-and-a-half (don't forget the half. it's a big percent). When I was 5, the pediatrician asked my mother (also four-foot-ten-and-a-half) if she wanted to give me growth hormones so that I would hit 5'. She promptly turned to me and said "Do you want growth hormones? You have to have a shot every day." I declined, and I never regretted it. I have never really been upset about my height (I think it might be harder for a boy than a girl), and I'm gainfully employed and have a kid of my own and all that. Anything you do is the right thing, but as someone on the bottom of the bell curve, just wanted to let you know that I don't consider it a hindrance or a catastrophe to be so short. (And some chivalrous guy on the plane always helps me get my carry-on into the overhead, so that's a plus right there).

    | September 24, 2009 @ 6:39 pm

  19. anita tedaldi said,

    Glad by the end of the post you seemed less worried (although the non tangible would also drive me crazy).

    I had a friend who took growth hormones and it was a nuisance but she was just fine (she's still a good friend of mine) she went to Harvard Law School is very pretty and super funny …..just saying

    | September 24, 2009 @ 6:48 pm

  20. Jodi said,

    Isn't it nice when whatever decision you make is okay? Growth hormones or not, she'll be fine. So nice to hear!

    She's a cutie. I'm enjoying reading about her and you and the family.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 7:51 pm

  21. Lisa said,

    What's so terrible about being short? The use of growth hormones to "treat" small stature seems like a great example of drug companies inventing a disease.

    I know a couple whose daughter was alarmingly small and slow to grow, wouldn't eat, etc.; she is now a smart, charming, and beautiful 13-year-old who just might reach five feet.

    (Tall women have more breast cancer, not to mention difficulty buying pants…)

    | September 24, 2009 @ 7:52 pm

  22. Rebecca said,

    She'll be the cutest and most petite child in class and everyone will love her. I speak from experience. I remember that when I was in the 3rd grade all the kindergartners bigger than me. I'm only 5 foot tall and my attitude for this is that's okay.

    Another mindset is that I'm the perfect height to give Yao Ming a blow job……

    | September 24, 2009 @ 8:12 pm

  23. Julie S said,

    So, I find this post interesting for personal reasons. My youngest daughter was 10 weeks premature weighing 2 lbs 3 ozs and just over 12 inches long. She's always been small, but none of the Dr's ever seemed to worry because there was progress (though miniscule) in her growth. I took her to her 2 year appointment (she was 2 years and 2 months old at the time) and she finally hit the 20 lbs mark and was 28 inches tall. Woohoo – forward facing car seat here we come. She has never been a big eater, but she seems to eat enough to sustain.

    My point of this comment is to give you some hope – she is now three and she hit a major growth spurt maybe about 2 months ago (as perspective, just 3 months ago she was tiny enough to pass for a 20 month old on the plane). But in the last two months she's grown about 2 inches and gained about 5 pounds. She finally is starting to not look like a little baby.

    As an aside, I was an IUGR baby 40 years ago and was small entire childhood (I was just over 2 lbs when I was born at full term). I was on appetite pills, I was treated for an eating disorder I didn't have, and had discussed using growth hormones. Finally my mom said enough and took me off everything. By the time I hit 16-17, I was fairly average and have continued into adulthood.

    I hope you do not have to go the route of daily hormones. Hopefully her growth will work itself out. Best wishes to you!

    | September 24, 2009 @ 8:55 pm

  24. C @ Kid Things said,

    So maybe she won't be a 6 ft. supermodel, but there's absolutely nothing wrong with being petite.

    | September 24, 2009 @ 9:45 pm

  25. kyslp said,

    Awesome people come in all shapes and sizes. You are one of them.

    (I know what you mean about the Children's Hospital putting things in perspective. I had a similar experience a few years ago. I was almost apologetic by the time we saw the doctor.)

    | September 25, 2009 @ 12:24 am

  26. C said,

    My best friend has Turner's Syndrome, which among other things, stunted her growth.

    She had to get daily growth hormones for years and when we were talking yesterday she was like "yeah, I remember being 5 and just giving myself the shot–wasn't a big deal at all".

    If you go that route, she'll adjust.

    | September 25, 2009 @ 1:34 am

  27. MereCat said,

    Bless you bless you. What a harrowing ordeal you have been through. I love that in the end you seem to find some peace, but I know it's been hard won. I've been following you since before their birth, and really feel for you for all that you've been through. You have soooo much to be proud of and to celebrate in the face of adversity. And you are handling it all so beautifully and gracefully.

    | September 25, 2009 @ 2:42 am

  28. 6512 and growing said,

    Very difficult stuff. My son is a former preemie, 14 weeks early and now is four. He is a beautiful, bright, cheerful boy and is very small, off the charts, gets hand-me-downs from 2 year olds. We went to endocrinologists and any specialist who'd take us. And after four years of lots of crazy-making I'm done worrying. Life is too short and beautiful and I don't want to miss it.

    | September 25, 2009 @ 3:39 am

  29. Anonymous said,

    Maybe I'm the voice of dissent, but is there something unhealthy about being short? I don't think I would give my kid growth hormones just to make them taller. I had two premature babies, was told it was my fault my daughter was skinny because I was on bedrest with my son, yea, it couldn't have been because I weighed under a 100 lbs and was 5 ft 7 in my whole life *rolleyes*. Doctors are sometimes just dumb. Sadie is adorable, she is catching up in mental growth, who cares if she is short? I bet if you stopped worrying about it, you would do much better mentally yourself, and Sadie will catch up in her own time. I know it's hard to just "not worry", but put the scale away and concentrate on having a good time with her! She'll be just as lovable if she's short!

    | September 25, 2009 @ 3:47 am

  30. Hi! I'm Alex said,

    You know what…I have four kids latest one being six weeks old and a real screamer. They are just little people and will develop in their own time. Most grown ups are ok. It's the getting there that sux. Good luck to yours and good luck to my screaming six week old who won't take a dummy. We will survive.

    | September 25, 2009 @ 10:25 am

  31. Mommy on the Spot said,

    I hate it when there is no true closure! It's frustrating when an issue builds and builds and then there is no clear resolution. Hang in there and follow your instincts!

    | September 25, 2009 @ 2:00 pm

  32. Kimmad said,

    Take this comment with a grain of salt, from the perspective of a mom of a child with a Growth Hormone Deficiency. My son was not small at birth, but his growth steadily declined until he fell off the charts. He is under the care of a noted pediatric endocrinologist now, and will actually be starting growth hormone shots as soon as (or if) his MRI is all-clear.

    My only question is whether or not the doctor suggested a growth hormone stimulation test. This is the ONLY way to detect an actual deficiency. The thing is, what most people don't realize is that growth hormone affects much more than just height. Overall health is affected, and can include heart problems. I'm not trying to scare anyone or push you, but I fought long and hard to get a diagnosis for my son (who has other health problems) so I could do something to help him.

    A great site for further reading on the effects of growth hormone problems: magicfoundation.org. There's a lot of information there plus stories from parents of kids just like yours.

    And yes, it is a difficult decision to give your child shots every day for years, and I'm dreading it. I do hope that it will become routine, and looking forward to finally improving his health. Good luck to you.

    | September 25, 2009 @ 2:38 pm

  33. erin said,

    Hi, I'll be honest that I didn't go back and read all of your previous posts about Sadie, but maybe some of my experiences might help.
    I was only 16 inches at birth, so much smaller than everyone my whole life until I hit puberty. Now I'm almost 5'3'' and completely normal.
    It was hard as a kid being delicate, but all of the sudden it wasn't an issue anymore.
    My daughter Maxine is 4 and only 27 pounds. She was under 20 pounds at 2 years old (her brother turns two today and is 37 pounds). Her doctor was worried about her every check up and it was impossible to get her to eat anything. She'd go days without eating more than juice or a cookie. One day is just turned around and she started eating a little more. Now she's still very small for her age, but the doc's aren't on my back anymore. She's finally hit 3 feet tall at 4 years old…

    | September 25, 2009 @ 2:43 pm

  34. Suzie said,

    Hi Stefanie – I'm so sorry to hear you're going through this with Sadie, but it all sounds like good news! Hang in there.

    You're coming to San Antonio next week to speak at our charity luncheon benefitting Good Samaritan Community Services here in SA. Just want you to know we're looking forward to having you here and meeting you in person!

    | September 25, 2009 @ 3:01 pm

  35. Susan said,

    Well, fuck, Stefanie. You had me near tears until you quoted Martha. Go Sadie, enjoy being you and enjoy your parents being the best parents ever, (seriously), but tell your mom to stop ruining,"good things," by quoting that freakish, perfectionist zealot. Geez.

    | September 26, 2009 @ 1:08 am

  36. jerilyn said,

    hmmm. That does sound stressful. But isn't Madonna like 5'2? And whats-her-name, Jennifer Jason Leigh is like 5'0. Shit, Prince is like 4'8 and he's done okay…'petite' is fine for girls.

    | September 26, 2009 @ 3:09 am

  37. limefreckle said,

    wow, reading all the comments makes you realize how many people are going through a similar thing!! I myself deal with something different – autism – but worrying about your kid, the unknown etc. is pretty universal, no matter what their particular issue may be! What you said about the hospital, and realizing your issues aren't so big hit home, I'm constantly reminded that life is pretty good around here, things could be much worse. I found it particularly interesting that you bumped into someone whose kid is growing too fast!! I never thought of that as a problem, speaking from a mom of an 8 year old that looks at least 12!

    I love reading about Sadie and your perspective on everything — you are a talented writer, and your honesty is great!! I have no doubt that you will do whatever is best for Sadie — the growth hormone thing, well you'll tackle that as it comes — thanks for sharing your journey!

    | September 26, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  38. SUEB0B said,

    I am 5'7". When I went to Oaxaca in Southern Mexico, I was usually the tallest person around. I would routinely see people that were way under five feet, men and women in the 4 foot 6 range. And they were all living their lives just fine. I know you will think hard about the hormone treatments. I have heard there is a much increased risk of cancer. Please ask doc about this.

    | September 26, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  39. Amanda said,

    I'm really glad about this – it is so good to hear that there is nothing medically wrong with her – I know it's still hard for you guys and you might have to make some tough decisions regarding growth hormones – but it does sound like it went pretty well.

    | September 26, 2009 @ 4:35 pm

  40. jerseygirl89 said,

    She's going to be great. Hell, look at the Olsen twins, they're peanuts and they have an empire. But I can't imagine the frustrations you're going through and I think you're handling everything wonderfully. Really.

    | September 26, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  41. MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt said,

    Being a parent is HARD! And that is coming from someone who isn't even lucky enough to be a mom yet. Sounds like you are doing great!

    | September 29, 2009 @ 2:40 am

  42. Piccinigirl said,

    I think you have absolutely the right attitude…when and IF…and smile until then, the ice cream is a'comin!!!

    *BIG sigh of relief*

    | September 29, 2009 @ 5:05 pm

  43. Kendra said,

    Honestly, she's so lucky to have you as a mom. It's got to be so much to deal with, practically and emotionally, that it could seem to overshadow your whole lives. But you really do keep it in perspective–as much as one can. I'm glad to hear that she is an overall healthy little person, even if she is just particularly small. Though I can imagine it's really frustrating not to be able to point at something, it's nice to know that she's active and healthy and growing. I hope you're both doing well!

    | September 30, 2009 @ 12:42 am

  44. Wicked Step Mom said,

    It is good news. And I am glad that she is doing well. I knew a boy that took growth hormones. He had his shot every day and didn't seem to mind it. It did help him quite a bit. He went from being the size of a 5 year old at 9 to the size of a slightly short 13 year old at 13.

    | September 30, 2009 @ 12:18 pm

  45. Big Mama Cass said,

    I am worried about my little Monkey too. He has only gained 2 lbs in a year and 3 months and he is 20 months old. The doctor isn't worried that he fell from the 80th percentile to the 5th in the last 15 months but I am. Hopefully I have nothing to worry about. Well nothing other than the fact that his waist requires 9 month pants and his legs require 18 month pants. *sigh*

    | October 23, 2009 @ 5:26 am

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