Sunday, October 30, 2011
It's Not The Size Of The Tiger In The Fight....
"But Dr. Garcia, his Daddy and I aren't very big either." Her reply? "Yes, but even small babies grow, and he's not growing."
This a portion of a conversation I had with Isaac's pediatrician when he was 9 months old. She tested him for hypo-thyroid. Isaac was so small, the doctor ended up doing the blood-draw for the test herself. I remember holding his little arms down... me... a fairly new parent, wincing at the fact that I was allowing her to "torture" him for no good reason (in my eyes). After that doctor visit, we were referred to Dr. Bourgeois, a pediatric endocrinologist in Lubbock. "Dr. B", we now affectionately call him, gathered information from us about our family members' statures, and I had to visit with a nutritionist. I remember being offended at their suggestions. I thought that I was doing all the "right" things for my baby. Breast-feeding, making all his baby food myself, making sure he didn't eat sugary things or drink a lot of fruit juices, and singing him soft lullabies at night.
"WHAT?! You want me to feed him a bottle of formula a day?! SACRILEGE!"
Oh, no, I'm too nice... that's not what I said. I politely listened to their suggestion to add MARGARINE to all of his baby foods and to feed him a 4 oz bottle a day (mixed at one scoop per oz of formula instead of one scoop for two oz), but I was thinking, "That is SO dumb!" I had several friends with babies that were my baby's age. Some of their moms didn't even feed solids until they were a year old. Why wasn't MY baby growing? Well, it'd have to be genetics, right? I now understand that there can be lots of reasons why babies don't grow. Isaac got tested for some of them eventually, but not at first. I now know that the standard operating procedure when a baby comes in diagnosed "failure to thrive" is to tackle nutrition first. And, since you can't measure calories in mama's milk, they want to increase fat in as many other ways as possible. I still think it is dumb. Dr. B said that day, "Well, it's not something I want him to do when he's 40." I was so irritated and thought "If you give a 10 month old sugar and butter, they're gonna do it when they are 40!" I also remember that even though the nutritionist and doctor didn't treat me in a belittling way... I still felt that way... belittled. I felt like they didn't know me, so they had to assume that I was somehow short-changing my kid's nutrition.... by feeding him what I thought was healthy...
Fast forward.... At one year of age, Isaac was 15 pounds. My other children also did not grow much their first year. Abigail was 12 and a half pounds at one year. Andrew was a big ol' whopping (wink) 16 pounds. David was almost 13 pounds. Luke is following in their "footsteps" and I'm guessing will be about 16 pounds at a year too. His growth curve is doing the EXACT same thing the others' did. I think that if they were all born at the same weight, that they would weigh the same at their birthday because there is plenty of variance in their birth-weights. For instance Andrew was my biggest baby, and he was also the biggest at one year. Luke is the second largest baby, thus my guess that he will be about 16 pounds at a year. Eventually, Dr. B got to know our family very well, because Isaac had his diabetic onset just after he turned 3. He sees Isaac every three months now and he has examined Isaac's growth closely ever since. It is not typical for diabetic kids to be extra-small, and the two issues are not related at all. Dr. B now no longer tests my itty-bitty Bradberries for anything (even though they ALL get referred to him at a year). Oh, and he knows I feed them. ;o) He eventually found that Isaac has growth hormone deficiency that probably is genetic. (They couldn't see anything physically wrong with his pituitary gland on an MRI, but a long testing procedure did show that the gland does not secrete enough growth hormone.) Abigail is growing pretty normally now and so is Andrew. David is starting to pick up on his growth, and we'll see whether or not he will need growth hormone too.
We just saw Dr. B for a check-up on Isaac and David. I sort of squirmed some questioning out of my mouth... I say squirmed, because I have a hard time really putting into words what my questions are about this. I guess I just really want to know how many Bradberry kids it will take for doctors to decide to just leave us alone and let us be small! I pointed out to Dr. B that Luke is 7 months old and looks just like the others for his age. I asked, "Does he have to come to you at a year too?" I told him that I finally gave up and did much earlier with Luke everything that they told me to do ten years ago with Isaac. He gets more formula than any baby I've ever had. It has not mattered. I told Dr. B that I just wanted to make sure it wasn't my fault. He admitted to me that they start with nutrition when babies have a "failure to thrive" diagnosis, because it is easy and doesn't require lots of testing. He said he is a minimalist in his approach to endocrinology and the different studies that he could be doing. He admitted that he has scratched his head about our family more than any other group of siblings he has ever seen. He told me that other doctors would insist that we visit with a geneticist, and have some testing done. He doesn't really see the point in that, since we might get some name for something, but it wouldn't really change anything. For now, we agree. There could be a whole lot of more terrible genetic problems to deal with than small stature. He said that he doesn't start testing for growth hormone deficiency on any kid until they are 4 years old. So, he basically "released" David and said that his growth is continuing to slowly curve back up. If David is still having problems at 4 years old, we will do the test that Isaac had. Isaac didn't get tested until he was 8.
I've had 5 children and you'd think that I wouldn't be sensitive at all anymore when people gasp at my small babies who don't grow much their first year. I suppose some things about this have gotten easier for me... the parent. ;o) I'm somewhat more relaxed, in that I'm less likely to take offense on account of my tiny baby. Depending on my emotional state that day ;o) I don't normally feel like I have to shrink anymore when people ask me in the grocery store how old my baby is. Sometimes I just say, "Older than you think." Other times I tell them and then just let them do that GAAASP when I answer, and then I let them ask that dumb question (sorry if you've been one to ask... it really is kinda silly) "WAS he PREMATURE???!!!!!!!" I just say, "No he wasn't. And NONE of my babies grow much their first year." That is one advantage to having so many other small siblings to refer to! :o)
I love and adore my children. I absolutely love and adore their Daddy, who has had to put up with other people's assumptions about his size nearly his whole life. He can do the work of two stout men (brag) and I'm sure his sons will be no different. Yes, I know, I have a daughter. It's just that our society doesn't mind if girls are petite. (plus her growth is no longer a concern) All of my beautiful children are learning the work ethics of their father. They are developing Spiritual muscles through God's Word, strength in their character (I PRAY), and I hope they learn where real strength comes from. And it comes from trusting in a really big God. His mighty strength is all we ever need! Should their stature be a challenge later in life, I pray that their character is found in that same God who can help them accomplish anything they set their minds and bodies to do!
Afterall, to finish the statement of this post's title..... It's the size of the fight in the tiger!
Posted by The Innkeeper at 9:06 PM