Hi folks! Today I want to talk to you about something SUPER important. When you take your children to their well visits with their pediatricians, please, please, please, if their numbers seem off, please have them re-measured! I learned this the hard way. Looking back, I really wish I had asked my daughter’s pediatrician to re-measure her growth because we could’ve saved a lot of pain and a lot of heartache!
Let me tell you what happened:
A few weeks ago in February, my daughter, Evangeline, turned 9 months. As is customary, she had her 9-month well visit. We walked in all smiles, thinking all is well with the world, or at least in our little neck of the woods, when the nurse came in and started measuring my daughter’s height and weight. As she was doing this, I looked for Evangeline’s book where I keep all of her data. As the nurse called out her new height and weight, I skimmed down to the last entry and froze.
Since her 6-month visit, my daughter had gained 1 pound.
You read that right.
I blurted out to the nurse, “She only gained a pound??” Her nurse nodded and while still in my daze, left the room.
When her pediatrician came in, she started asking how my daughter was doing. Had she reached all of her milestones? Was she eating? She hadn’t seen the new data yet.
But I cut to the chase.
“Did she really only gain a pound?”
“Let’s see,” she said. “Yeahh, it looks like she only gained a pound.”
“What about her height? Has she grown?”
“Not much,” her doctor told me. The number was so insignificant that she didn’t even tell me what it was. Later on, I learned it was a quarter of an inch.
We began talking about how much milk I was producing and I mentioned that since our trip from Ecuador, my daughter had been waking up every 2-3 hours, every night! Before our trip, she would sleep through the night. Her pediatrician was concerned. I was concerned. I wanted to cry. Had I stunted my daughter’s growth? I had been exclusively breastfeeding up until then, no pumping, no formula. It was a tough journey, but I had made it and I was looking forward to completing my one-year breastfeeding anniversary.
She told me I should start supplementing with formula. It sounded as if my milk supply had decreased.
There was something wrong with my daughter.
She ordered three tests, one of which was for anemia.
“Bloodwork?” I asked her. “Are they going to go through the vein?”
“Yes, unfortunately, for these tests they have to,” she told me.
Noooooooooo, my world shattered. I flashbacked to when baby Henry was a few months old and his previous pediatrician thought his liver might be enlarged so she ordered bloodwork. I took him to Quest Diagnostics, or LabCorp, can’t remember which, and they were about to use a BIG needle to draw his blood when my son started crying, and then I started crying. I yelled, “Stop! I don’t want to do this!” And the nurses stopped. Luckily for his test, they were able to prick his little foot and get blood that way.
Now, I would have to go through that again with my daughter. She was older than he had been, so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad?
When I walked out of the doctor’s office and into our car with hubby Henry and baby Henry waiting for me, I started to cry. I told Henry what happened; how our daughter hadn’t grown at all.
“But she has grown,” he said. “She looks taller. And she’s so chunky.”
“She’s so chunky because she’s stayed the same,” I told him.
We went home with the sample formula her doctor had given me and, after 7 months of not having to pump my breastmilk… I pumped.
Two ounces on my right breast (the bigger one) and one ounce on the left. I had three ounces total. I would feed Evangeline about 6 times a day. Sometimes more, sometimes less. But the majority of times (I still kept track of feedings) was 6. 6×3=18. She was getting about 18 ounces of breastmilk a day. Plus, solids. I wasn’t starving her, like I had imagined. However, her doctor told me she should get 24 ounces of breastmilk a day. So, I began making numbers. Four ounces of milk, six times a day. Or six ounces of milk, four times a day. I started looking for Enfamil, although her doc gave me Similac samples. With baby Henry we had supplemented with Enfamil (at 8 months old, I stopped producing milk with him, but he was an exclusively pumped baby, i.e. I always knew how much milk he was getting). And he drank the Ready to Feed kind, not the powder kind (the powder one made him vomit). So we decided to do the same for Evangeline.
Before going to sleep, I gave her 6 ounces of formula.
That first night, she slept four hours straight, not 2-3. Her doctor had told me not to give her formula when she would wake up in the middle of the night because it decays their teeth. So when she woke up that first night, I gave her water. I was going to do everything her doc told me! She went back to sleep and so did I.
First Try: Quest Diagnostics
The day after her well visit was a Saturday and hubby Henry and I decided we would go get her bloodwork done then, instead of waiting until Monday like her doctor had suggested. We went to a Quest Diagnostics lab that was opened.
Oh, Lord… The two Henrys stayed in the car. I got down with Evangeline.
Breathe… I was already feeling nervous. I wrote her name down on the waiting list and sat down in front of a TV. There was a man sitting in front of me who started smiling at my daughter. “She’s so cute,” he said. Tears were streaming down my face. I didn’t want my daughter to suffer a needle prick.
The man at the reception desk called her name, or at least what he thought her name was, “Evan…gel..Evangill…”
“Evangeline,” I corrected, smiling.
“Eh-van-geline… I never would’ve got that.”
I gave him my license and Evangeline’s insurance card.
“Oh you poor little girl. They are going to make you cry,” he laughed as he joked.
I got even more nervous. He did bloodwork because he was wearing the same gowns as the others. Please don’t let it be him, I thought.
A Hispanic lady called Evangeline’s name. I remembered her from when I was pregnant and needed bloodwork. She seemed nice. As I walked to the room, everyone fawned over my daughter and her cheeks.
I was crying again. She had me sit in the chair and place Evangeline on my lap. Then she searched her inner elbows for a vein. Nothing.
She handed me a tissue.
“It’s ok, mommy,” she said as I let out a big sob. “I can’t find a vein on her. She’s too chunky.” Then, in Spanish, she said to me, “Don’t let them prick her. I can’t find a vein. They like to look and look and still prick. Don’t let them do it.”
Then she called out another colleague to check for veins. Nothing. This person called another. The other person searched and searched and said she could feel one.
I was so happy no one could find a vein, but when she said she could I stopped breathing. They were going to prick her. The girl was sure she found a vein and she sounded sure. So I let her. Big mistake. She pricked her and nothing came out. Evangeline wailed and I cried my eyes out. People were looking into our cubicle. I didn’t care.
The girl pulled the needle out. She called one last person, the guy from the reception desk. He swaggered in. “You are too cute,” he said to my daughter. “You make me want to go out and have a baby with someone. Then I’ll just let her have it.”
Yeah, he said that. My jaw would’ve dropped to the floor if I hadn’t been sobbing and heartbroken for my daughter.
He felt for a vein, but couldn’t find one. “It’s ok, sweetie,” he said to my daughter. “Mom, it is not that serious,” he said to me.
I walked out of there as quickly as I could!
“All done?” Henry asked hopefully. I shook my head. I left her doctor a message that night that Quest could not find a vein. They had suggested going to the hospital so they could use a UV light to see her veins. The nurse called back and also suggested going to the hospital. On Monday we had to try again.
That night she slept all night! She didn’t wake up until 6:30 am. Praise Jesus, hallelujah! I couldn’t believe it! I actually got a good night’s sleep! The same thing happened the next night. She slept the whole night! She was satiated!
Monday afternoon, her nurse called and said her doctor wanted me to do a chest x-ray on her as well.
Okay. I can do that. I know that’s not painful.
Second Try: Hospital
We went to the hospital the nurse had suggested and arrived 20 minutes before closing time. They almost didn’t take us in, but I think the receptionist fell in love with my daughter. When we were finally called, I mentioned the UV light to the blonde lady who was going to examine my daughter.
“We don’t have that here,” she said. “We do it the old-fashioned way; we use our fingers.” She wasn’t rude about it. Just stating fact.
“No problem,” I said. “I was told you guys are experts with drawing blood from children so I trust you guys.”
She couldn’t find a vein.
She tried and she tried, but she couldn’t find it. She called someone else and two other ladies walked in: one tall, one short. The taller one searched for a vein, the other didn’t. The shorter one seemed as though she really wanted to get out of there, but from what I heard, she seemed to be more of the expert.
The taller one said she found a vein.
“You sure?” the shorter one asked.
The taller one hesitated, “Mmm, yeah. You wanna do it?” she asked the blonde lady who had initially checked Evangeline.
“I can’t do it because I did not find a vein,” she said. “I tried and tried, but couldn’t find it. If you can feel one then go ahead,” she told the taller one.
“Ok, you can do this!” the shorter one chanted, then left the room.
The taller lady did not seem confidant to me. This place had a bed where people can lay down to have their blood drawn. Evangeline laid down and at first she was calm, but then she sensed something was up. She started to cry even before they stuck the needle into her arm.
But I held it together. I tried to calm her when they finally did stick the needle.
No blood came out.
So the tall lady pulled the needle back a bit and then moved it to the side. Nothing. Pulled back and moved to the other side. Nada. Pulled back again…
I thought I was going to faint. My daughter was crying her eyes out.
No… blood… came… out…
Defeated, she finally stopped. Everyone was sad for my little girl. I was relieved.
“At least you didn’t cry this time, mommy,” one of them said. I can’t remember which. I had relayed my crying bit about Quest.
They told me to come back the next day before 2 pm when so-and-so would be there. She’s the expert….
I jetted out of there and called Evangeline’s pediatrician again. I left a message. Can we hold off on bloodwork? Can she take a break ‘cuz no one can find a vein!
Is not being able to find a vein hereditary? Because people can never find veins on me. I’ve been bruised numerous times when having to have blood drawn. I also think it depends on the person who is drawing the blood. I’ve had a few people draw my blood and it felt like nothing was happening. No pain, no spilled blood underneath. Felt like heaven. Then I’ve had people insert in the wrong area then jerk the needle higher to find the vein. The last time I had blood drawn while pregnant, I couldn’t even move my arm. So much blood had spilled under my inner elbow.
But, let’s move on. I don’t want to remember that.
Her pediatrician called me that night and I told her everything that happened. She agreed that we could wait until Friday’s visit to see about the bloodwork. She still wanted the chest x-ray though. Not a problem. Chest x-ray would be done the following day. Every day that week my daughter woke up between 5:30-6:30 am, with the exception of one day where she woke up at 10:30 am. Heaven! I would feed her, then she’d go back to sleep, and me too. Sweet slumber.
I took note of all of her feedings, when I would pump, and when I would breastfeed her. Because I continued to give her the breast. I missed it and I knew she missed it too. I liked being that close with her.
Except, now that she was used to getting milk quickly from the bottle, she was getting frustrated with me when my milk came in slowly. She started biting me. Every… time! It really hurt!
Friday’s Follow-Up Visit!
When Friday rolled around, we were super excited about Evangeline’s progress. We just knew she must’ve gained weight because she felt heavier and looked chunkier. I arrived at the doctor’s office and they informed me that her pediatrician wasn’t in that day. They had left messages. I never got them. A different doctor could see her though. Yes, please, I thought. I needed to know her progress. Had the formula made a difference? What did her chest x-ray reveal? Did she still have to have bloodwork?
The nurse came in and she weighed her: in one week she had gained one pound!! I asked the nurse to measure her height as well. I mentioned how she hadn’t grown in three months.
“That’s why I always measure twice,” the nurse stated. “It doesn’t hurt to be sure, mom. I don’t get offended when parents ask me to re-measure their children.” She gave me a smile then informed me she had grown 3/4 of an inch.
“Could she have been measured wrong?” I asked.
“It’s quite possible,” she said before walking out.
The doctor that came in was one we had never dealt with before. She was super nice and understanding. She had spoken over the phone with my daughter’s doctor so she was aware of her situation “Mom, you’re going to be happy with these numbers!” she said, beaming.
Her weight was something I could control, but not her height. I thought that I had stunted her growth, but it seemed that wasn’t the case. “So it shows she’s grown 3/4 of an inch in one week,” I said.
“Not possible,” her doctor cut me off.
“Then she was measured incorrectly,” I said.
“I always like to measure them myself,” she said. She marked her feet and her head on the white tissue paper over the bed, then pulled out her tape measurer. “Yes, she is 26 1/4.”
Last week her nurse had her down as 25 1/2. Three months ago she was 25 1/4.
I hadn’t stunted her growth!!! Huge weight lifted! In three months she had actually grown an inch!!
“I should’ve asked the nurse to measure her again,” I told the doctor.
“Don’t blame yourself! It’s not your fault!” her doctor said.
Yes, but now I’m left wondering, could we have avoided all of those pesky pricking incidents? And the tears? And the guilt?? There were moments where I just wanted to cry when I would look at my daughter because I felt so guilty. If there’s one piece of advice you get from this post, it’s please, if the numbers seem off, get them re-checked!
When I told Daddy all the good news, his first reaction was, “See! I told you she looked taller and chubbier!” He was right all this time!
For now, she doesn’t need anymore blood work done. However, they are a little concerned with her soft muscular tone. They want her to see a neurologist, this would be the second time since she alrea bdy saw one when she was four months. But that’s a post for another day!
The Importance Of Having Your Child(ren) Re-Measured During A Well Visit! is a post that first appeared on the website: Baby Henry Likes on March 11, 2017.