Delayed Bone Age: Constitutional Growth Delay in Children

I just want to preface this post by saying this: I haven’t told many people about this situation as I really, really don’t want Kye to know about any of it. While I’m totally fine with discussing it and truly appreciate the prayers, I’d really appreciate everyone respecting that boundary of not letting Kye overhear anything being discussed or anything like that. I have specifically avoided having him on any prayer lists as I don’t want him to hear people praying for him and be scared when it’s not needed. Thanks!


I’m a big fan of the kids having dual appointments…it gets it all over with at one time and even if they were separate appointments they’d still both have to be at each one so why not do them together? Well…because if one of your kids needs a little more attention with something it would be nice not to have them both there so you can JUST focus on the child in need.

During the craziness of Kye’s 4 year and Britt’s 15 month check-ups Kelly asked us what Kye’s height had been at his three-year appointment. Um, I have no clue? She made a note and said that with looking at Zach and at Britt’s growth rate that she wanted to double check his chart and just see. She popped her head back in at the end of the appointment (which is, of course, meltdown time haha) and said that she wanted Kye to have a bone scan done. What?

I was totallllly caught off guard and really didn’t even know what was happening. She said he had gone from exactly 37 inches at his 3 year appointment to exactly 39 at his four year and while it’s the two inches they like to see in growth, it was right at that two-inch marker and that she thought we needed to have the scan to just check things out.

I’ve seen Kelly enough times where I feel like I can read her a bit and I could tell she was legit about this. Zach even asked if it was necessary and she said yes and that if we went ahead and took him that day that it would be good so she could have the results back sooner.

Being that it was already a crazy day with the appointment I decided not to take Kye that day for the scan and called South Georgia Medical Center and they told me the scan department was open first thing in the morning so I packed the kids breakfast and we went up there first thing the next morning.

I wanted it done as quickly as possible! I knew we’d know results quickly and I didn’t want to worry myself over anything…but at the same time, I COMPLETELY trust Kelly. She was the one who just glanced at Kye’s privates and said he’d need his surgery. Which most people don’t catch that issue until their children are much older.

She’s sharp and she knows her stuff and when she says to do something, you better bet I’m going to take her seriously.

I didn’t go overboard with my research but I AM a person who finds comfort in KNOWLEDGE. I know people always say not to use Google, but Google is the FIRST place I go. In the research, I did I learned that the left hand is x-rayed and from that hand, they can tell so much about a person’s growth.

It shows how tall they will be and at what point they will stop growing. It gives a reading of bone age. Going into the appointment I just told Kye they would be doing a cool scan of his hand. It worked out great b/c NO ONE was there so we got right back and they were super sweet.

Since I had Britt Kye had to go in the x-ray room alone but the lady was so nice to let us come in with him before and look at everything so he’d feel comfortable. She went on and on about how awesome he was b/c he stood so still when she took the scan. You know me, I straight up asked if there was any way we could see it…and she said yes!!! It was neat to see as I’ve never gotten to see an x-ray before and Kye thought that was cool.

Showing off his hospital bracelet, I love Britt in the background of this one haha

It was a Friday morning when we got the scan done so I knew we wouldn’t know anything for a few days. I tried not to worry but I couldn’t help it. I mean it’s my KID ya know? I spent that weekend “spoiling” him a little, and I was SO thankful that I had decided not to go on the girl’s trip! I let him pick what we’d eat, cuddling him with extra loving, etc. I just wanted to SAVOR that time.

I felt confident that he was fine. I mean he wears a size 4t and that’s the normal size for his age. He’s one of the shorter ones in his class but not the shortest. Heck, Zach may be almost 6’6″ but I’m barely 5’2″. So maybe he will just be on the short side, it doesn’t mean anything is wrong!

I kept reminding myself of those things but also remembering our beach trip with Seth and Crissy and how right when we got back is when Titus started having his breath holding spells. I remember Crissy saying that the beach trip we went on will always be precious to her because it was the time before anything was wrong. And that weekend could be my time to cherish. The last days of not knowing something was amiss, ya know? So while I didn’t overly worry…I also made a conscious effort to appreciate that weekend!

That Tuesday night Zach was out of town and I thought it’d be fun to treat the kids to Zaxby’s after swim lessons. We were standing in the line ordering when my phone rang and it was Dr. Griner’s office. I answered it even though we were standing at the counter and it was our turn. The girls taking our order could tell something was wrong and they were so sweet. They gave Kye a cookie and talked and talked with him and Britt.

The lady on the other end told me that Kye’s scan came back and that his bone age is showing that of a two-year-old instead of a four-year-old. Even though I knew he was having the scan done, I REALLY believed it was going to be nothing. I was in straight up shock and didn’t even know how to respond. Bones the age of a two-year-old? What the heck does that mean?!?!?

I know I asked her and she said that Dr. Griner’s office would be scheduling us an appointment to go to Tallahassee to meet with Dr. Wright who is a specialist. I asked if she knew from the scan how tall he will be since I’d read online that the scan could show them that information and she said she didn’t know anything other than the results she had told me.

I mean the only thing I could think to say was “he’s going to be okay, right? I mean this isn’t serious, right?” and she said that it’s not highly uncommon for their office to refer people to Dr. Wright so that I shouldn’t worry. Duh. I worried!!!

I mean I was at Zaxby’s and could barely eat my food. I have no clue what happened the rest of that night other than that I stayed up researching all I could find. Bone age younger than actual age is a symptom of a million different things.

Like a long list of things for each letter of the alphabet that growth delay is a symptom of. I wasn’t looking to scare myself to death, I just wanted to find enough basic information to know what we were potentially dealing with. I finally found this website and it provided JUST the right amount of information for me. It kept it simple and was easy to understand.

Basically, our options were:

1) Kye will simply be a “late bloomer.” He’s healthy, and totally fine but will continue to grow after his peers stop growing. So he may not hit puberty as early but will even out by adulthood in height and such.

2) Again, he’s perfectly healthy but he will just be short. Nothing medically wrong or anything but he will possibly be just shorter than his peers and never reach “tall” adult height.

3) Growth disorder. Something is medically wrong, most likely it would be with the thyroid or hormone issues and they would probably discuss the option of growth hormone injections.

Narrowing it down to those three choices made me feel a lot better. I’m short and my dad isn’t super tall and my mom’s dad wasn’t tall at all and even Mrs. Charlotte’s dad is not tall. So he could just end up being short…which who CARES?!?! Then we have Zach who actually (this will surprise you) was a late bloomer! Dude wasn’t super mega tall until high school and he continued growing after high school. I felt pretty good about it being option one or two.

However, that option three still weighed heavy on my heart and I was anxious about the Tallahassee appointment.

I did a little research into the growth hormone stuff and it freaked me out. It’s injections. Daily. Um. I have my babies drug free because I’m afraid of needles…I don’t think I want to be injecting my child every day! I can’t imagine hurting him and putting hormones into his body. All the stuff I found out about it made me scared. There isn’t much known as far as long term effects it could have and I just prayed that we wouldn’t have to go that route.

His appointment was on Tuesday, March 26th. I’m thankful we didn’t have to wait months and months to be seen but it still felt like an eternity. I did NOT tell Kye anything was abnormal, I just told him that we would get to have a special Kye day with just Mommy and Daddy and go to Tallahassee.

He was pumped to get to watch a movie in the car and then G-Mama came over to keep Britt and she brought him a little pack of motorcycles so he was in Heaven. It happened to also be the day I had to go start my pre-op stuff for my foot surgery (yes, our lives have been CRAZY lately) so we had to rush rush rush to get back from Tally in time for my early afternoon appointment!

We left for Tally first thing in the morning and got there 30 minutes before the office even opened. I was glad to be the first appointment of the day. I don’t think my nerves could stand waiting any longer!!! The type of specialist we were seeing was an endocrinologist and from what my research could tell it would most likely be a light meet-and-greet type of appointment.

I asked when I made the appointment if they could tell me what all would be going on in case I needed to prepare Kye (I know they do a LOT of testing and things when deciding about growth hormones and such). They told me their office doesn’t do any type of blood work so I knew he would be totally fine the whole time!

I also tried to stop saying things like “someday you’ll be as big as Daddy!” as I don’t want him to have this expectation that may very well not be possible. I even told him “you know Kye, it’s okay if maybe when you grow up you aren’t as tall as Daddy is right?” He said “Yes ma’am…I don’t care if I’m as tall as Daddy b/c I KNOW I’m going to be BIGGER and TALLER than Daddy!” Guess that plan didn’t work too well 😉

When we got back they took his height and weight. I didn’t even pay attention to the weight (it was 35.8 lbs if you’re interested) but they did his height three separate times as it was important to make sure it was accurate. And every time she got the same reading: 39 1/2 inches. At his appointment a few weeks prior he’d only been 39 inches…it was so crazy that day at Dr Griner’s that I’m sure the nurse who measured him was just in a ru

sh and didn’t catch that extra 1/2 an inch but when you’re dealing with growth delay issues, that 1/2 inch matters!

Prior to the appointment, I tried to gather as much info on Kye as I could. I read back through my blog (such a blessing to have SO many details of his life!) and I even had Mrs. Charlotte type up some info on Zach. Mr. Rusty actually grew 4-5 inches in a 6 week time period when he was 15 years old. Zach had issues when he was 12-13 years old where his legs hurt all the time. They did x-rays that showed he was growing. When he was 15 years old he was 5’9″ and seven months later her was 6’2″!

I also wrote down when Kye got his first tooth (8 months old, he was a very slow teether…at Britt’s age he had 5 teeth and she has 12!). He was also slower to walk for the first time (14 months). I’m so glad I wrote both of those things down as the paperwork we filled out asked those questions! It also asked for mine and Zach’s heights, if we continued growing after high school, and when I started my period for the first time.

When Dr. Wright came in she was SO nice and it was obvious that she really knows her stuff. Here is what we learned at the appointment (and yes, I took notes AS she was talking to us haha):

  • The average male is 5’9″ tall and the average female is 5’4″ tall
  • Zach being 6’5 and 1/2 inches tall is in the 95th percentile for height
  • I’m 5’2″ tall and am in the 25th percentile for height
  • Based off our heights Kye should grow to be somewhere between 5’9″ tall and 6’3″ tall, meaning he will still be taller than average
  • Right now at four years old and 39.5 inches tall he’s considered in the 30th percentile for his height.
  • The “issue” at hand isn’t his height right now, it’s the fact that our combined heights give him a range where you would expect him to be in the higher percentage of height right now (like Colt and Payton both have tall parents so they are already super tall!)
  • Kye “should” be in the 50th-90th percentile for height rather than the 30th

She did an exam and explained to us that she feels he is a “loyal son” (she literally said the term “loyal son” like 15 times haha). Zach was a late bloomer. He was never one of the tallest kids in the class until later in life. He continued growing after high school. Most likely Kye is just taking after him!

What’s really interesting is when we mentioned Britt and how she has SO many teeth, is in a higher percentile for height, etc. Dr. Wright said that most like she’s a “loyal daughter.” It’s funny, but I was actually an early bloomer. I had my first period when I was only nine years old.

I remember shaving my armpits in elementary school and needing to wear deodorant in like second or third grade. I was actually one of the taller ones in my class as a young kid and stopped growing at a young age as well (I’ve been wearing the same size shoes forever).

Dr. Wright said that Zach and I are just polar opposites with our development and that I’m actually the one that more than likely had some issues that should have been addressed. My bone age was more than likely older than what it should have been which means my hormones were more active at a young age and that I “should have” been 2-3 inches taller than I am now.

Isn’t it strange to think that Kye is “short” now but will probably be tall as an adult and that Britt is “tall” now but will most likely be shorter as an adult?!?! It’s so backward from what I had expected to be hearing!!!

Dr. Wright feels VERY confident that Kye is 100% healthy and fine and will just be that late bloomer. It was news we were SO thankful to hear! However, with the strong autoimmune issues in the bloodline and with my mom’s thyroid history she wanted to do extensive lab work to just test him for everything under the sun.

She said we could have the labs done at home and to also have the hospital send his bone scan directly to her so she could review it herself. She wanted us to come back in one month to review everything and discuss a plan of action. She said she expects it all to be 100% fine and for us just to closely monitor his growth and probably do a similar bone scan every couple years and possibly do a visit with her every couple years as well just to monitor everything.

She had SUCH wonderful things to say about Dr. Griner’s office and I couldn’t agree more. I am for sure sending Kelly a personalized thank you. Just like with Kye’s surgery, Kelly caught this SO EARLY. Most of the time kids are around 6-8 when they catch the private issues he was having. With growth delays, most people don’t realize anything is amiss until their child is the shortest one in the class and is supposed to be in puberty.

So like middle school age!!! Isn’t that CRAZY how Kelly had that hunch to get the bone scan and then she was right that he does have a growth delay??? I’m so, so thankful for her and will never ever question or doubt her!!!

Zach and I both felt a HUGE relief after our appointment. Zach even felt excited! I mean she said she expects him to be at least 5’9″ and possibly up to 6’3″!!! That’s pretty awesome news when we went into it worrying we’d hear things about growth hormones or looking at our son only being 5’6″ or something.

This time period of worrying and praying really made me realize how God puts things on our hearts. I remember as a kid I would pray EVERY night for my parents not to divorce. When they did divorce I didn’t understand why God didn’t answer that prayer.

Since Kye was born I’ve had this little worry in the back of my mind about his height. I don’t know if it’s because I’m short and I didn’t want to give Zach a short son and “ruin the athletic gene pool” or if it’s because I didn’t want my son to be worried about always being compared to his Daddy. But I always kinda worried about it.

And now I realize that God was preparing my heart for all of this. And it made me realize that that’s the same thing with my parents’ divorce too. He heard all of those prayers. And maybe I was praying about it b/c it was something He put on my heart to help me be prepared for when it did happen.

Now, I’m not AT ALL worried about Kye’s height. If he’s 5’6″ I don’t care and I know Zach doesn’t either. We just want to hear that his height is our only concern and that all the labs come back COMPLETELY clean! A healthy boy is the #1 goal, a tall adult would just be a bonus 🙂

Since I had to go to the hospital to meet with the anesthesiologist as a part of my pre-op procedure I took Kye with me to get his labs done. First of all, I wish they wouldn’t show the news on all the tvs in the waiting rooms. I had to stand up and physically block Kye from seeing all the violence and nudity.

I was disgusted! It did give me an opportunity to talk to Kye about how the Devil will put temptations in our past and that we can fight him by resisting those temptations and at that moment the temptation was the tv!

I was told it’d be a quick in-and-out situation but instead we were there for TWO HOURS. I was so, so proud of Kye as he behaved beautifully.

I knew it would just be one prick for the blood work but I didn’t realize it was going to be so much blood. 5 vials of it!!! He sat in my lap and didn’t cry when they poked him but seeing the blood come out scared him. I could feel that he was holding back tears and it took soooo long to draw it all. I told him it was okay to cry and he just buried his sweet little face in my chest and sobbed.

It was THE most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever experienced yet as a parent. The nurses couldn’t get over how tough he was and they showered him with praise and lots and lots of prizes! We then met with my anesthesiologist and Kye was so cute and confused about how funny he talked (he was British haha).

Twin Hospital Bracelets!

We have been in the waiting stage for over a month now. We go back to Tallahassee this coming Monday (April 29th) to meet with Dr. Wright again and go over the bone scan as well as all of the lab work. While I’m pretty nervous about it all, I’m also relieved to KNOW. With Mrs. Charlotte and Courtney both having autoimmune issues it’s traceable in the family line and it typically goes through the father’s side.

So Mrs. Charlotte’s grandmother (her Dad’s mom) had it and Mrs. Charlotte’s aunt had it (her dad’s sister). Now Mrs. Charlotte has it and Courtney has it. So…if genetics are correct then that would mean that our children would be affected as well as their children. While I never dwell on any of that (it is what it is, it’s not like I would go back and not have kids just b/c there is a chance of this affecting them!) if will be comforting to have the lab results and, most likely, be able to say “whew” one kid in the clear!

We are confident that Dr. Wright is right (haha) and that Kye is perfectly healthy and will just hit puberty a little later than his peers. She actually even said that it would be a good thing since he will most likely be taller than average because he will be normal height with his peers and then shoot up and be much taller than them towards the end of high school.

This will help him avoid being teased for being tall at younger ages, but he may also not have his voice change as young as others and things like that too. Really, I’m NOT concerned about Kye getting “teased.” We shower our children in love and affection and I know he will be strong enough in himself as a son of the Lord to not let those kinds of things bother him. We ALL get teased (hello, he’s got a big head like his mama and I got teased a TON for it growing up!) and we ALL have to learn to deal with it. If that’s the worst of our concerns then I will count it all JOY!!!

Please pray for us and our appointment on Monday and that everything IS fine and clear and that we can move past this with no more worries on our hearts. Kye’s been a little spoiled this past month for sure…I just can’t help it! I want to hold him and love on him so much and want to protect him from any potential harm. It’s that natural mama instinct I’m sure! This time has been such a good lesson for us all…to truly cherish each moment and to try not to let the Devil steal our joy or fill our heads with worry. We trust in the Lord with all of our hearts and know that through Him we can face anything!

UPDATE: You can read the update to this post here!


  1. Katie Roberts
    April 25, 2013 / 6:09 pm

    What an ordeal! That's all really interesting about Britt's growth/development pattern following yours and Kye's following Zach's. Praying all will be well at the follow up!

  2. Bobbi
    April 25, 2013 / 11:12 pm

    Good luck Monday I will be thinking of you all. I'm sure all is well and ther are a lot worse tings tan auto immune issues so don't worry before you need to.

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