Noah has always been on his own schedule. He put me through a slow progressing 14-hour labor before deciding he was suddenly ready to appear with no medical staff in the room! He was on his own schedule smiling for the first time at 12 weeks, he didn’t sit until he was over 7 months old, and he rolled instead of crawled until 9 months old. While doctors always encourage parents not to compare their children; it is difficult when you know your child is showing signs of delays. I tried to look at his progress instead of asking, what’s wrong?
To make matters worse, Noah was only 6 months old when I first noticed his trembling hands. As he would excitedly reach for toys, the shaking was so significant at times that he would become frustrated. It wasn’t long before his grandparents noticed and began asking “what’s wrong with Noah?”
At 11 months old, I first brought my concerns up to his doctor. We agreed to watch it because tremors in young babies are often normal— just a sign of muscular immaturity. At that time, there was a different concern; Noah wasn’t talking. NOTHING—no words at all. No babbling. Having his hearing formally evaluated was the priority. Additionally, Noah wasn’t crawling properly, instead he had a cute army-style crawl, and he was not pulling up to stand.
Noah passed his hearing test two months later, but still didn’t speak. When we had his next physical—at 15 months old—it was undeniable that the tremor hadn’t resolved as we hoped. What’s wrong with my baby!?!? While he now crawled properly, he was only just starting to pull-up to stand. There were no signs of independent walking, or even walking with assistance. When I put all that together the alarm bells were going off. I needed to know what’s wrong. Many referrals were ordered that day. Speech because he didn’t speak, physical therapy because he didn’t walk, and neurology for the tremor in addition to his developmental delays.
As much as I wanted to just ignore the hand tremor and be patient with his development, in my heart I knew seeing a specialist to confirm his health was important. What I wasn’t planning on was for the world to stop due to a pandemic. Suddenly getting him seen went from tough to impossible. I needed to know what was wrong.
I spent hours/days/weeks on the phone with our insurance company and the specialists. Finally, we saw neurology when he was 17 months old. I was convinced we would walk out with a clean bill of health. However, minutes into the physical exam it was clear his doctor was concerned. She even brought in a second doctor to confer. At the end of the appointment Noah had been diagnosed with central hypotonia (weak abdominal muscles), increased tone in his arms, diminished reflexes in his legs, and she confirmed the tremor in both hands. We also set forth a plan.
While the delays could just be his unique path, we need to rule out genetic causes, metabolic causes, and make sure his brain is normal. What does this mean? How do we find out what’s wrong? Lots of blood tests, a urine test, and an MRI of his brain were ordered. Essentially, the specialist wants to make sure he is digesting everything properly and he doesn’t have an underlying cause for the concerns we are seeing.
As I sit here typing I still do not have answers to what’s wrong, but what I do know is no matter the answer—Noah will always be my rainbow baby. He is pure sunshine and we love him with everything within us!
To read more about our miscarriages and journey of loss, click HERE.
Thanks for stopping by!
Dr. Patricia Bast was born and raised in Southern California. After earning her bachelors degree at UC Irvine, she went on to graduate medical school from Touro University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Northern California. She then returned home to Southern California and became a resident in Pediatrics at Loma Linda Children’s Hospital. Dr. Bast is now raising her children and loves working part-time at a pediatric clinic, watching her patients grow and thrive.