“PUSH!” When Pooping is Like Giving Birth

[highlight]The following blog post is beyond TMI.  If you dislike the words “poop,” “turd,” and “anus” then you will want to close the window.  And if you are wondering, this is about my son and not me.  Baby poop is fine to discuss, adult poop is not.  [/highlight]
A sad faced toddler


About every 5-10 days there is an epic event in the Rosas Household.  We call it “poop day” but that makes it sound normal and routine when in fact it is a major deal that has the whole family scrambling.  My youngest son Everett has “withholding” issues and doesn’t like to poop.  He holds it and holds it until he has no other option but to just let nature take its course.

We know it is “poop day” when he begins acting overly clingy and won’t leave my side.  He is moody, cranky, and not a fun toddler to be around.  His whole demeanor changes and the only solution is going to the bathroom.  When the blessed event finally takes place he runs to my side and wobbles side to side while screaming.  He wants to go but at the same time he doesn’t and he climbs up my body trying to hide from what is coming.

What comes next I can only describe as my son giving birth and me acting as his doula and midwife.  I take a seat on the stool in our bathroom and he leans on me.  While he cries in pain I speak slowly and softly with words of encouragement telling him that he can do it and that by letting it go he will be relieved.  Sometimes I tell him that the reward is worth the effort but in reality that only applies to me because the reward will be getting my son back to normal for a few days.

He leans on me and we sway and chant.  His face and body get soaked with sweat.  Finally it is time for him to go.  I get ready by grabbing toilet paper so that I can “catch” the poop and deposit it into the toilet.  His laboring position is always standing and he refuses the potty.

Most times his biggest hurdle is making it to “poop day” but the event is relatively uneventful once he is forced to go.  Then a few weeks ago things stalled.  Had we been in a delivery room lets just say the doctor would have declared that Ev either a. get an episiotomy, b. have a vacuum extraction, or c. use forceps.  Since I am playing the role of the midwife/doctor in this bathroom I had to think fast when I looked to see that he was giving birth to a turd too big for his little anus.  I ran for latex gloves and vaseline.  Then I found a sterile and brand new thermometer.  In lieu of forceps I had to help him pass this giant poop past skin that was being stretched and pulled outward.  I was terrified and honestly had no idea what I was doing but from reading many books on giving birth I knew that if a baby’s head is stuck behind the “lip” you can pull it to the side.  This seemed close enough.  I hoped that once this portion passed that there would be smooth sailing.

I was excitedly annoucing that it was “right there” and “so close” and even “PUSH!” as things moved past this skin and then the rest came sliding out quickly.  The euphoria in the room was like that of any delivery room.  Relief, excitement, the end of pain, it was all there.  We even had a terrible mess to clean up.  I felt as if someone should have passed out cigars to my husband and I and Everett to celebrate.

Even though in retrospect the entire scene of delivering a 6 pound 2 ounce baby poop is a little funny it certainly isn’t funny to Everett.  I cried with him during the entire process and shed tears of relief and joy when it was done.  It was terrifying seeing what pain he must have been going through and frankly I could relate after reliving my own births and that “ring of fire.”  How scared he must have been.  I completely understand why he continues to avoid pooping but the cycle is vicious and exhausting.

Our life revolves around his bowel movements.  I am always mentally counting down from the last poop wondering how long he will go.  What day will it fall on?  Will it make our trip to the park or a theme park miserable?

I’ve even gone so far as to give him a suppository on his birthday knowing he was due and wanting him to enjoy his special day.  “Happy 2nd Birthday Everett, now bend over and let me give you a special birthday suppository!”  

After consulting our pediatrician we have been giving him Miralax every single day with no results.  He is still breastfeeding and is now a picky eater but those good “fiber” foods have a texture that he doesn’t like.  He will try them but usually chews and then spits them out.  He doesn’t like juice and hardly drinks anything but water and breastmilk.  I realize his diet is not helping things but I can’t force feed him things.

I’ve had to give him a number of suppositories at this point and he even asks for them by pointing to the medicine cabinet.  This isn’t something I should continue nor do I want to but they have been the only thing to make him go and give him relief.

I would be overjoyed if he pooped every day.  I would happily spray out his disgusting toddler diapers if need be.  I haven’t had to spray out a diaper in months because he has gone standing up.  I have no way of knowing if constipation came before withholding or if it is the other way around.  All I know is that my little boy goes through a lot of pain on a regular basis and as a mother it breaks my heart.  I’m so worried that this will cause further damage and that he will run into a lot of trouble with potty training down the line.

At this point I am willing to try almost anything that is safe for Everett.  I know other parents have been through this and if you have, and know of solutions that would be approprite and safe for a 2 year old, I am all ears.  Chiropractors, Voo-doo, I’d try it.  In the grand scheme of things this is a small problem and so many others face bigger problems.  Still, seeing my baby scream in fear and pain is more than I can take and I need to make him comfortable and regular again.

***FYI I am planning on taking him back to the doctor if things don’t start moving soon with her method but I’d like to hear what others have done and run these by my pediatrician as well.  Also, my husband is going to kill me for posting this.  He doesn’t even like when I say the word poop.  Dear Everett, if you find this post in the Internet’s past, rest assured everyone who saw it has already forgotten it and you won’t be recognized in public as the boy who can’t poop.  I hope.  

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