Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Public Enema #1

WARNING: This post deals with poop. If you are not currently responsible for dealing with a small person's intestinal issues, and you are not likely to be soon, you might want to skip this one. For those of you who continue, you might want to put that sandwich down. 

Okay, so I made it sound worse than it really is. But I know how it is - for those who don't spend their days getting intimate with the ins and outs, the products and byproducts, of another person's digestive tract, you don't want to hear it. The endless poop discussions are a stereotype of parents of young children, but one I have found to be true. In fact, I have never discussed poop so much in my life as I have since becoming a parent. Except for when traveling in South America. But that's a different post.

So today I took bubs to the doctor. I was finally convinced that perhaps the toddler insanity of the last few days might have a basis in something physical after a 1-hour-20-minute-long screaming session last night at bedtime. Turns out that in addition to a likely sinus infection and some swollen lymph nodes indicating the possibility of a new virus in the works, bubs is also pretty backed up. This isn't a surprise given the irregularity of the last ten days, despite my shoveling him full of prune juice and high-fiber everything. But when the doctor felt his tummy and said "Wow, he's got poop all the way up to here," indicating a spot just below the end of his ribcage, I did feel bad for being so annoyed at him last night.

We went to the pharmacy and stocked up. We bought MiraLAX, Little Tummys all-natural laxative drops, and then I pulled out the big guns: liquid glycerin suppositories. Now when Elan was much younger, we had a period when he would get constipated frequently, especially whenever we traveled. (Yet another of the things I never knew B.C.: how often constipation is a problem for small children, and how much it disrupts Life In General.) Mikhail and I became experts at what we dubbed "the baby enema" which is actually just a little tube full of liquid glycerin that you shoot up there, with truly astonishing results.

The first time we did it, we were driven by desperation. My father, a pediatrician, had recommended it since nothing else was working. But we were first-timers, and we were nervous. I remember setting the baby on our bed, several layers of cloth diapers underneath him. We put him in diaper-wipe position. I held his legs; Mikhail inserted and squeezed. Then we quickly put the diaper back on and waited, full of fascinated horror. Nothing.
"Maybe we didn't get enough in," I said.
"Just wait," he said.
"What if it all ran out? I'm going to check."
I donned the headlamp, undid the diaper, and got down to tuckus-level to check it out. Just then, a big fart came rushing out of said little tuckus.
"Get out, get out!" Mikhail yelled. I pulled back, having visions of the headlamp going dark as the poop hit. 
He fumbled with the diaper.
"Hurry! Incoming!" I yelled, trying to help.
Just as we refastened the diaper, the onslaught came.
Baby bubs looked happy.
We looked at each other. And dissolved in laughter.

We had not had to give a baby enema in a long while. My skills were rusty, and I wasn't even sure it would work anymore. But my little guy was uncomfortable, and I needed a break from constant fuss, and I remembered the instant relief of past applications. So after a phone pep talk with Mikhail, I rolled up my sleeves, distracted bubs with a video, and did it so fast he didn't even have time to cry. It seemed like hardly any liquid went in, but by now I know better than to investigate too thoroughly. I put the diaper back on, and within minutes, heard the unmistakable pop of poop explosion hitting diaper.

Five minutes later, cleaned up and wrapped in a blanket in his stroller, he drank a bottle dosed with MiraLAX and promptly passed out. It is a great thing, as a parent, when you get to fix the problem. At least for now. I walked along, enjoying my Super-Mommy buzz.

Of course check with your own pediatrician. But I'm telling you: keep one of these in your medicine cabinet. Just in case. 

This post title brought to you by Mikhail. I would never come up with that.

1 comment:

  1. So true about poop and you know how many times I've had to stop myself from putting the word "poop" into a Facebook status update???