Last night was one of our worst battles ever.
Nope, not between the hubby and I. Not between us and Angel either.
But the three of us vs. the poor girl's constipation.
Arggghhh. Even the sound of that word irks me.
Since Day 1 when Angel was born, she was already suffering from constipation.
No joke. We all hear about how newborns poop like 8-10 times a day. But the very first night at the hospital, she got into a crying fit that no amount of breastfeeding, burping or comforting could help. As helpless as most new parents were, we resorted to asking the midwife for help.
All we saw was her taking the thermometer despite us telling her that Angel didn't have a fever.
Then lo and behold, without so much a word, she inserted the thermometer not into our baby's mouth but anus instead.
Within two seconds, all the poop that was stuck came out and the crying stopped.
Instantly, the midwife became a savior in our eyes.
That was probably the omen of what was to come.
While our girl didn't suffer from any severe case of constipation, she would still feel it once in a while and well, it's obvious because you can tell from her eyes, her frown, her reddened face and how hard she tried to 'gek' (force it to come out).
Thankfully for the existence of prunes, which usually loosens her hard stools, eases her pain and chases away the 'C' word before it comes back to hit her again.
Alas in the past couple of weeks, it seems to be getting from bad to worse.
The poor girl now pees in the potty just perfectly but every time she needs to poop, she runs away from the potty as if it was a monster.
She resists if you try to force her to go to the toilet, sit on the potty, carry her or even ask her to open her legs. Not even the hubby can make her because she breaks down as if it was the end of the world.
To make things worse, there is always blood in her stools. Ouch.
We see how she struggles. How she shrieks. How she moans. How she cries.
And you know what, it simply breaks my heart.
Last night, we had a 2-hour battle at midnight. My girl tried, she really did. So so so hard. She held my hands, she garnered force, she pushed as hard as she could but after 2 long gruelling hours, nothing came out.
We persuaded her to go to the bath tub so we could try use water to wash her bottom because the hubby swore that was what he did. Of course, at that moment, Angel didn't want to do anything but stand still and so we had to resort to us brute force.
Another hour in the tub. Another round of pushing, trying, moaning, shouting, crying.
To the extent the hubby commented "It's as if she's giving birth to a baby". Indeed. The way she held my hands, the way she seemed to feel the 'contractions' and pushed during those minutes, the way she whined, the way the tears fell from her face, it brought me back to 21 Nov 2009, the day I became a mum.
And gosh did I feel like a lousy one tonight.
After our futile attempts, we went back to the bedroom, lay her on the bed, distracted her with a video while trying to use a baby wipe to feel, and tickle, her anus. The hubby exclaimed "I can feel the sh**!" Just that it refused to come out.
Eventually, the girl was so tired that she fell asleep.
But after one hour, it started all over again. She woke up in pain, cried and cried while trying to force it out.
I started weeping and to some point lost my sanity and told the hubby "Shall we bring her to the doctor?" Which he refused because there is no 24-hour clinic here and the only choice was the A&E at the hospital which judging from experience, could take up to few hours of wait.
The hubby carried Angel, paced around the house, tried to soothe her and told me to go make milk.
Which I did. With my hair, my face, my heart all in a mess. I was crying so badly I couldn't even make out the powder scoop. All I was thinking was : My baby is in pain and I'm not doing anything to help her.
Thankfully, the milk did help and the three of us managed to tide through a poor night's sleep.
If every story has a happy ending, ours would be that she finally won the battle at 9am this morning. Hip hip hooray!
I was more proud of her than I was relieved. My brave little one.
Looking back, it's not like prunes is the secret formula to battling constipation. To be fair, we do let her eat green vegetables and fruits, we train her to use the potty and we let her drink plenty of water. I did some research yesterday and learnt something new.
- Constipation tends to run in the family
- It may start in infancy and remain as a lifetime pattern
- Stool retention occurs commonly between ages two and five when a child is coming to terms with independence
- If a child withholds, his rectum stretches and does not need to defecate until the stool is too big to be passed without the help of laxative or other treatment
I'm pretty sure my girl is now withholding her stools from time to time because of the fear and pain associated with it. Which is worrying.
I try my best to illustrate the cause and effect in layman's terms to her, I try to make her sit on the potty every day and even placed her favourite Winnie the Pooh bear on a 'mini potty' beside her, I talk to her, I encourage her, I let her eat a healthy diet, I make her drink water, and I swear I'll be there for her whenever she needs me.
That's all I can do, is it?
I will bring her to the nurse too but we already know what her advice will be from experience.
Eat more prunes!
I always knew how my heart laughs and cries with her. And I felt it again last night.
Way to go my darling, let's go and stock up on more prunes tomorrow, ok?