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Send In The Fleet

Warning: This article is all about poop.

So Maddie’s been constipated for about two weeks now.

Figured out the title yet?

Right around the time we went strawberry picking, we spent several
days out-of-doors for extended periods of time, in ninety-degree
heat. We all got a bit dehydrated, and pooping got a little, um,

If you’ve been with me for a while,
you know that Maddie’s got pooping Issues. When she started
solid foods she went nearly a month without pooping, which was not
fun for any of us. Since then she’s tended towards
constipation, partly because she’s naturally that way but
mostly because she’s afraid of pooping: she remembers the
pain and doesn’t want to repeat that. So if the poop looks at
all “challenging”, she tries her mightiest to hold it
in, and will be successful for up to a few days.

I’m not big on medical intervention, especially in this sort
of situation; laxatives will only get the body even more out of
shape and lazy in the poopy arena, if you know what I mean. So when
we hit one of these periods we simply throw even more fruit down
Maddie’s throat, with a healthy dose of prunes or pears when
possible, and things generally straighten themselves out. As a
last-ditch effort, we’ll give Maddie a spoonful of mineral
oil at night and the next day things slide right out.

But this last round was monumental, and required Significant

She went a few days successfully holding it in before we hit the
mineral oil, the result of which was a small movement the next
morning. I knew, though, that there was more in the pipeline. If ya
know what I mean. Sure enough, she began clenching again that same
day, defiantly refusing egress. A few days later, I reluctantly
gave her more mineral oil.

The next day, nada. Nothing. Zip.

By this point I was pretty sure Maddie was grimly determined to
NEVER GO POOPY AGAIN. You could see it in her eyes every time her
body began arguing with her. She’d run into a bathroom
– or anywhere she could have some privacy – and scream
and fight, and finally emerge victorious, still Queen of her
castle, still master of her domain. Tuesday night I gave one more
dose of mineral oil, and when nothing happened on Wednesday we
called the doctor.

Keep in mind that the whole time, we’d been a veritable
pooping pep squad for Maddie, encouraging her, threatening her,
bribing her, everything. And for her part, she got to where she
truly believed she was willing to “let the poopy out”,
though her body proved otherwise each time. She was waking up
several times a night, and her poor little belly hung out over her
pants like a frat boy at a kegger. She’d look at us with
those beseeching eyes, crying, “the poopy won’t come
out, Mommy! I AM trying to let it out, I AM!” Enough to break
your heart.

So when the doctor said “fleet enema”, I was frankly
relieved. I’d warned Maddie that if she didn’t poopy on
Wednesday we’d have to see the doctor, anticipating such a
situation and explaining it carefully to her so she’d be
prepared for the scary procedure. Apparently I’d prepped her
well, since when the doctor returned my call, Maddie cheerfully
reminded me to “make sure you tell the doctor she has to
stick a tube up my hiney, Mommy!”

The good news was that we could do it ourselves, and that we
should, pronto.

The bad news was that we could do it ourselves, and should, pronto.

Even though we’d explained it Maddie was still frightened, as
I imagine I would be. She was incredibly brave, holding still and
not fighting us. The box said it would work in one to five minutes,
so we sat back to wait. When I was given an enema to induce labor,
the nurse had instructed me to hold it for as long as I could
before releasing. Thinking smugly of my Pilates-built pelvic floor,
I asked when I should release it if I never “had” to.
“We’d like you to hold at least five minutes, but shoot
for ten. Nobody makes it to fifteen minutes.” I made it to
eight minutes.

Maddie lasted half an hour.

Yes, four minutes into it she had the urge but successfully shut
down that operation. So we ended up waiting a full half-hour before
she couldn’t fight it any more, and I think it only worked
then because we made her knees stay bent.

Afterwards, Maddie was so proud that she walked around bragging
about how she’d “let the poopy all come out, and
didn’t stop it at all!” She slept straight through the
night, and woke up Thursday morning with a decidedly lighter spring
in her step.

We’re taking some precautions to hope this doesn’t
happen again, and crossing our fingers that she will look more
favorably on voluntary voiding now that she knows what the
alternative is. Lord help us.


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