Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Iron Poo and Potty Terrors

The quickest version of the story (and I need quick since we're so far behind...) is that the iron supplements the doctors have been insiting we give Grasshopper made her poo do it's best to turn into actual hunks of iron. The poo got to be so hard it hurt her to poo, and in a perfect world, we would have figured this out instantly and put her onto a stool softener (Miralax, which is what my sister-in-law, who is a pediatrician, recommended.)

What happened is that she began despising her potty -- at first she wouldn't sit down for longer than five seconds, and with time, the sight of it made her howl. We thought she had a urinary tract infection, and we went to the doctor. Of course, she wasn't up to peeing in a bottle, and so the nurses in the office tried to catheterize our already nearly-demented-by-anger baby. The moment they stuck the catheter tube in she managed to send a stream of urine directly into the nurse's hair, and to poo on the table. Oh so embarassing for mommy and daddy and nurse, mildly ameliorating for baby.

Because the world works this way, we were at the night clinic because the next evening -we were scheduled to get on a flight to Virginia. Greendaddy was due to be a groomsman in a wedding that weekend, and we had scheduled a few extra days around that trip so that we could also spend quality time with Greendaddy's brother and his family. We ended up at the night clinic when we realized that Grasshopeer wasn't being suddenly moody about the potty, and that there was a real problem. Unfortunatley, the doctor on duty had enough time to tell us he didn't think it was a UTI, but not enough time to help us figure out what was really at issue.

Since Greendaddy's brother M. and sister-in-law V. are both doctors -- she is a pediatrician, even -- we figured we'd get on the plane, despite the fact that the cream the doctor had given us hadn't helped Grasshopper feel a smidgeon better. Our trip to Virginia was tear-filled and painful for Grasshopper, Greendaddy and I were stressed and ready to strangle each other because of it, and our family was gifted the pleasure of five days of ailing, suffering two-year-old screams and matching edgy parents. After a few days there, however, V. realized that though Grasshopper was peeing regularly -- though unhappily -- she had stopped pooing altogether, and we went out and bought the MiraLax.

By the time we got home, Grasshopper was regular again. But she didn't lose her fear of the potty. She still refused to sit on it.

You have to understand that this was the first time in her life that she ever really regularly used diapers. We caught her poo and pee in a bucket from the time she was two weeks old, and as I've written before, there were less than a dozen missed poos in the last year -- almost none since she was old enough to walk to the potty and sit down on it.

In Virginia, we actually used paper diapers for the first time, because sometime in August we had sold most of her diapers and started putting her in training pants. The trainers were too thin to sustain all the peeing and pooing she was up to. Grasshoppre soiled diapers the whole weekend.

When we got back to Houston, though, we had enough spare, old diapers to switch her back over to cloth -- a move she protested, by the way. She was smitten with the absorbent nature of the paper diapers, which made it easy for her to pee and not be uncomfortable. So anybody wondering if cloth diapers really help with regular potty training: Grasshopper's experience suggests a resounding yes.

Of course, even though the cloth diapers were less comfortable when wet, she continued peeing in them for five or six days. In the end, I bribed her: I gave her dark chocolate chips when she sat on the potty, just two or three times, one day, which was enough for her to realize the potty was no longer trying to punish her. She started peeing again. But it took maybe a whole week and a half for her to start pooing in it.

Have I ever mentioned that I haven't carried diaper wipes with me, ever, because we ECd. If she pooed in her diapers at home, during this time, she'd squat and poo, and I'd immediately change her diaper with little mess. But a couple times during this period she pooed in her diaper while we were out -- and the poo got all over her butt, which, again, I have never dealt with with before (not since I babysat). I'd be in the middle of a store and gasp, "Oh my God! My baby just pooed her pants!" and then I'd have to watch people turn from me, to my nearly-two-year old, and then back to me again with this look: Duh, Mommy. What's your problem?

The internet suggested that potty regression is normal, and that it lasts two months. A thought that totally freaked me out, which in turn, made me feel ashamed: ECing isn't about forcing the baby to poo in a potty -- it's about allowing them to do what comes naturally. But since pooing in the potty was so normal for so long, I found it difficult to just be okay with the poo in the diapers. I never raised my voice or got mad at Grasshopper, but I was annoyed, and she knew that.

All this happened in a span of about two and half weeks. She's back to her normal self now, thank God, but we have to figure out a new way to give her Iron. She's not fond of Black Strap Molasses, and though I'm grateful to the MiraLax stool softener, I'm not about to make it part of her regular diet. Any helpful hints will be greatly appreciated.

(PS: Photos from our visit to Virginia -- and actual highlights of the visit -- to follow)


Anonymous said...

I can sympathize, as I too am taking iron supplements. However, being an adult, I can drink half a cup of coffee in the morning, which tends to even things out. Poor kid. I can imagine what she was going through. J

mama k said...

poor girly!
Could you put the molasses in a banana/berry smoothie?

MaGreen said...

good idea, mama k, we'll give it a shot.

Amit said...

Does she eat oatmeal? I put molasses in my breakfast oatmeal/oatbran.