Who doesn’t love a good constipation story? This is a labour story (kind of) that I wrote for Kidspot
My partner and I hadn’t gone out for a meal together since our 2-year-old was born. And with another child arriving soon, we decided to have one last supper (a very early supper due to both of us routinely being catatonically tired by 6pm) so that we could have some ‘us’ time before sh*t hit the fan.
On the morning of our big date, my 7-month-distended belly felt a bit…er, blocked up, shall we say? Considerably blocked, actually, but I was sure it would pass. Just another one of pregnancy’s funny little quirks that didn’t mean anything.
We arrived at the café and eyeballed the menu. Intellectually I knew that everything would be wonderful, but my stomach felt too compromised to be accepting new goods. Rather than force anything, I gulped down a black tea and, certain that I’d be hungry in an hour, requested an adjournment.
An hour later we entered another eatery. I would feel fine. No, I must feel fine. This was our one time slot to romance each other. A quick trip to the restroom would set things right. I excused myself to powder my nose. Five minutes of intense nose powdering became ten, which became twenty-five. When, after thirty minutes, my partner texted me to see if I’d fallen in, it was my grave duty to inform him that we’d run out of time and had to collect our toddler from childcare.
Of course, by then I knew. I was constipated. And not your run of the mill constipation – this felt like constipation cubed. Like I had a week’s worth of meals queued up on the digestive conveyer belt. Like I had to lay an ostrich egg but couldn’t. I felt sweaty, weak and delirious. Embarrassed too.
When we arrived home, I tried to keep up appearances for the toddler and my concerned beau, but my forced laughter and ashen complexion were fooling no one. I limped back to the lav, hoping for a result. Surely the home ground advantage would help. But … nothing. Sweet Jesus, what had I done to deserve this? Did my diet, rich in soluble fibre, leafy greens and BBQ Shapes, count for nothing?
When my partner popped his head in to check I was all right, I wasn’t. I was curled up on the bathmat. He urged me to see the doctor. For constipation? Surely, they’d just point to the bottom of the food pyramid and give me a lecture on wholegrains.
More horrible time passed. I tried using positive visualisation (putting logs on a fire), chanting affirmations (my body was designed to do this) and singing Disney’s Let it go, but nothing was budging. Plus, as my partner and toddler might actually need to use the toilet some time that day, I concluded that professional help was needed. I couldn’t live like this.
The GP was a 250-metre walk away. Would my Mount Krakatoa moment occur on the way there, or worse, in the waiting room? But I had no choice. With quivering legs, I made it to the foyer of my apartment block before I had to check into the WC. Negative. So, on I lumbered, legs wide like an egg-bound cowboy, clomping one unsteady foot in front of the other. I could see the surgery in the distance, like a beautiful grey-brick mirage.
Then a keen-to-chat neighbour appeared. Gawd. I did my best to exchange pleasantries about the weather. Then the unthinkable happened: she went in for a hug. Not a light diagonal shoulder tap, but a meaningful, full-squeeze bear hug. I clenched my cheeks and held on for dear life.
Into the doctor’s surgery I fell, with guts intact, though barely able to extract my Medicare card. The GP listened sympathetically as I mumbled red-faced through my symptoms. After a mortifying Q & A, he concluded that I had a severe blockage downstairs. The baby had caused things to become, um, desiccated and impacted. Not to worry, said the doc. An enema would help. I didn’t know what an enema was, but after an explanation – and a helpful mime – and reassurance that I could administer it in the privacy of my own home, I was in.
I shuffled home with two magical wands in my clammy hands. It was time to induce this mofo. Number one went in – or was it up? The instructions said it was fast-acting. I waited for the fireworks. Nothing. I checked my watch, 45 minutes later and no movement at the station. These were the slowest fast-acting enemas ever.
I clutched the second one. My only hope. In – or up – it went. Thirty whole minutes passed and still nothing passed. I had just given up hope of leading a normal life when itfinally occurred. I’ll spare you the finer details except to say that the enemas were highly effective.
After my arduous ten-hour labour, I collapsed into bed. No stitches were required (and the walls didn’t need repainting), though one question plagued me: if I couldn’t eject yesterday’s Weetbix, how was I going to birth a human being?
Thankfully, the remainder of my pregnancy was free from any further gastrointestinal complaints and my partner and I even managed to lunch together. The experience has been humbling and educational. As Michael Corleone (kind of) said in The Godfather, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemas closer’.
And six weeks later I ejected a baby girl in less than ten minutes.