We’ve talked about a lot of things here on the blog. We’ve talked about marriage and sex, breastfeeding and hemorrhoids, mornings and morning sickness. The funny part is that out of all of it, the thing you bring up most is the first post labor poo. Those posts are the most popular and almost every reader I meet brings it up within the first 5 minutes. You either thank me for talking about it (you’re welcome) or tell me I’ve scared you into never, ever having children (you’re welcome). It’s awesome.
Recently it’s come to my attention that despite talking about it multiple times, I’ve never actually talked about how to deal with that first post partum poo. I wish so desperately that someone would have warned me about that sucker. I wish even more that someone would have told me what to do to make it less painful.
I have talked to some of you who never had to deal with a difficult first post labor poo. For some reason or another, you were blessed with amazing bowels or a body that takes labor and delivery like a champ. My sincerest congratulations. You have dodged the bullet of all bullets. Now go sit in the corner and be quiet.
Two days after I came home from the birthing center with my new baby boy, I knew I couldn’t avoid it any longer. It had been 6 days since anything had passed through my system and it was time. I waited until the baby fell asleep and quietly slipped into the bathroom. Austin wasn’t home so I gave myself a little mirror pep talk and took a few deep breaths. It was go time. Literally.
Exactly ten seconds later I was crying and bracing myself against the wall. Two minutes later I was on the phone with the OBGYN asking if it was possible for my vagina to fall out while trying to have a BM. The nurse was very kind and assured me I just needed to relax and maybe take a stool softener. A stool softener? Lady, I’ve taken 7. I hung up.
After a few more minutes of trying, bleeding, and quiet screams, the cause of all this angst started to cry from the other room. Panic washed over me as I realized I was really in no position to get up. I was in the middle of anal Armageddon for Pete’s sake. I waited a few minutes hoping he would fall back asleep, but his cries only escalated. I tried calling Baby Daddy who was painting a house a few miles away but he didn’t answer. I cursed him. I cursed him for not having to do any of the hard parts; labor, delivery, twelve stitches, and now this.
Finally I just faced the fact that this was happening. I picked myself up, waddled out to the baby, returned with him attached to my breast, and the experienced the worst 15 minutes of my life. Really. It was the worst.
A year later and this memory is the single largest barrier between me and baby number two. In retrospect, I should have done things a little differently but I didn’t know any better.
Here are my five tips for surviving that first post labor poo:
1) Get medicated. IB profin, tucks pads, cooling creams, stool softeners, wine. Do it. Do it all.
2) Apply counter pressure. It was only after my first post labor poo that a friend told me to apply counter pressure. It was in a facebook message and I immediately started crying. Yes! Of course! Applying counter pressure in the front with a frozen pad makes it much easier to go in the back without worrying about anything ripping or falling out. (Tip: Soak a pamper and then put it in the freezer. Take out when you’re ready to use the bathroom).
3) Don’t do it alone. Wait until someone else is around before attempting the first labor poo. Moral support plus you won’t have to risk bringing the baby into a war zone.
4) Avoid cheese and anything else that will make your stool hard enough to cut glass. Fruit and veggies are your friend. Prune juice too if you can stomach it, though I’m pretty sure prune juice contains no prunes. Just dirty feet and garbage. Gross.
5) Go to the doctor if it doesn’t get better. Not to freak you non moms out, but my post labor poos didn’t get any easier. In fact, I shit glass for 6 weeks straight before I finally went to the doctor. As it turns out, I had nasty anal fissures as a result of a difficult delivery. Swallow your pride. If it still hurts after a week or so, you might need a prescription to poo in peace.
Now that you have all the secrets, I should probably tell you that no matter what–it’s still going to be uncomfortable. That whole situation in general is uncomfortable. Be gentle, be safe, and avoid anything that is going to put stress on your body. Two weeks after I had Waylon, we moved and I regretted it for days afterward. My body suffered, especially that part of my body.
What about you? Do you have any tips on post labor pooing? I know it’s awkward for some of you to talk about it. Take heart in the fact that I don’t feel awkward. In fact, I think talking about poop is a complete gas (joke!). Also, if you ever need to feel less awkward about it, think about Paris Hilton pooping because she totally does it too! Everybody poops and almost every mom has survived a post labor poo. It’s a rite of passage. One that still leaves me with shivers up my spine.