June 28, 2010

Dookie or Not to Dookie

Yes, I said dookie. As in poop. As in if you are not a mother or have not had a baby recently and would rather not read about a baby's bowel activity, please click away from here immediately.

Seriously, this is a long post about fecal frustrations. You've been warned.

Okay. So, we have been having some trouble in these here parts when it comes to dirty diapers and Danny. I may have mentioned before that Sam was constipated as a baby. For, like, a year. We should have bought stock in whatever company makes those glycerine suppositories because we had to use them like they were going out of style. The upside was that we have only had 2 or 3 blowout diapers in his entire lifetime. Sam was never too fussy about the situation. When it had gotten to be a day or two and he started to fuss or seem uncomfortable we'd just pop that baby in there and he'd be completely happy about it, poop, and all would be well.

Well, we're running into some other problems with little Danny. He has also been having trouble pooping on his own. He did pass his meconium right away after birth and over the next 24 hours or so. After that? He didn't poop for about 4 days and when he finally managed to, there was an audible explosion from his diaper. Seriously, I HEARD it happen. He pretty much exploded his diaper. Since then, he has only pooped on his own a couple of times.

He's been formula fed since birth. I breastfed him for 5 weeks, but my supply was very, very low. I never made enough milk to sustain him, it was more a bonding/health thing and once he started refusing to nurse because he wanted some actual FOOD, we stopped. I was happy to get that far since with Sam I wasn't able to breastfeed at all, and I know that in the first two weeks it was very comforting to Danny to nurse. He was spitting up a lot (so did Sam), so between that and the not pooping, we tried switching to Gentle Plus formula, then to lactose-free stuff. The lactose-free stuff cut down on his spitting up by 90% in the first few days, which was great. BUT, he still wasn't passing stool on his own and was having obvious problems with gas in his tummy.

A couple of weeks ago at my Mom's house he cried and fussed for about 3 hours. When I got home, I reaquainted myself with my good friend Mr. Suppository and he pooped and was immediately happy and calm. Last Thursday, though, we had an episode that seemed different. We were in Seattle at the zoo, and then at my sister's apartment. Danny hadn't pooped in about 2 days, which is generally when the fussiness will come to a head and he'll need our help to pass anything. That night, he started to scream. He screamed for about an hour, and it seemed like he was hurting. I finally did the suppository, but he continued to cry while he pooped as if it hurt, then cried for a while after. He was distressed enough that we called the after hours pediatric nurse at our doctor's office to ask her what to do. She advised us that if he cried for over an hour like that we should probably see a doctor. There were no appointments that night, so she advised we'd have to go to the ER if we wanted to get him seen. Well, we were in Seattle. While I was in the process of looking up urgent care places on our insurance website, he stopped crying and was fine/calm and sleeping normally for the rest of the night.

I called the doctor's office the next day and made an appointment for the following day (last Thursday). What it came down to was that because of his constipation and a mild rash on his arms and torso, the doctor recommended switching to Similac Alimentum, which is a formula that has all the proteins from the milk completely broken down for baby. In some kids who are sensitive to/allergic to cow's milk proteins, a lactose free formula is not enough. She gave us 2 cans of samples. She also mentioned something called Hirschsprung's Disease. We were instructed to come back in 7-10 days for a followup and that if his constipation had not improved, they would do an X-Ray of his abdomen. To actually diagnose Hirschsprung's requires a rectal biopsy. She said that most babies that have it do not pass their meconium right away, but about 10% do. In my reading, I've even found a website that says that up to 50% do. The doc also said that it does not sound like colic because he has only cried for an extended period those two times, and it's not a regular occurance.

So, we switched to the new formula (which is significantly more expensive), and it doesn't seem to have made a difference so far. Danny also has thrush, which doesn't really seem to be bothering him but I wonder if the medicine is causing him to spit up more. In any case, yesterday he got fussy, and started spitting up a lot. So we finally gave him the old suppository treatment and I could not believe how much came out.

Sometimes the first bit that comes out is fairly hard, but this time it was not that hard. The rest of it was a normal seeming consitency, and nothing he should have trouble getting out. But he wiggles and strains and cries and just can't seem to go on his own. Plus he then gets gas trapped inside and that upsets him too. Yesterday was just a frustrating day because we don't want him to be in pain or uncomfortable like that, but we're not sure what to do other than continuing on the new formula and waiting for any signs of improvement.

His next doctor appointment is scheduled for July 8, but depending on how things go in the next few days, we may call and see if we can get in any earlier. I know that new formula can take a week or more to have an effect, so I'm trying to be patient. It's crazy to me that Danny has had so many more issues than Sam did - he was such an easy baby in that way! Poor little dude just doesn't know how to poop, and it's a mystery I'd rather have solved sooner than later.

PS Danny, I apologize in advance for the fact that I just wrote an entire post about your crap. I'll try not to let any girlfriends see it in 15 years.


Megan R. said...

Awww, I'm sorry you guys are having so many problems. We had a ton of constipation issues with Carson. It took us a long time to find the right formula for him (lactose free) and even then, we still had constipation issues.

Interestingly, Enfamil (temporarily) discontinued their lactose free formula. So, we switched to the Wal Mart brand. It was WAY cheaper and almost instantly, most of Carson's constipation issues cleared up. We have to use the liquid suppositories once in a while, but NOTHING like we used to.

I'll be thinking about you guys. I hope things get better quick!

Mrs. Chicken said...

You guys. I am so sorry for all this crap. Literally!

Our son had a terrible time, and we gave him prune juice. Sometimes a 1:1 ratio with water, as in 1 oz juice, 1 oz water, and sometimes just two ounces of prune juice. It worked WONDERS. Might be worth a try for you.

Rowenna said...

we also had issues with the twins. We used to pull out the old rectal temperature trick... once we started adding 1-2 oz of prune juice to their bottle at least once per day the problem resolved. we slowly tapered them off the prunes around a year when we took the bottles away. They still, to this day, rarely even need much toilet paper since their stools are still fairly hard and once a day MAX. generally when they wipe the TP is actually clean... weird huh? Is that how Sam is?

Mrs4444 said...

Sorry to hear you're going through this; that's gotta be tough. If it helps at all, know that I (a perfect stranger, haha) can't think of a single thing you could/should be doing differently. You're a great mom.

If I don't make it back here when you have the appt., I would love to hear the outcome. Good luck.