Della pooped on the potty.
That is the angels and gold dust and unicorns and rainbows part of the story. The rest of the story is this:
Poop withholding is an evil bitch.
It is a sneaky stealer of heart and soul, energy, enthusiasm, hope.
It is a killer of days, an eroder of moods, a shortener of fuses.
It is a lifestyle unto itself, with its own rhythms of happy and fearful and sad and crazy.
It is like labor in the prolonged badness of sensation and the only way out is out...
It is like my experience with infertility in that it started smallish, with an acknowledgement that things might not be working as it does for "other people"--
then it was like infertility for me in that I began with a whole lot of NEVERS. I will never use a suppository on my kid, EVER. That one gave way to, ok, this once. This once. This once. As I tried, as we tried, to address this horrible thing.
Into the weeds with this side story: When I was little I had the opposite problem-- with colitis, I had nearly no control over my bowels, and spent hours upon hours in pain and on the toilet pooping. I had horrible invasive tests before there were fiber optics that made instruments flexible. I have turned out ok, but I cannot say that did not impact me, hugely, deeply, badly, in ways that take ongoing healing.
So yes, I said NEVER to suppositories.
So, one by one, my Nevers were breached, my hope was dashed, my fear increased, anxiety up, stress up, my child in pain and in fear and inconsolable.
Potions, powders, oils, eye of newt, massage, reiki, pressure points, rewards, gold stars, ignoring, attending,
just an awful storyline that would reset to zero with a forced bowel movement, a horrible prolonged horribleness that I will not even try to describe.
then one night the suppository failed.
and then it failed again.
and I felt hope leave, in a big whoosh followed by a wave of fear and outofcontrolness, anxiety, sadness... since this was the nuclear solution. the one I held in reserve as the thing that would work no matter what.
then I read an entry by some person who called himself the poop whisperer (I cannot make this up) saying, suppositories/enemas, same time each day, until new pattern is established.
well fine kind sir, but since I could not bring myself to do the suppository thing unless Della was in acute duress, and it had failed more than once (different kinds, different failure modes)-- WTF? So the next morning, loins girded, we tried *one more time*, and it worked, she pooped, and off we went with the time zero haze of happiness that we can hold until day 3 or 4 or... yeah..
So last night, after a day in which Della had been showing telltale discomfort, the familiar run up to the whole dramatic horribleness, we were about to take action- butt medicine (thanks to Dooce for the name)-- and Della chose to try the potty instead.
Ok-- I had not mentioned this before in this note but Della was pathologically afraid of pooping on the toilet. She regresses to diapers when she feels any belly feelings to avoid it. All that I had read said for the love of all that is holy UNCOUPLE potty training and poop withholding since it is too complicated to do both if the poop part of potty training is not enthusiastically embraced by the kid. It was not. It was rejected so firmly and with such trauma that we decoupled.
Until last night.
Faced with imminent butt medicine, she chose the potentially lesser of the evils, the potty
I do not pretend we are out of the woods but I do know this: we won the lottery again with this happening Ever.
She is happy. We had cake. We sang and lit a candle and danced and hugged.
She is comfortable.
She is not in fear or in pain.
I felt like a weight of a bazillion pounds just rolled off my shoulders (at least for now) and I am *hopeful*.
For any of you out there with this withholding issue, hear me now: I feel your pain. I wish I could say I knew what to do, a magic pill or protocol. I can say this: soluble fiber, and magnesium, prayer, and the fear of suppositories.
And for me, at time near-zero, I can breathe. And tonight, we'll ask her to sit for a while while I read to her maybe, and then, chocolate chips... and I can be hopeful that we can create a new normal for all of us.