I had just brought a newborn Tim home from the hospital. It was the first night we were home, and I was alone with a 2 year old, a 1 year old and now a 5 pound 4 ounce teeny five day old baby.
(This was long before the days of Matt and living in a safe house- back then my life was tormented in a constant state of fear. Even a shadow would make me jump out of my skin.)
Having had 2 other babies recently enough, I remembered the absolute worst part of postpartum recovery wasn’t the breast feeding or the sleepless nights or the exhaustion. For me, it was the pain of having that first bowel movement. Because I had peritoneum stitches with the last 2, I couldn’t shake the pain I knew I was going to have when it finally happened. Even though Tim was born when I was only 8 cm dilated, and no stitches were required.
So just like I do with lots of things, I held that first poo as long as I could.
I was on day 5 of my nopoo campaign. And my body had had ENOUGH.
I was forced to go in and sit down on my throne and push.
What I am about to describe I am telling you so you can laugh. I can laugh about it now, but I shall try to revert back to my agony so you get the full effect for laughter’s sake. And I PROMISE- I would not subject you to such a story unless it related perfectly with a point about dieting.
While pushing out 5 days worth of fecal debris, (actually 6 if you count that I didn’t poo on the table while having Tim) I quickly discovered that the backdoor was unable to accommodate the sheer volume of what my rear was packing. Terrified of how much it would hurt, I reached back and tried to massage the area, spreading my “starfish” with 2 fingers to help the process along, a trick I was hoping would alleviate some of the pain.
What happened instead was Frank, my pregnancy friend and hemmeriod, decided to crack under the pressure.
I had never before had a hemmeroid break, but I gotta tell you- when you are all alone with 3 babies and you start bleeding out your anus, you panic. I grabbed the phone and called the OB nurse on call and frantically told her I my predicament.
“I haven’t pooped in 5 days because I just had a baby and now I am sitting here on the toilet trying to go and it’s as big around as a dinner plate and now I have popped a hemmeriod and it won’t stop bleeding and I still can’t get this poo out and I think I might not ever be able to poop again and I’m going to die of blood loss and I need to know what I can do because I am here all alone and I just can’t deal with this because it hurts to bad!”
I have no idea who that nurse on call was, but I’m sure she wished it was her night off.
So she did her absolute best to walk me through some breathing and pushing exercises to help deal with the impacted sewage bursting forth from my body. In the meantime, Tim began crying (he was in the other room of course) so I stood up- sort of, I was really much more hunched over- with a giant turtle head sticking out of my rear, washed my hands, brought my baby and his carseat into the bathroom, and began nursing him with one hand while sitting down on the toilet with my other hand trying desperately to grab hold of the piece sticking out (which Frank was lubricating and made it slippery) and holding the phone in the crook of my neck with the on-call nurse still trying to keep me calm.
Finally, after 10 minutes of tears and what can only be described as sheer pain, my bowels had been cleared out, and the nurse was able to hang up (and schedule her next impromptu vacation, which she would take as soon as her shift ended).
Tim had fallen asleep in my arms, so still in a hunched over stance, I set him in his carseat one handed, washed my hands again, and began the process of cleaning myself up.
It was horrible, and looked like a crime scene, because I couldn’t get Frank to settle down. I was thankful for the king size pads you get from the hospital, which I placed inside my drawers as I eased back up to standing. The pain was almost unbearable. Just as I had suspected.
I flushed the toilet and grabbed a warm washcloth to re-wipe my posterior, and glanced back at the toilet. My 5 day trophy didn’t go down.
So I flushed again.
I realized that the remains were TOO BIG to go down the toilet. I couldn’t just leave it there, so I grabbed some rubber gloves and reached in to get it. I couldn’t even wrap my hand around it, it was so big. So I scooped it up and put it into a plastic bag and threw it into the trash. Horrified at what had just come out of me as I washed my hands again (even though I had been wearing gloves), I walked over to my sleeping baby boy. I looked at the diameter of his head. I walked back to the trash, and pulled back the plastic bag a little and looked.
They were almost the same size.
Yeah, it was that big.
WHY AM I TELLING YOU THE MOST DISGUSTING STORY YOU HAVE EVER HEARD???
(I admit, this is gross, even for ME!)
If I had allowed myself to go on day 1 in the hospital, or day 2 when I was first home, or even day 3- it would never have gotten this bad. It would have still hurt, but the pain would have been a lot less.
But because I was scared, I let my fear dictate how my body responded. I held it in. By trying to keep myself from hurting now, I made the pain much worse for me later.
Sometimes I wonder what my life would have been like if I had done something about my weight sooner. If I had dealt with it when I was only 30 pounds overweight, I wouldn’t have to work so hard now. But I didn’t. Because back when I was 30 pounds overweight, I knew that I didn’t like the pain of diet and exercise. Not one little bit.
And today, I felt this entire scenario play out again. Not on the toilet, thankfully, but the similarities were obvious.
Last week, when Todd and I were unable to hit our 4 miles running, my body hurt. I tried, but for 3 days my legs ached, my ego hurt, and it scared me because of the pain.
Today, I tried to conquer the 4 miles again.
But I had psyched myself out about it.
Every step felt painful. I was constantly out of breath. I once again couldn’t find my groove, and I walked a good portion of a run that ended up being a half mile sprint and a 1.5 mile walk back home with my head dropped in shame.
I GOT SCARED.
Well, I learned my lesson from the last time I dealt with me and Frank. Sitting around being afraid of the pain doesn’t do any good. Holding things in only makes it worse in the long run. (What a statement THAT IS!)
So, in order to give my family and myself a win-win situation, here’s what I’m gonna do:
I am going to clear off my treadmill (still hiding under clothes mountain. SIGH) TODAY. Then Matt is going to help me go the distance. I am going to run at LEAST 3.25 miles. And we will film it. Because I’m not going to be ruled my fear. I’m not going to hide behind the unknown. I’m going to DO IT. And I’ll film it so ya’ll can see. (I won’t show the whole time of me jogging, just the highlights.)
We have to break through our fear. We need to make a break for it today. NOT tomorrow.
We can remember the pain, but it CANNOT STOP US FROM DOING GREAT THINGS.
We have to make a run for it.