I have debated on whether or not I should post about what is going on with Chloe and the Kidd family lately, but I decided what the hell. So here goes.
We ended 2017 on a high. We were happy, healthy, and everything seemed to be improving. Life had gotten so manageable that I even completed a 2 month fitness challenge–and tied for 1st place! I felt like we were starting to get our lives back and figure out our new normal.
Well, that didn’t last long.
Connor went back to school on January 8th and I figured this week would be the perfect time to start potty training. I mean, why not?! She was thriving and consistent. She’s smart and ready….let’s do this….
I did everything I could to make this easy and fun. I bought her a stupid pink princess toilet that plays a song if you tinkle in it. I bought these cute little underwear that I knew she would love and started from there. I had a lot of time at home and Darren was slow with work so I knew we could tackle this together.
PSSSSHHHHH. What a nightmare this was.
Day one of potty training was absolute hell. For some reason, Chloe is terrified of her toilet and refused with every ounce of will power in her body to avoid that damn thing. So, we tried for an entire day and after numerous attempts and so many pairs of wet underwear, we let up on the potty training and decided we would try again a month or so later.
I wish that was the end of the story. It is not.
I am not sure if the potty training was what caused this regression or if it was something in our diet that we got relaxed with, but she started getting constipated again. BAD. So we did what we knew best and did a suppository if she was holding it in or if she seemed uncomfortable.
If you’ve never had to use a suppository on your child, you are lucky. If you’ve never had to watch your child in pure agonizing pain just to poop, you’re lucky.
Well, us Kidd’s aren’t so lucky.
After about 2 weeks of daily or every other day suppositories, she started withholding her urine and bowels completely. Like I said, this has been a nightmare.
Finally, she would scream her head off when she needed to pee, so I decided to take her in to her pediatrician because I assumed she had given herself a bladder infection.
We go to the doctor and the test came back negative. I sat and explained to the doctor everything that had been going on and the doctor then diagnosed Chloe with Encopresis. If you don’t know what this word means, you are lucky my friend. Encopresis is the medical term used to describe children who have mastered the ability to withhold their bodily functions. This is usually a psychological thing for kids who have most likely struggled with constipation for a majority of their life, just like Chloe. These kids have learned that pooping equals pain so they just simply do not do it. The doctor told me to lay off potty training and just go from there.
I left the appointment in tears and filled with disappointment. I felt like this was all my fault because I tried to push potty training. I felt like I had gotten lazy with her diet and maybe this is why she got backed up and scared. I also was just pissed. Pissed that we have taken so many intense lifestyle and diet changes and we are right back to square one. I know we are not anywhere near where we were 8 months ago, but regressing at all has made me feel like a failure as a mother.
I went home and immediately started googling Encopresis. Everything we had been going through completely was explained. It sucks and this is going to be an extremely long road to recovery. Pediatricians do not specialize in fixing this disorder, only offered words of encouragement.
I found a Facebook group for kids who have this problem and immediately joined. I got a lot of insightful information from parents who are going through the same thing. One thing that was suggested numerous times was Occupational Therapy and I thought this should be my next route. I mean good hell, I have tried everything else at this point, why not?! I called my bestie and cried to her about all of the hell I am going through and she told me she has a friend who actually owns an Occupational Therapy facility right here in Phoenix and she would reach out to her. I was thrilled. The therapist friend of Brandee’s actually specializes in Pediatric Incontinence and has a special therapist in her facility who deals with this and Encopresis especially. I finally felt like I was headed in the right direction. Anyways, I pull up the website and I am happy with everything I see and immediately made an appointment. I got in the next day.
Chloe and I went to this appointment and once again I explained everything that had been going on from the time she started getting constipated, to the diet changes, the miralax, etc. After over 30 minutes of explaining our situation (and a few tears from this mama,) I finally felt like I was talking to the right person. She gave me lots of useful information and tools to begin with. She told me to completely forget about potty training and to not even mention rewards or treats or anything to her and just let her do her own thing.
She also emailed me a bunch of homework to do until our next visit. This kind of homework is the kind that makes you wish you were writing a research paper instead.
For the next month or so, I am logging every single thing Chloe does from peeing, pooping, eating, asking for diaper changes, fluid intake, food intake, behaviors and so much more.
Like I said, I would rather write a 50 page research paper. This shit is intense!!!
We are now getting used to the log and starting to see patterns within her. This is super helpful for me and I am noticing her fluids and fiber intake has been a bit low. This has helped Darren and I to really pay attention to her foods and everything else. She is starting to get better. We still had to do one enema and one suppository this week, but that is better than daily! We are still dealing with her trying to withhold so we are back to adding Magnesium Citrate to her daily diet until she cannot withhold.
Even dealing with all of this, I am still so grateful that I stay home with her. I can’t imagine if I had to be away from her for 40+ hours a week and having to worry about this with a caretaker. I am beyond grateful. Even this week alone I had to leave her twice and it gave me wicked anxiety. Darren and I had dinner with my brother and sister in law on Wednesday and it was so nice to get a break from all of this. Darren and I have not been out to dinner or even at a restaurant together SINCE AUGUST. I am not even joking. We cook and meal prep so much that it takes like 5 months for us to get away. We are stuck at home for a long time and that is okay, as long as we get Chloe better. That is literally the most important thing for us. Once we get Chloe’s diet down to a perfect science and the fear gone, we will start potty training again. It may be weeks from now, it may be months, hell it could even be years! But as long as we stick to this plan, I think we can fix her.
Potty training with Encopresis is going to be even more intense. I have read that it takes kids months of practicing toilet time after every meal before they solve the problem. So, I will be here in the bathroom with Chloe for months on end. If this doesn’t sound like fun, then I don’t know what does! If we do not handle this properly, she could be having this issues for years to come. The therapist told me I am a saint for tackling this now because she has seen teenagers with this condition who have never pooped in a toilet. My jaw dropped. If this is what I have to look forward to, I might run away. Just kidding. I know we can do this, I know the road to recovery is long, but nothing in life is more important to me than being the best mom I can to Little Miss Chloe and Little Mr. Connor.
Connor has been such a trooper through all of this. He is such a stud and such a great kid. He has had some of his own personal struggles lately and it is so hard for me as a mommy to watch both of my kids in turmoil. Connor has had a bully at school this entire school year and it has gotten significantly worse since Christmas break. I have given him my best advice, I have addressed it with the teacher, the principal, and this mama bear approached the kid myself. Finally, I got a call from the school social worker last week because it had reached an escalating point. Connor finally stood up to this kid and it made the backlash even worse. This kid was finally suspended last week and the problem I am hoping will be solved. On a positive note, I also had Parent Teacher Conference this week and they decided to put Connor into the Gifted Program at school. He is surpassing every requirement for his grade and needed more of a challenge. This was such a proud mom moment for me, I could’ve cried right there! I have one kid struggling so much and one kid who is thriving. I have my work cut out for me to keep them balanced, but there is no other job I would rather be doing than raising my beautiful babies.