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Praying to the porcelean poo gods and doulas

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As much as I’ve read horror stories about constipation and pregnancy, I have to admit, I kind of rolled my eyes whenever I read a poo horror story. My brain convo would go something like: “Yeah…I’m sure it can’t be that bad…what a sissy…she should just eat more prunes, drink more water, take a Coalace, learn to eat fiber…etc, etc, etc” Friends, I am here to tell you that pregnancy and constipation is NO JOKE. Would I trade ass-rippery for not being pregnant right now? Hell no. But it is becoming increasingly difficult to stand the pain. My poos the last two weeks have fallen somewhere in the category of: “Ass hemorrhoid being split open like an angry picnic chef might do to a watermelon in summer” to “muffling my screams in a towel like a 16 year old giving birth in a prom bathroom stall so as not to wake my husband.” When I feel the urge to poo, I have found myself repeating the phrase, “Please God, please God, please…” which is my frantic mantra to attempt to deal with the trauma that awaits me. If I wait too many days to poo, it gets unbearable, so I have been resorting to drinking about an inch worth of caffienated coffee on Day 3 of no poo which immediately moves the shards of glass down my colon enough to shit out.

If this sounds disgusting…it is. My bathroom sounds are not pretty.

I did a caffienated “force poo” this morning in order to avoid a terrifying poo tomorrow morning, as it is my first day at my new job tomorrow, and I’m more nervous than the day I started 7th grade. The last thing I need to start the day is a bleeding asshole, or worse yet, a prom poo in the new work bathroom.

I got a lot done this week off, but not nearly enough…I had thought I would be in the clear with fatigue but extreme tiredness hit me the last few days the likes I have never experienced in this pregnancy. I would wake up with a dull headache and feel hung over, although I’d already been in bed for 12 hours. Yesterday I had a surge of productive energy, but it’s been hit or miss.

The one big thing I was able to do this vacation was interview 5 doulas. In my hopes of going au natural as far as possible, Hubs and I have agreed that a doula may be the best way to help us through this. To be completely candid, Hubs and I did not initially agree on this approach, and he felt like it was a waste of money to hire someone to do a job that the hospital nurses and my Ob could handle. I completely disagreed, and an extended unresolved tiff emerged over the last couple of weeks about it. I know this sounds horrible, but I simply do not trust the L&D nurses at the hospital to handle my labor in my best interest. Our Ob would only be there for about 10 minutes of pushing, and depending on the time of day, may stop in a few times to check on me, but he would in no way be a coach. I have heard too many horror stories about women who feel rushed to speed up their labor because they’re taking up bed space, and the worst was a nursing message board I went on where a bunch of L&D nurses were bitching about patients who refused pitocin and “sat around” taking up valuable bed space with slow labor. One of the nurses even used the phrase, “Treat ’em and street ’em.” as the mantra that is used at their hospital. The last thing I want to worry about is fighting for my basic human right to birth on my clock while I’m in the middle of labor, and neither Hubs or I have the experience or knowledge of medical terminology to advocate effectively. SO, long story short, we have resolved our disagreement, and have agreed to hire a doula to help me last as long as I can at home before heading to the hospital where she can deal with the medical jargon/birth plans while Hubs and I focus on Bagel.

Interviewing doulas was a really great experience–I would highly recommend doing multiple interviews. It’s amazing what you can glean from people even over the phone. There were a couple who just didn’t “get” me or my sense of humor. The conversation felt stilted, and I ended the call with the feeling that I would have a more interesting birthing experience if a sloth helped coach me through. I guess for me, I don’t respond well to slow and gentle. I tended to gravitate towards more of the high energy, talkative doulas. I’m a generally quiet person by nature, so I sometimes need high energy to kick me into gear.

The bad news? I live in LA–the land where doulas and doula work are aplenty. This jacks up the price of a doula to WELL over what I hear other states rates are. None (I repeat, NONE) of the doulas I interviewed charged less than $1500, regardless of experience level. This includes 2-3 home visits before birth, attending the labor basically whenever I need her to come to our house, and then driving to the hospital for the birth, staying with us at the hospital for about 3 hours after the birth to help with breastfeeding, and then a home visit a week after the birth. It’s a lot of time spent, and I guess it’s worth it, but I’ve heard that other state rates are around $500-$800. The good news? I discovered that doula services are almost always negotiable. NEVER take a doula price at face value, whatever state you live in. I was able to talk every one of them down to $1,000, which seemed a bit more manageable for us.

My favorite doula had only been practicing about 3 years, but had a really great energy that I responded to. She is completing a 3 year program to become a midwife, and has attended over 100 births, so I feel confident that she would be a good fit. She also said that none of her births in the last 2 years have had the mom at the hospital earlier than 6-7cm dilated which is exactly where I want to aim (you can technically be checked into labor and delivery at 4cm, but it’s good to hold out longer if you’re aiming for a natural birth.) Next step would be to meet her and one other top pick (the other one had 20 years experience, but I didn’t respond to her energy as well…)

Other than that, Bagel is still cute as can be! We are still awaiting official result from our 12 week scan, but the doc seemed confident that Bagel was looking great. His/her nuchal fold measured between 1.1-1.5mm at different angles which I’ve heard is a good number.  I uploaded a couple more pics to Bagel’s page.


About Sunny

I'm a happily married, 31 year old gal who is just starting her journey to conceive. I also have ovaries that may need a jump start. This blog is an attempt to channel my obsessive research on my Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome into something a pregnancy test. That would be awesome. I also hope that other women with this condition will find support in this blog. There are a lot of us out here! Happy reading, whatever your journey may be.

26 responses »

  1. As to pregnancy constipation, OMG, there’s no real cure, I tried everything…even postpartum it took until month 4 for me to poop normally again. It’s no joke!
    As to the doula, YES YES YES, you really do need someone in there fighting for you when you get to the hospital. My midwives were AMAZING and I was so happy to have them there, it made it SO much easier to concentrate on GIVING BIRTH rather than having to listen to a Dr. try to explain something to you while you’re in the middle of a contraction. The doula, unlike the OB and nurses, will wait patiently until you’re done with a contraction and then explain what the Dr. told her in layman’s terms, AWESOME. She will also give you her advice on what you should do, should there be something that needs a decision.

    Yay for doulas! Good luck finding one you love!

    • Ughh! Glad to have a comrade in poo misery! Good to know it ends eventually, though. Also, it’s great to hear about your positive experience with the midwives. I TOTALLY agree that it’s extremely helpful to have someone other than an L&D nurse there to support you.

  2. You could potentially have that amount of caffeine every day if it helps you poo. I had caffeine every day of my pregnancy. I know you are being careful so if you don’t want to do it then that’s ok of course, but if pooing is really becoming this difficult, maybe you could just have a teeny bit just to keep things moving along. 😦

    On another note – good luck finding a doula you like!!!!

    • I actually may start just having a very tiny touch of caffeine in the mornings. I’ve been so good about eliminating it, but I feel like the constipation may cause more harm than 5 or 6 sips of coffee.

  3. Girl, i hear you on the constipation. I haven’t tried the coffee..i guess that will be next. It’s bad, and I thought it wouldn’t start for another couple months. Damn.

    • The coffee seriously works within about 5-10 minutes to get the pipes unfrozen. If Bagel gets a little bit juiced up over an ounce of coffee, so be it. I tend to try and psych myself up during this coffee time, saying silly things like, “this time will be better!” Right…

  4. Yeah for doulas! Isn’t there a statistic out there that claims that having a doula reduces the chances of a c-section by 30%? That’s a remarkable percentage. (If I got it right…) You are right though, my friends in CO are paying 500 to 800. My friend paid on the higher range of that but also had 3 prenatal massages thrown in. Her doula was a massage therapist. Now that’s a deal.

  5. The poo I did when constipated was one of the most painful things I have ever done. I was so petrified Fter labour I had laxatives (softeners) and prunes every day!!!

    • Seriously. Right? Right???? I’ve been constipated before, but this is like no other feeling I’ve experienced. I cannot even imagine how it might feel after intense labor and stitches down there. (cringe).

  6. Thanks so much for the info on the doulas!!!! And about the L&D nurses’ private conversations – wow! I am totally poaching off all of your hard-won info! 🙂 And ditto on the constipation. Shamefully, I had similar thoughts (“It’s just a little poo…tough it out, sweetheart.”) Now, I’m totally (already!) on the prom-queen-giving-birth-in-the-bathroom bandwagon. I have to apologize in advance to my husband before I go off to war. (“No matter what you here in there, do NOT come in.”) As a fellow LA-er, I am not looking forward to doula prices, but it’s nice to know that they might take pity on my state of near-poverty and drop their prices. Thanks for the tip!!!!

    • Wow!! A fellow LA-er! Always nice to find people close by 🙂 Your convo with your husband sounds eerily similar to mine. He was trying to ask me if I was all right, and I screamed “Do NOT talk to me right now, and do NOT come in here!!”. Hehe. Yeah, the doula scene here is a mess with the prices, but just remember to ask if they are “negotiable”. There is also one place who says they offer different reasonable fees based on a doula’s experience. Only problem is, they have been horrible at getting back to me, which is annoying, and I have moved on to others who are more responsive. But…it might be worth a try!

  7. Oh, the constipation. It’s a nightmare. Prune juice has helped me a great deal, but some days are still pretty scary.

    My husband and I also butted heads over the doula thing. I think he was offended that I brought up the subject of having a birthing coach there. I guess he sees that as his job. He eventually agreed that if I wanted one, we should get one, but it’s probably a moot point. I don’t think we’ll be able to afford one – at least not for the full meal deal. But I definitely want to look into getting a postpartum doula to help me out. I’m terrified that I’ll be a complete failure at breastfeeding.

    Good for you on finding a doula and getting a discount!

    • I will be picking up prune juice STAT. I’ve tried the whole prunes, but maybe it’s the juice I need? Hubs also felt a bit “replaced” when I mentioned the doula, which is certainly a valid fear, but I think once they understand that labor can be a 24 hour, or 30 hur process, they will be grateful for a break! Also, it’s a doulas job to make the husband feel included and supported at all times I think this is a really common reaction, though.

  8. I actually have a secret plan to become a doula, once I have crossed to the other side of this crapola. I hope one day I can get to that point. Oh and I hope you find a poosoultion soon.

  9. Keep me posted about the doulas! I am going to the regular hospital route but have always been curious about those who do home births/doulas b/c it does sound like an amazing experience. GL on the poo-front and i HEAR you about the fatigue and headaches. They just hit you whenever they please and it’s crazy!

    • Thanks!! Also, we are most definitely doing a hospital birth, and from the doulas I’ve talked to, 90% of their clientele have hospital births. Doulas are essentially your advocates in the hospital, making sure they are following your birth plan so you don’t have to stress so much while you’re there.

  10. Good for you for knowing what you want so early! Doulas are awesome. I think they are in the top three things that will help you have a natural birth. The other two are care provider/setting (in favor of midwifery care) and childbirth preparation- something like Bradley or hypnobabies, not just some waste-of-time & money hospital class.

    • Yes! Exactly. I am looking into other birthing classes that a doula recommended. The hospital birthing classes I fear will not be the best at coaching Hubs on how to best prepare for an unmedicated screaming wife.

  11. Omg I am dreading these poo nightmares… I’ve heard that it’s fine to have up to a cup of coffee, though, even when preggo. Is that wrong? In any case, I’m sure having half a cup every morning would be totally A-OK, and might make you more regular. The benefits of this “stimulation” would surely outweigh the negatives of pushing like crazy — didn’t Elvis die while constipated on a toilet? Ugh. Sorry. Guess you didn’t need that image.

    • I truly believe that a small cup of coffee in the mornings is fine. Especially if you are a constipation sufferer. There’s only so far I can go without needing some Starbuck’s intervention. I have seriously worried about shitting out my baby at times.

  12. You would think the high number of doulas in LA would actually make them cheaper. I guess everything is just more expensive here. sigh. My acupuncturist specializes in fertility and is also a doula and should I finally become pregnant I imagine I would use her (seeing as she is doing so much to get me pregnant it only seems right). I am now curious how much she charges.

  13. Oh my gosh, constipation in pregnancy is no joke. I had never had it before and all of a sudden I couldn’t go and when I did it was scream in the towel painful. I have no real advice but to try to go often and maybe take stool softeners.

  14. Pingback: My To-Doula List « Cease And Decyst

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