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May 14, 2011

Uncoordinated and Stubborn

Well, I finally have an update on Henry. Last time I updated we were on our way to a pediatric GI doctor to make sure there was nothing that was physically preventing Hen from going to the bathroom without pain. At that point Morgan and I were very concerned. The pediatrician scared us by calling us personally to tell us it was extremely urgent and by explaining (without us asking) that the worst case senario included major surgery.

So we went to the GI. The doctor did a physical exam and went over Hen's symptoms. Then she gave us the good and the not-so-good news. The good news was that there was nothing externally wrong with Henry. The not-so-good news was that to be sure Hen was normal they would need to perform a barium enema to ensure normal development of his intestines.

The next Monday we went to Children's Hospital in St. Paul to get the barium enema done. This was one of the hardest thing I've ever hd to watch. It was pretty uncomfortable for Hen and he let us know he wasn't happy. The poor little guy was screaming so hard that it was preventing the doctor from completing the test. So they had to give him some sugar anesthetic on a pacifier to calm him down. Thankfully that worked because I was about 2 seconds away from having my own breakdown. I don't think there is anything harder than watching your helpless newborn scream out in pain and frustration.

Although the procedure felt like it took days, we were all done in less than 15 minutes. The radiologist explained to us that everything appeared to be "within normal limits" but the his official report would be done in a couple days. We were super happy to hear everything looked good. It was a great relief.

We got the official report this past Thursday which confirmed that everything was normal. So why is Henry still having problems? Well, the GI doctor explained to us that basically he is both "really uncoordinated" and "stubborn." Basically, he tries to poop but his stubborn self also fights really hard against it. The doctor believed that this is why he screams; he has an epic internal struggle and is just really frustrated, not actually in pain. The doctor also explained that he seemed to be really uncoordinated. She said that he can't seem to figure out which muscles he needs to use in coordination with each other to make pooping easy. All in all, this unfortinate combination made for the long drawn out struggle we were experiencing daily.

The sad news about this diagnosis is that there really is no cure. We just have to let Henry outgrow these problems. They said that most babies with this issue will outgrow them by about 3 months, but it can take some babies up to a year to figure it out. The one thing we could do was stop all the comfort measures we were using to help Henry poop (like the prune juice) and force him to figure it out on his own. So we have followed her advice and Hen has shown some improvement over the last 10 days, but we are still dealing with his issues on a daily, and sometimes hourly, basis.

Morgan and I are extremely thankful that uncoordination and stubbornness are to blame in this situation. Being fairly uncoordinated and stubborn people its not totally surprising our child would be the same (haha, we just weren't expecting to deal with these traits until toddlerhood).We were both sick thinking about all the possible physical problems that could have shown up. We are also hopeful that his small progress over the last few days is a sign that Hen will work out these issues by the time he is three months old.

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