Behind Enema Lines: The Day I Knew the Honeymoon Was Over

Author’s note: This was my entry for the 2016 Erma Bombeck Writer’s Workshop Essay Contest. Once again, I LOST. But bonus, you get to hear the most embarrassing story of my LIFE, which I have actually told to very few people. I was hoping it would garner me a win! Talk about your all-time backfires. Pun intended. ENJOY!

Behind Enema Lines: The Day I Knew the Honeymoon Was Over


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“Marry the person who will help you to the bathroom”.


So commands the title of a recent Washington Post feature in which the author describes her spouse’s tender care after her emergency C-section.


But I can do her one better.


My own emergency C-section added some marital challenges that my husband and I hadn’t foreseen. We’d always been private about “bathroom stuff”; we never dreamed we’d go from “I do” to “Can you help me pull up my mesh hospital panties?” in just under four years.


Courtesy of a surgery side effect called an ileus, I couldn’t poop or pass gas after birth. So, my belly, (you know, the one that just had a giant hole cut in it because my hoo-hah wouldn’t perform?) swelled back up to full-term pregnant size—and it hurt like a MOTHER. To remedy this, I got an emergency enema.


Fortunately for me, the enema worked. Unfortunately, it started working at the precise moment my mother-in-law chose to visit her new grandson.


Trust me, there’s nothing like hoping the moans of your intense pain will cover the seismic sounds of your backed up bowel contents exploding into the toilet so that your mother-in-law won’t hear. (She totally heard).


But the spastic colon party was really just getting started. Back in my bed, my bowels decided to prove their reactivation once again. And my poor husband? He alone had a ringside seat for this one.


Without warning, loud enema-fueled chemical farts started spewing forth from my nether regions. We looked at each other in shock. Farts? We don’t fart in front of each other! Before panic could even set in, volley after volley of the longest, loudest, stinkiest farts that have ever been farted came jumping out of my body. It was like an eleven-year-old boy ate a 48-ounce can of baked beans plus a tube of your grandma’s stinky antibiotic ointment and just went to TOWN.


Horrified, we could do nothing except laugh uncontrollably…but the laughing caused me excruciating pain. After about 15 minutes, this cycle of fart-laugh-moan had us in such hysterics that I had to banish my husband from the room so that my flatulence would be less hilarious and I wouldn’t DIE FROM THE LAUGHING PAINS.


Somehow, I survived—and after those odiferous fifteen minutes in that hospital room, I knew that man was in it to win it with me for LIFE. Twelve years later, we still roll with laughter when one of us brings up the “Chemical Fart Incident”.


So girls, please: Do marry the person who will help you to the bathroom. Or maybe? Be like me and marry the dude who can withstand your chemical farts.

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An anatomy lesson, brought to you by Emily and Jenny

As I have mentioned numerous times on this blog recently, I had a baby shower at my house for my friend Megan Saturday. On Friday, Joshua was watching me as I did some cleaning in preparation for the party. Though I had told him before, he asked me why we were having a party.

“Because Miss Megan’s going to have a baby and we’re going to give her presents she can use for the baby.” I replied.

He thought about that for a second, then out popped THE question: “Mommy, how does the baby get out of the mommy’s tummy?”

I froze, and wished I could hide behind the broom I was holding. “Uh…well… you know how your pee-pee is different than a girl’s pee pee?”

He nods.

“Well, mommies have a special place for a baby to come out where they go pee-pee.”

My answer TOTALLY blew Joshua’s mind. His eyes got HUGE and he jumped a little, like he was startled, and he drew his breath in and made a little – huh! – gasp.

“That’s just the way God made mommies’ bodies, so they can have babies. Isn’t that cool?”

Joshua nodded, still wide-eyed and mute. At this point I was afraid I had scarred the kid for life, so I did whatever I do when I have a serious problem: I ran to my laptop and IMed Emily. The following is our IMversation:

Jenny says: OMG Joshua just asked me how babies get out of the mommy’s tummy

Emily says: tell him the doctor gets them out.
Emily says: and then when he questions you further, tell him they come out where mommy goes potty
Emily says: and then watch the look of revulsion on his face
Emily says: bdtd

Jenny says: i DID tell him it comes out where mommy’s go potty!! and he was SHOCKED!

Emily says: wow, great minds think alike!

Jenny says: his eyes got HUGE

Emily says: Now just wait until he tells Bobby that, and watch the look of shock on HIS face.

Jenny says: hee hee can’t wait!!

I was glad to know that my answer wasn’t too far off what Emily would have said! I tried to get Joshua to tell Bobby about it later that night, but he was NOT saying a word. He did NOT want to talk about it. Then I thought a minute and told him his head was too big too fit out where mommy went pee-pee and the doctor had taken him out of a hole in my tummy. He liked THAT explanation much better. You could totally see the relief on his face. Hilarious!!

So readers, how did you (or will you) answer this question? Because if it hasn’t come up yet… trust us, it will!

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A Humiliating Movement. I Mean Moment.

When you get married, let’s be honest, you have no idea what you are getting into. When you are all googly-eyed and in love, floating down that aisle on your father’s arm, watching your groom beam at you, you never think you will one day tearfully (okay, hysterically) say to him in a hospital room after you’ve just birthed him a child:

“I’m just really scared I’m not going to be able to poop.”

And you never dream he will say in return:

“Honey, let’s just get you a suppository.”

Ah, sooo romantic. The stuff dreams are made of, truly.

But that is exactly what happened after I had my second child. With my first, I’d had an emergency C-section, and suffered an awful complication of surgery, called an ileus, which is a paralyzed bowel. Basically, I couldn’t poop or pass gas. I swelled up ’til I looked like I was nine months pregnant again and I was in agonizing pain (and also, I had a giant incision in my gut. So.) The pain was much, much worse than my actual labor pains when I’d been trying to push Joshua out.

So, after I had Sophie, and had another C-section, I was terrified of getting an ileus again. So I tearfully took my husband’s advice, got a suppository from the nurse (what a fun job. Why does anyone want to do that??), pooped, and -voila! – no ileus! Made recovery much, much better.

Fast forward three days. We are at the pediatrician’s with baby Sophie to get results from a blood test to check her bilirubin levels as she was a wee bit jaundiced when we’d left the hospital. Sophie’s doctor is checking her over and asking all the routine newborn questions, when he looks up at me and says:

“And how have the bowel movements been?”

I stuttered a bit. “Um, well…I’ve only had a couple.”

He looked at me quizzically and then – he couldn’t help it – stifled a laugh.

“That’s great,” he said, “but I was asking about the baby.”

(Ohhhhh. RIGHT. Not EVERYONE was obsessed with MY bowel movements. In my post-partum and vicodin-induced haze, I’d forgotten.)

I just started laughing – I laughed, I cried. It hurt my incision to laugh but I couldn’t stop! My husband was laughing too – why? Because my answer made perfect sense to him. He was also still a tad preoccupied with my bowel movements.

Now that’s love, isn’t it?

(I still can’t look the kids’ doctor square in the eye.)

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