Why we spent our Chubby Vegan Thanksgiving in the ER

No, unfortunately, it wasn't because I was having my gigantic baby boy. Although, we are technically three days away from FULL term, so in three glorious days it will be time for all of us to hope this little boy decides to at the very least be on time, if not a week or few days early. I'm an impatient, uncomfortable mama and this little boy has been trying to get out of me via the movie "Aliens" style  for the last month.

Seriously, do you remember those old cartoons where Daffy Duck and Wiley Coyote would get bonked over the head and they'd push the bump in, only to make another one appear? And then they push that one in and like three more smaller ones protrude out? That's kind of what this baby feels like these days. He sticks his little foot out my side and I push it back in ... which gets rid of the foot problem, but only leads to him sticking his butt up and getting rid of my belly button or a jutting knee somewhere else uncomfortable.

Basically, the last month of my pregnancy is cartoon-like.

Back to the real story here though, the reason we spent Chubby Vegan Thanksgiving 2012 in the emergency room and why my husband is never allowed to take two consecutive days off from work EVER again.

Let's start with Thanksgiving eve. For once, we had gotten off our butts and prepped for our big carb-filled, probably-too-sweet feast the night before. Chubby Vegan Dad peeled all the potatoes for me (something I'm petrified to do because I'm convinced I'll peel my finger off), I had them boiled and assembled in their dishes, simply awaiting further baking or garnish the next morning. I got every last bit of our dessert assembled (and boy was it cute!) and we had finally prepared enough the night before to be able to wake up leisurely the next day and not have to cook everything off. The only thing we had left was the stuffing, the easy, easy stuffing.

Right before we went to bed that night Pearyn started complaining of a burning sensation when she peed. You may remember last year's debacle where we found ourselves wrist deep in pee and fully enlightened on the topic of toddler bladder infections. Of course being the "glass is probably half empty when it comes to sickness around the holidays" that I am, I assumed it was a bladder infection and gave the doctor on call a quick ring. He told me to go ahead and look for any external reasons it would be hurting and sure enough, our little girl was a little red. So we treated her redness and for the next 18 hours, Pear didn't have anything else to say on the topic.

I thought we were in the clear.

Thanksgiving day was pleasant. We got to my parents house early (thanks to all that prepping the night before) and we seriously gobbled up some Gardein turkey cutlets (I was too lazy and giant, crabby pregnant to tackle making our own seitan roast this year), some sage and brown butter mashed potatoes, a sweet potato casserole (complete with candied pecans and vegan marshmallows), stuffing and roasted lemon broccoli. We even had a chance to try the perfectly set-up pumpkin pudding pie "lust" cake. (Recipes to come later this week). It was pretty much magical. Chubby Vegan Dad watched some football and Pearyn even laid down for a nap, with ease.

I should have known something bad was headed our way.

Pearyn woke up from her nap on the less-than-angelic side, in fact, she was downright pissy. It only took about 10 minutes for her to start wailing and clawing at her stomach, which of course set off the "crap, she does have a UTI" alarm in me. I spent the next hour or so feeling like the worst mother in the world (something that happens more than I'd like). After deeming her inconsolable, we packed up and headed to the emergency room, because it was Thanksgiving and there was no where in the world that was open. And the last thing I wanted to do was wait around a whole night for this to get worse.

They collected a urine sample, they took her temperature, they pushed all around her stomach and a few hours later we found out, there was no bladder infection.

But there was another partial blockage in her intestines.

ANOTHER blockage, because the one we faced in Hilton Head during the great cantaloupe-induced samonella poisoning of 2012 wasn't enough.

I should have known better. I should have seen the signs. She acted in the exact same manner as she did the night we rushed her to the hospital in Hilton Head, scared to death that she was having an attack of appendicitis or something else every parent dreads.

Instead, she had a bunch of poop stuck in her intestines. AGAIN. Of course, she hadn't had any loose stools and even had a completely normal bowel movement not even 12 hours earlier that day, so how she got blocked up is beyond me.

How a two-and-a-half-year-old child that eats better than most adults (sorry guys, she eats better than even Chubby Vegan Dad and I) can end up with another blockage is baffling to me. It's so baffling, that it's keeping me up at night. She gets plenty of fiber. She drinks water (although we are pushing more of this), almond milk and a very limited amount of juice a day. She eats edamame, fruits, peanut butter sandwiches and prefers broccoli to chocolate bars.

I know children that live off of a diet of goldfish crackers and chocolate milk, or worse, McDonald's  How the heck is SHE getting backed up?

So far the only answer we've been provided with is "it can be common in children this age, until the age of five even." But after having a doctor tell us that in young girls, UTI's can be incredibly common as well and then finding out that meant 8 out of 100 (which I don't know about you but doesn't sound very common to me), I'm left racking my brain at night trying to figure out what to do for her.

She's not normally like this, she's had battles with small stomach bugs that have left her unscathed, in fact, you could hardly tell anything was even bugging her, so for something to be making her lash out this violently and scratching at her stomach, waking up in the middle of a sound sleep crying "ow my stomach hurts, make it stop." it makes me worry.

We have an appointment to talk with her doctor about things, I'm hoping at the very least if we don't get some sort of answer we at least get some help in the right direction.

All I know is that I can't bear to see her feel like this anymore and to be honest, I'm not sure how much more of it this sleep-deprived, zombie-of-a-mom can handle either, without snapping on the whole world.


  1. Oh no, how stressful...I hope she feels better, and that you're able to get some answers.

  2. Is Pearyn taking a probiotic? If not, it could really help her intestines and her immune system. My husband and I take them and they are amazing. Either way, I'm sorry you had to go through that. You are a great mother and I hope Pearyn feels better

  3. Thankfully the doctor has recommended a few things for us to do, one of them being a probiotic to try and get her colon all up and running. They don't think it's anything serious (thankfully) and he reassured me about a million times that she has an excellent diet and it's more her age, stubbornness and willingness to hold it that's causing everything to slow up and cramp. Hopefully this new regiment will help get her digestive track back on track. Thank you so much for the concern and weighing in ladies! :)

  4. Yay! Good to hear, hope it works!! :)

  5. Okay, let me reassure you that you are not a terrible mom. There are so many things that can go wrong with the human body, we just can't be on top of them all. My younger daughter had the same problem as yours until she was about six or so years old. X-rays would show us she had a bunch of poop backed up in her. And, she is also the healthiest eater in the home, as well. She had to drink fiber for a couple of years to keep things moving, and eventually she grew out of it. She is great now, so don't give up hope!

  6. I came to your blog from Pinterest and happened to see this post in the sidebar. When my son was about 4, he began having terrible stomach aches and trouble with bowel movements (to the point where he was absolutely screaming, it was awful). I took him to the doc, and she told us it was encopresis. We had already tried everything- he only drank water (and he drank a ton of that), he got loads of fiber, he ate fruit like a jungle animal, lol, and we were still in that situation. So the doc suggested a low dose of Miralax. We started off mixing it in it some juice at the dosage the doc recommended and it worked quite well. After a few months, I was even able to scale back the dosage a little- I think we went to every other day, and he was still fine with that. He was on the Miralax until he was 7. I decided to trial him a week or two without it, and by that time, all was well; his insides had matured enough that they could do their job without any outside help. He's ten now and hasn't had any problems in years.

    I just wanted to throw our story out there so that you'd know that this is indeed pretty common. It *can* be related to emotional issues like stress or life changes, but it's also something that happens on its own to the happiest of kids, and in the grand scheme of things, it ends up being not so huge. Best wishes to you and your sweet little girl! :)

  7. Hi there! I hope really hope things improve for you and your little one!