Friday, November 27, 2009

Our Thanksgiving

I should have gone to bed at my usual time the night before. On most nights, I'm tucked in bed by 9pm, following up on the day's emails and news, before I conk out around 10pm for four hours of solid sleep while Jeff takes care of the baby. My shift starts at 2am.

The night before Thanksgiving, however, we watched more episodes from the third season of Lost on Hulu, an indulgence we haven't had since I was on bedrest during pregnancy. It was too easy to click the "Next Video" button as we excoriated Kate for having slept with Sawyer and wondered how they were going to kill off Charlie. And before I knew it, it was already past 11:30pm. But hey, live wild. It was the holidays.

When I took over for my shift, the little guy was just finishing one of his many meals. He then slept until around 3:30 am. When he woke again, I took him into the other room where he ate and then dozed for about 30 minutes. He then woke again unhappy with his state of being and proceeded to toss and turn, apparently trying to deal with his gasses. After a couple of hours of discomfort, it was mealtime again. I finally got him to sleep again at 7am.

I intended to close my eyes for just a few minutes while he slept, but when I woke again, it was already 9:30am.

I rushed into the bedroom and woke up Jeff.

"Jeff, when are your parents coming?"

"I'm not sure. They haven't called back yet."

I grabbed his phone and saw that there was no message.

"I hope they don't show up too early. They wouldn't just show up, right? We'd better get up and get dressed."


"Can you watch the baby for 10 minutes? I really need to poop and then I have to pump."

"Sure. Come here, Mr. T."

I handed the baby off to Jeff and rushed to the bathroom.

It had been a few days since I had done number two and that's never a good thing. Some alien creature had taken over my body since delivery and my system was no longer reliable. My efforts to eat more fiber sometimes failed when we had no time to shop for groceries, so I often resorted to taking plum extract supplements that my mom had sent. But they obviously were not working as I had hoped. I felt packed inside, and I knew I had to go before it got worse. So on this morning, I even took a nasty tasting drink of "Colon Cleanse" that we had in our pantry.

I had been sitting there for good 15 minutes with US Magazine across my lap when Jeff banged on the bathroom door. He popped his head in and said, "They're here!"


"My parents are here!"

"Oh god. I haven't even showered. And it's going to take me some time here. And I have to pump."

"Don't worry. Do what you have to do. I'll take care of things out here."

With that, he shut the door.

I sat there, feeling miserable. And for the life of me, I couldn't go. I sat there as I heard the doorbell ring and heard Jeff rush down the hallway and open the door. Then I heard the greetings and his parents coo at the baby. Then their footsteps walked past the shut bathroom door, as I continued to sit there.

After another 5 to 10 minutes, I finally gave up. Feeling worse than I did before I started, I took my shower and got dressed as quickly as I could.

I rushed into the living room to greet Jeff's parents. Then sat uncomfortably for a few minutes as they chatted about their recent cruise to the Hawaiian Islands. I then handed them the photo album I had made for them of our little guy's birth so that they could entertain themselves while I went off and pumped.

I then rejoined our guests for another stretch while Jeff went off to take his shower.

Later, I handed the baby back to Jeff and excused myself as discreetly as I could so that I could try again.

No luck.

I came back out and squirmed some more.

Around 1pm, I decided that I had to do something. Jeff's brother and his girlfriend were also coming around 2pm, and I couldn't keep excusing myself. Then I remembered we had coffee. The caffeinated kind. Coffee always worked for me. But I haven't had it for two years ever since we started trying to have a baby. Now that I was breastfeeding, it was still not an option. But I was desperate. I had to sacrifice one round of breastmilk to do this for myself.

So while Jeff prepared the roast and our guests munched on cheese and crackers, I downed one cup of coffee like a tequila shot. Then another. I waited 10 minutes and then excused myself again.

This time, after additional effort, it worked. With great relief, I did a mercy flush. And heard the now all too familiar sound of the toilet clogging.


I tried to unclog the damn thing with the new heavy duty plunger that we had just bought last week. It hadn't worked the week before and it wasn't working now.

About 15 minutes later, I heard Jeff knock on the door.

"Are you ok in there?"

"I clogged up the toilet." I felt on the verge of tears.


"Here, let me try it."

"No, no. Stay with your parents. I'll just call the plumber. I hope they're working today..."

I closed the lid and ran into the bedroom to look up the number for Plumberman. Then got voicemail.

"Hi, this is Shinyung. You were here last week. Our toilet is clogged again, and we need someone to unclog it right away. We have guests at our house, and we only have one bathroom. Can you please, please call me back as soon as you can?"

With that, I waited with the phone in my hand. And turned to Baby T, "Things are not going so well today..."

The phone rang less than 15 minutes later.

"Hi, this is Larry from Plumberman. I can be there in about half an hour. Does that work."

"Oh, bless you."

When I went out to the living room to tell Jeff the good news, he was on the phone, telling his brother to make sure to stop by a gas station on their way up if they had to go.

Shortly after our other guests arrived, Larry the Plumberman showed up. He was done in less than two minutes. He charged us his usual $60, even though it was a holiday. Jeff gave the guy a $20 tip.

After, we had a lovely meal. Our little guy's first Thanksgiving with his grandparents, his uncle and his girlfriend and their three pugs.

Little does he know that The Plumberman saved the day.


  1. Thank you for being real and giving a real account of what it's really like. It really bothers me when people try to make motherhood all roses when sometimes, it also includes things like constipation, and that's part of it, too. Thanks for writing that post.

  2. stock up some bran and flex seed. Good luck...

  3. I found that nothing really helped to get things moving normally again other than time -- and it took a lot longer than I expected. It really is one of the things no one really talks about re the post-partum period. The more salad I ate, the better luck I had, but that requires regular trips to the store, which are tough to make happen. Best wishes.

  4. I completely understand having a five week old baby myself! I find lots and lots and lots of water does help somewhat....

  5. hahaha.. sorry. Docusate sodium has been my go-to thing. I have it when I'm eating a protein heavy meal or whenever. Also, the orange stuff... helped before but with Aiden, it gave me way too much gas..


    i totally understand the relief though. after i had aiden, i couldn't go for like 5 days and i seriously thought i was going to die.

  6. I hear you. I have been downing prunes, and it really helps. They taste a lot better than prune juice, too.

  7. Get the "Hercules" model plunger. I've been to wimpy plungerville before, and Hercules works.

  8. Oh, I hope it was okay to laugh a little while reading that. I am sorry for your mishap, but it does make for a good story! And it all worked out in the end. Happy holidays!

  9. All, thanks so much for your suggestions! I've become very attached to my prunes during the past couple of weeks.

    Juliet, thanks for laughing!