Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Our Current Enema Routine

Life is always busy at our house so I’ve been a bit lax in posting about things.  I think it has something to do with having my eighth baby last month…LOL.  I wanted to do a post sharing more about Mason’s enema routine because it’s something I was curious about before we were doing it. 

Let me start by explaining why we are doing enemas.  Mason has what is called a neurogenic bowel.  The nerves to his bowels are damaged (part of his Spina bifida).  This means different things for each person.  For Mason it means that his bowels do not eliminate poop on their own because his colon doesn’t have the rhythmic muscle movement needed to push things down and out.  We are not sure yet if his colon has ANY muscle movement.  If we keep his stool very soft he will poop some when crying or crawling around because he’s using his abdominal muscles and that naturally pushes somewhat on the colon/pelvic area.  He has spent more time constipated than not.  We use Miralax to try to keep poop soft but often we swing from constipation to diarrhea, not a good cycle. 

Mason has an open wound we’re trying to get healed on his backside (skin tore when he was scooting and it is really hard to heal).  In an effort to keep poop out of that open wound and avoid infection we started daily enemas.  It was something we were needing to begin soon anyway, this just moved the timetable up a bit. 

100_4570We went with a cone enema because Mason’s anus is really weak and doesn’t hold fluid in well.  So what you’re looking at is a bag to hold fluid, a tube, and a white cone on the end of the tube.  We use water and mineral oil currently for the fluid.

100_4574There is a lock that slides open and shut to control the flow of the solution.  The cone keeps things from coming out.  Why is that important?  Well, we want the fluid to have time to go up through the whole colon.  The cone mostly keeps Mason’s bottom from leaking.    

100_4575The process takes time and will take longer the older he gets.  Right now we lay Mason on his side on a towel right outside our tiny bathroom.  We hang the bag inside the bathroom on a hook.  Then we put just part of the cone tip into his bottom and hold it there.  Open the lock and let the fluid in, then close the lock and wait.  Our current wait time is 5 minutes.  During this time we need to keep Mason happy laying on his side, and we have to keep holding the cone in place.  It’s a good thing he’s so easygoing!

IMG_20130817_195651When our timer beeps we remove the cone and move quickly to the toilet.  I usually have a diaper on him for this transfer to save my floors from the fluid rush.  Remove the diaper and entertaining part two commences.  We need to keep Mason on the toilet until he poops. 

Right now that is still being tweaked.  It takes 5-10 minutes at least.  What we are still tweaking is the amount of fluid to use.  We need enough that it brings the poop out with it.  Mason’s body isn’t helping at all.  He simply doesn’t seem to have any muscle reflexes working for us.  When he is older he will learn to use his abdominal muscles to try to bear down.  But how do you get a 1 year old to do that?  For now the most effective ways to get him to engage that abdomen are:

  • Laughing like crazy.
  • Coughing
  • Crying

We try to get Mason laughing but it doesn’t always work. 

The biggest adjustment to this has simply been making a consistent time each day to do the enema that works with everything else going on.  It’s one more thing that *needs* done.  I think some days our life is run by when things need to be done for Mason.  We already have the every four hours cathing schedule (8am, 12 noon, 4pm, 8pm, 12 midnight).  Then we have physical therapy and stretches to do several times a day.  Now we have enemas.  Oh, and his medication needs done twice a day (8am and 8pm). And bandage changes at every diaper change.  Add in cooking and mealtimes, playing, homeschooling siblings, cleaning the house, feeding/diapering/seeing to the needs of baby Samuel, and life in general and you can see why we live by a routine.  We have to!!!  <smile> 


What is something you’ve had to adjust in your family’s routine?  Was it easy to make time for something new or did you struggle with it?


  1. Thank you for posting this. It is talked about a little here and there on the internet but not shown much and in such detail. I have read your blog from beginning to end. It has been the most helpful, real and informative blog to date to help us make a decision about a possible adoption of little girl with SB. We want to make an informed dicission based on prayer to God and what the true daily facts could possibly be. We adopt children with special needs and at our age want to make sure we don't take in more than we can handle. I don't know why I over think it. God does it all anyways. He is always faithful and always provides. Blessings!

  2. Susan, I'm glad this was helpful! You're right, God does most of the work. I know we couldn't do this without Him. Let me know if you have any questions about SB! Bless you for adopting children who other wise are often overlooked. I would love to hear about this little girl you're considering!

  3. I dont know if we will get her yet. We just requested her file and are waiting to review it and see if the county thinks she is a good match for our family. We already have five at home all with special needs so they might not let us. It is in Gods hands. But I am doing a ton of reseach so we know all we can before stepping forward if given the yes on her. You actually can see her. She is on the My Turn Now website for Georgia. Just type in your search for children under 5 up for adoption. Her name is Ah'Niya. She is three and just a cutie pie and in a wheel chair. We already have one in a wheel chair so have a home that is excess-able and a van with a lift. Please do keep it all in your prayers as she does need a home and we are willing if it is Gods will. Truly, I have learned the most from your blog. I dont know if we would have considered her if I had not found you and a few other places that state and show the facts of it all. It might have seemed to overwhelming from just reading others as they put either all happy pictures and no real life daily things. And I knew there was so much more to it than that... or some people put in to much hardship. Yours is a good balance and all truth. If you want to see our family, drop by for a visit at www.muchbiggerthanme.blogspot.com Blessings!

  4. As a mom of littles I understand how hard it must be to keep a 1 year old still. :) Good work!

  5. We are just starting this process so thanks for posting!!


Thanks for commenting!

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.