Prepping for a Colonoscopy as a Mom
If you have IBD, you are probably all too familiar with the "dreaded" colonoscopy. I put "dreaded" in quotes because I actually don't mind a colonoscopy.
The test itself is great--you just sleep through it!-- and the prep never bothered me too much. Fortunately, I have figured out the best prep that allows me to be fully "prepped" without leaving me feeling nauseous or sick to my stomach.
I also value colonoscopies because they offer insight as to exactly what is going on with my disease and are more accurate than blood work or an MRI or CT scan. Bottom line, I don't mind colonoscopies and have even requested them in the past (seriously) just to be sure everything was looking good in there ahead of my wedding, and then when trying to conceive.
How the colonoscopy prep changed with my daughter
I still believe all of the above is true, however, I now have an added layer when prepping for my scope-- my 18-month old daughter. My most recent colonoscopy was in February 2021, which I purposely scheduled on a Monday so that I could prep on Sunday when my husband was not working.
I thought this would be easier for all of us since my husband was not working and he could help me with my daughter, especially when my patience grew thin due to not eating all day. It also would be easier for him to watch her while I ran to the bathroom multiple times an hour as the prep started to kick in.
However, my optimism of how much easier this would prep would be soon came to an end once I realized how dependent my daughter was on me, the lack of the ability to fully engage in activities, and the challenge of having an urgent need to use the bathroom at a moment's notice.
I never minded the prep before I had a child
Prior to having a child, I used to use my colonoscopy prep day pretty lightly. I would wake up late, take a nap and just relax.
Basically, I would pretty much do anything to prevent burning off more energy than I was consuming and avoid being hungry by napping through it. This, however, changes when you have kids.
We like to get our daughter outside as often as we can, so we spent the morning walking around the city (where we live) and I cooked her meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner which wasn't too difficult.
Challenges with needing to use the bathroom frequently
The biggest challenge came after 6 pm when I started drinking my Gatorade/Miralax solution and began using the bathroom frequently. I was terribly grateful for my husband being there to play and watch our daughter, but there was nothing he could do when she cried, "Mama!" when I would abruptly leave the room to use the bathroom.
My heart broke as she stood in the hallway crying, waiting for me to return (quite a while later). It was also challenging when the three of us were playing in her room and reading books together and I suddenly had to use the bathroom, mid-page.
And, while my husband gladly took over, my daughter still wanted "Mommy" to read her the book and couldn't understand why I kept leaving.
How my condition affects my daughter
It has become very apparent that since becoming a mom, my disease is no longer just my own. I always knew my husband had to take time to take me to and from my colonoscopy, but the prep was otherwise just my inconvenience.
Now I see how it affects our daughter and it is challenging, both mentally and physically. Next time, I will plan on sending her to my parents for the weekend or making other arrangements so it is less of an inconvenience to all of us.
In the meantime, I would love to hear your suggestions and stories of how you prep for your colonoscopy with little ones around and if you have any additional tips to get through it with fewer tears (for both mama and baby)!
What type of IBD have you been diagnosed with?