This year I was blessed to have another baby. I’ve been at home taking care of Jacob, otherwise known as Button, for a good few weeks… so I thought I would blog about how caring for a newborn has affected my ileostomy. An important note to make before I begin: I feel my stoma doesn’t detrimentally effect how well I look after Button, but he can make having a stoma slightly more awkward!
How My Stoma Has Helped Me Care For My Newborn
I’ve been coping surprisingly well caring for Button compared to how I coped caring for my daughter, who I had prior to my stoma surgery back when I had a J-Pouch. However, I was very sick with undiagnosed Pouchitis when I had her, plus I had post-natal depression. This time round having my stoma has enabled me to feel healthy enough to do night feeds (thankfully which are few - I know I am blessed!) whilst also managing to get on with things during the day.
On another plus side, now that I’m healed enough from my elective caesarean, I’ve been able to push the pram and even hold Button in a wrap without affecting my stoma or putting too much pressure on the area. This was something I desperately wanted to do when my daughter was a baby, but couldn’t due to how sick I was - so I’m over the moon that my stoma has made me healthy enough to be able to do it with Button.
How Caring For A Newborn Has Affected My Stoma Care
The main problem I have is that I have to be much more aware of my stoma pouch and it’s volume, especially because I have a high output.
For example, when Button is lying on me, I can struggle to move him when my bag fills up and I need to change it. He also seems to enjoy kicking my stoma pouch when it has started to fill up. Both of these things make me worry about leaks, especially because I had a leak when he was 2 weeks old. I remember shouting some mild profanities as 00Steve rushed to grab Button before my poop got everywhere.
Like most parents I don’t like leaving my baby alone for too long, so it can be difficult having to step away for a few moments to change my stoma pouch – especially if it takes longer to change than anticipated.
Another problem I hadn’t anticipated is that, due to my no longer pregnant stomach being much flatter, it has become more difficult to apply my stoma pouch because my skin isn’t as taut. My stoma has also shrunk way smaller than it was before pregnancy - something I learnt whilst doing the bag roulette challenge from The IBD and Ostomy Support Show.
Overall, having a newborn with my ostomy hasn’t been too difficult in comparison to the problems I experienced with my J-Pouch. I am thankful for my stoma, the health it has given me and my beautiful baby boy!