Don’t worry, I’m not posting pictures of baby shit. I’m not THAT terrible of a person. (I only texted the video of the aftermath to my husband).
When Charlie was three days old and STILL shitting meconium, I told my husband, “This baby is full of shit!”
Nevermind that I had to be admitted to the hospital 12 hours before my labor began because there was meconium in my water when it broke (so he was shitting in utero), this baby went on for SIX days of meconium poop. And he was born five days post-estimated-due-date.
Charlie has always been a farter — much to his daddy’s praise — but it’s only in the last few weeks that I’ve become increasingly obsessed with my baby’s bowels. I know logically that it’s considered within the realm of normal for an exclusively breastfed baby to only poop once in a two week period. But I think, because of all the farting, around day three I start to turn into a weird, obsessive poop patrolling parent.
“Did he poop?” is the question I ask anyone else that changes his diaper. I’m sure I sound like a crazy person, but I’m seriously wondering, “When is this baby going to poop?”
The first time, it was only like three or four days. You could tell that, by day three, Charlie was noticeably cranky. I was giving him belly massages and we were all taking turns playing with him by bicycling his legs. And then, YAY! He pooped. It was a little anticlimactic — just a regular sized little dijon mustard schmear in his cloth diaper.
The second time, it was six days. I remember saying to my husband, trying my damndest to play it cool like the experienced, not-gonna-freak-out-about-stuff mama I like to pretend to be, “If he hits day seven, I’ll call the doctor or something.”
Nevermind that I had already frantically pinged my friend Amber, the lactation consultant on Facebook messenger. She assured me that everything was fine, blah blah blah.
And it was… This time. He finally pooped on day six and, again, it was just a regular little breastfed skid mark of a thing.
When Harrison was a baby, he seemed to poop at every nursing. Half way through feeding him, his little skinny body would get stiff and rigid and his face would turn red — while he was still latched and actively nursing — and SPQUOOOOSH — he’d poop. He was so predictable. He never did anything crazy with his poop. There are no stories of coming in to find him after a nap with his diaper off and shit smeared all over himself and his bed. He was the model shitter, you guys.
This is what first children do to you. They’re great in a lot of ways… And you eventually forget about all the bat-shit crazy things that happened (I seriously cannot remember one crazy thing that happened with Harrison when he was a baby. Seriously, not one thing right now. Hashtag buried trauma). It’s a biological imperative because if we remembered all the horrible things our first kids did, we’d never have more children. IT’S ABOUT FURTHERING THE HUMAN RACE… At our own expense.
So, of course, Charlie… Oh my lort, Charlie.
This was the third time he had gone for a while without pooping. I was looking at my diet, thinking surely there’s something I’m doing wrong that is causing his poops to get further and further apart… I’m looking at him like he’s the tardis of babies, “Where are you putting all this milk, dude?” If the average breastfed baby gets 25 ounces of milk a day (that’s like THREE GLASSES OF MILK, y’all!), where the ever-loving-fuck is he putting the milk? He’s not super chunky or fat. He’s not growing at an overly-exceptional rate. He’s smart as hell, but seriously, where is the milk going?
My friend Leah wisely said, “No waste.” Which makes sense to me on a philosophical level, but when we’re talking volume and measurements — where does the milk go when a baby doesn’t poop for a week?
The better question would have been, “Where does the milk go when a baby doesn’t poop for a week and, actually, he’s only had two little Hershey-squirts in the last THREE WEEKS?”
You see where I’m going here, right?
Let me go back a little bit, before I open up the trauma wound for you. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Kristen was writing her column, Kiddie Dope, for the Flagpole, our local free paper. She wanted a picture of a fresh baby + mama + the midwife that delivered him to go along with her article about birth choices in Athens. When she arrived, Charlie had just pooped in his diaper, some basic little poop, nothing to write home about. We’re standing in his room, waiting for my midwife Alexa to come by to get the photo op.
I’m all tra-la-la-ing through this diaper change because, big deal, right? As I’m wiping Charlie’s ass, he REDI-WHIPS-HIS-SHIT into my hand. Thankfully, I had a cloth wipe in my hand because if I had felt the heat of his shit on my skin, I probably would have stress-fainted. It really rattled me in a way that is funny now, but was really kind of pushing me on the verge of a panic-attack. It was twenty minutes before my heart stopped racing.
I had NEVER had a baby literally shit in my hands. Somehow, I was able to dodge all of those disgusting bullets with my first kid, but Charlie has other plans. This kid is up to something, y’all. Pray for me.
So, last night, he pooped! Yay! It had had been six days again. I was beginning to think this was our new normal. Charlie drinks a week’s worth of breastmilk and only poops a sandwich’s worth of dijon mustard. Fine. I congratulated him (and breathed a sigh of relief), changed his diaper and we went to bed.
This morning was completely typical in every way – we have got our mornings down to a science. Get up, get the oldest child up, get dressed, nurse a little, take the big boy to school, Charlie falls asleep on the ride, wakes up about 15 minutes after we get back home, nurses again and then takes a good, long morning nap.
He wouldn’t settle in for his good, long morning nap. I’m thinking, “Is this another growth spurt?” He’s snuggled up next to me on the couch, happily chewing/sucking on his hands when I hear that familiar SPQUOOOOSH and think, “Hm… That’s weird. He just pooped last night.”
So I’m going to stop here and give you a chance to leave. It’s not too late. You can save yourself. I was not able to save myself from what happened during this diaper change, but you can still save yourself. Close the website. Walk away. Look toward the heavens and breathe in a deep, sweet breath of autumn air and exhale knowing that you saved yourself.
Still want to go on? Okay… But I’m just apologizing in advance. I promise, no pictures.
I unsnap his cute, yellow Fuzzi Bunz diaper and, welp, there’s more poop. Nothing terrible (yet), but it’s an interesting consistency. Less watery than usual and almost a little, peanut-buttery in texture. There’s even a little smooth-terd-y piece right between his butt cheeks. Let me just wipe that–OH MY GOD.
OH MY GOD. IT’S STILL COMING OUT. The poop was still coming out of his butt. The best way I can describe this to you is via gif.
So I wipe his butt and frantically move the wipe and the diaper away from his kicking feet.
I’m holding his feet with my left hand and the wipes warmer is on the left side, so I’m reaching over his body for another cloth wipe and he grunts and I hear a soft gurgling sound. I’m barely able to catch the next … wave? … of shit as it oozes out of his butt. I don’t even have time to unfold the wipe, so IT’S TOUCHING MY HAND BARELY.
So I’m freaking out. I don’t remember if I was squealing, but I’m pretty sure I was making noise. I really don’t remember sound at all except what I heard next, when I was looking at my right hand, with poop on it, and reaching with my left hand for another wipe.
His foot made an audible SQUISH in the shit smear on one of the cloth wipes. I’m up to four wipes now, frantically trying to keep the shit controlled to one area and keep his feet from kicking or flinging it onto me further.
By the fourth wipe, I had almost figured out how to deal with this kind of shit. I had the wipe open in my right hand, catchers-mit-style with his ankles in my left hand, holding his legs up and he just…
It was like warm icing. And I just held him there in that position while he pooped and pooped and kept pooping. And kept pooping.
When it appeared that he finally stopped, I cleaned him thoroughly, paying careful attention to clean the shit from between his toes (ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!), and sliiiiiiid his body up to the other end of the changing table. I corralled all the shitty wipes and the diaper to one corner of the changing table, rubbed my hands thoroughly with more wipes, and put a fresh clean diaper on him. I snapped the legs on his sleeper and stood him up on his feet and he just SMILED AT ME.
Now every time he nurses, I’m going to stare at him in horror because I know this shit will happen again.
This kid is going to kill me.