Nothing is more indicative of the fundamental lifestyle difference between parents and non-parents than poop. For the child-free, poop is something that happens behind closed doors and talked about with a doctor in hushed tones. Any knowledge you have about anything poop related stays lodged firmly in the “TMI” part of your brain. For us parents, poop is all in a day’s work. Colors, textures, smells, we’ve experienced it all, and these attributes are suddenly legitimate and not at all embarrassing (and actually sometimes fun? who said that?) topics of conversation. I am pretty much on daily poop watch. It’s not like I’m keeping a log or anything (poop pun!), but when my parents and I do handoff on their days, I always ask two questions: “How was she?” and, “Did she poop?” I guess I just like to know.
This week, we had our first poop crisis – another parental rite of passage! Baby girl grunted, strained, and turned various shades of red and purple with NO results for SIX AGONIZING DAYS. Our crisis took on many stages.
Day one of no poop: Relief. Yesss didn’t have to change any nasty solid food diapers today! That probably means she’ll have a good one tomorrow. HA oh well, let the babysitter deal with it. It’s so nice to have a break now and then.
Day two: Confusion. She didn’t poop? What do you mean she didn’t poop? That’s weird. All day? Are you sure? Try to think of the last time she hasn’t pooped for two days in a row, can’t.
Day three: Denial. Wait, has it really been three days? No way, I’m thinking of the wrong day. I totally changed a poopy diaper in Barnes & Noble, which was definitely on Sunday, not Saturday. Wait, was it? There is no way it’s been three days. Her dad/grandpa/grammy must have changed one and not told me. There is NO WAY it’s been three days.
Day four: Research. Googled “baby constipation,” “7 month old constipated,” and “how often do babies poop?” Implement various constipation remedies, including bicycle legs, abdominal massage, sending telepathic poop messages, and introducing a sippy cup to get her more liquids. Give baby an extra long bath. Find myself praying for the first time that she will poop in the tub.
Day five: Excuses. Well she sure is farting, so at least we know it isn’t an intestinal blockage. That means the pipes are working, right? And I mean, she’s not at all unhappy. She can’t be horribly uncomfortable or anything. Consulted a coworker, who told me a story about the time her baby (now fully functioning 10-year-old) didn’t poop for a week, and her pediatrician laughed when she called it in. See, this happens to everyone at some point! Totally normal. Told a second coworker, who had no advice but seemed horrified.
Day six: Quick escalation to FREAKOUT. My husband is working from home on a babysitter day, and I’ve sworn him to secrecy on the poop front because she gets nuts about poop and will surely blow it out (poop pun!) of proportion. My plan was to call the doctor when I got home from work anyway if things aren’t moving by then. Get an email from him in the early afternoon that baby is now crying and seems miserable, so he spilled the beans. Of course, I am in back-to-back meetings, so I’m just getting the email updates on my iPad (meanwhile I’m sweating and feeling guilty and confessing our poop crisis to practically everyone I see). Update: My husband called the doctor’s office, left a message, and is waiting for a call back. Update: The nurse calls him back and seems unconcerned, but suggests a glycerine suppository. Update: Suppository bought and administered – now we wait. Update: Three little bunny poops! Baby cried like it hurt. (Update: Yikes. This is our life now.)
Long story short, a half jar of pureed prunes, SIX poopy diapers, and, erm, six celebratory dances later, it is safe to say that our poop crisis is over. Part of me feels a little sheepish about sharing this, but no lie – I had multiple requests for updates on the situation when it was going down (or not going down? poop pun?). It is funny to think how much life has changed since baby, and sometimes I can’t believe that these are the sorts of things that I care about. Thankfully, I am surrounded by many other parents who have all had their own troubles and are willing to indulge my first-time-parent-panic. Sometime soon I’ll be paying it forward to another new mom – that is, after I’m done celebrating.