(First published on The Contented Calf website on Tuesday 7th September 2010.)
Before I had my daughter, friends with babies extolled the virtues of joining the NCT. They were right – through my NCT classes I met a wonderful group of friends. We’ve supported each other through our ups and downs and general experiences of Mummydom.
However, most of what we talked about in our classes themselves has long drifted out of my mind (along with a worrying amount of other stuff!)…
But two things our teacher said stuck firmly in my mind:
- “Cascade of medical intervention” – this phrase repeated itself in my mind throughout my labour, and put a smile on my face as I was legs up in stirrups, 4-way cannular in the back of my hand, massive epidural needle in my back, gas & air mouth-piece never far away, pushing and groaning 1950s-style!
- “You’ll find yourself more obsessed with, and talking about, poo than you could ever imagine”
And oh how true the second comment is…..
nappy off time
This morning saw me, nappy-less one-year-old daughter over my arm, trying not to let her bare bottom touch me, frozen to the spot with indecision about I should best deal with the neatly presented poo that had been laid on our upstairs hall floor. And grunting sounds were still coming out of my daughter’s mouth!
After a quick attempt to sit her on the potty (yes, yes, I do realise she’s way too young to potty train, but I’d got all inspired by tales of Japanese babies using potties ‘virtually from birth’ and had a crazy moment in mothercare one day and bought one) and hold her over the toilet bowl, which both met with cries and frantic wriggling, I opted for shutting her in the bathroom with me in case she did any more, and dealing with the poo later.
The grunting quietened down and she got distracted by trying to push the drying bath-mat into the bath. So I seized the window of opportunity, opened the door, grabbed some loo roll, picked up the offending item and dropped it and the paper into the loo, and flush. Job done!
The carpet was actually OK too, after a quick scrub with carpet cleaner. And secretly I was actually very proud of the little, perfectly formed poo present my daughter had left me. The reason for the seemingly school-girl error of not having a nappy on the baby? I thought I’d take advantage of her waking up half an hour earlier than usual and give her some “nappy off” time.
Only being two weeks into a completely nappy-rash free period, after nearly two months spent recovering from an upset tummy, diarrhoea and the subsequent severe nappy rash (broken skin, weeping wounds etc – poor poor mite), I’m still slightly paranoid that it could return – hence playing a game of 'Russian Poo-lette’ this morning.
But it got me thinking about just how right our NCT teacher had been. Right from the start, it was all about the poo. The tar-like meconium for the first few poos post-birth; the yellow mustardy breast milk poo that follows; the ‘snotty’ poo of a snotty cold. If ever in doubt, then generally it’s worth looking in the nappy.
Then there’s the poo explosions. Yikes!
My first experience of an all out explosion was at the weigh-in clinic a few weeks in. After a quick feed I felt warmth spread out across my daughter’s back. That’s strange, I thought, what’s wrong? Has she got a temperature?
How wrong I was. I saw that tell-tale yellowy brown stain seep through the baby grow. The outer one. I knew the whole outfit was doomed. Having gone through virtually the whole pack of baby wipes, and bagged up not only the nappy, but all her clothes too, I was faced with a clean, naked baby. I’d survived.
OK – on with the new outfit. No new outfit in the change bag…!! It was a cold wet November morning – could I get away with wrapping her in a muslin….?? Hhhmmm.... probably not... How was I going to get this baby home without her freezing? Luckily my much more prepared NCT friend had a spare outfit, which we gratefully borrowed. I’ve never gone out without a change of clothes since.
And from that moment on, poo, in all its forms, becomes part of your everyday life. You can assure the new mum that her baby having not pooed for 24 hours will all be fine.
One of the NCT babes didn’t poo for 10 days one time in the first few weeks – when it finally came, it was a shocker! Our friend slowly walked back into the lounge, where the rest of us were drinking coffee and chatting. She was silent, very pale, looking very much in shock after a LONG time up on the changing mat with her son (now in a completely new outfit). “It was just so awful” was all she could utter for the rest of the morning.
Once they are on solid food, seeing that first ‘poo-nugget’ after a bout of diarrhoea, you rejoice and welcome it back into the family it like a long lost friend. And diarrhoea sees you doing things you would never have dreamed of pre-baby.
This summer at a friend’s barbecue, our daughter had a mid-food poo, which we stupidly didn’t tend to straight away, only to discover that it was an absolute ‘sh*tastrope’ (a term one of our friends introduced us too) exploding out of her nappy onto her summer dress. When my hubby picked her up to change her, he quickly realised it was a two-man job. He was right. She was so covered in it, that we ended up needing to give her an emergency bath….!?! When we arrived back to our friends a good while later, we were definitely suffering from ‘poo-st traumatic stress’.
On Friday just gone, the NCT ladies had a much needed night out. We were determined to have a few hours off from being mummies. One NCT girl’s hubby specifically told her that she should not start the night talking about poo. But having found myself wiping poo off my arm (thankfully not yet in my going out clothes) as part of my ‘getting ready’, I chuckled to myself at how glamorous my life now was. So I was the one to break first, launching into details of the latest ‘poo-arama drama’ as the first cocktails were being supped upon – the perfect remedy for poo-st traumatic stress.
As ever, with love from our family to yours,