Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Joys of Poop

Yesterday evening I had the pleasure of spending several hours with Miller while Megan was out the house.  My mother-in-law was also around, using her wisdom to help me avoid parental malpractice, but it resulted in more one-on-one time with the little guy than I have had since we left the hospital.

I gave him a bottle (of milk), which he greatly enjoyed, and afterwards held him, basking in the glory of fatherhood.  Suddenly, Miller formed a distinctly concerned and confused expression on his face.  His eyes locked with mine, his forehead wrinkled, his wispy eyebrows twisted downward.  If he could speak, I expect he would have said: "WTF?"  A groan, more facial contortions, and then, explosion.  I felt massive vibrations in my arm along with a splattering sound of epic proportions.  Miller's face relaxed.  Poop happens.  But, for us, these explosions still feel like little miracles.

Some my readers will have seen a version of this story I posted in a Facebook competition for Graham Brothers Jewelers in Amarillo. The story I posted for Graham Brothers has resulted in a lot of feedback from friends and family who were unaware of the ordeal, so I thought I would expand the discussion here.  In short, for months before Miller's birth, we were afraid poop wouldn't happen.

At a routine sonogram around the 20th week of Megan's pregnancy, the sonogram doctor noted that Miller had a "prominent" stomach.  In other words, his stomach was larger than average.  They noted no other major warning signs, but they decided it was important to monitor the condition.  This resulted in monthly sonograms that transformed from exciting glimpses of our child to dreaded events adding to our anxiety.  Month after month we had the same result: prominent stomach, no other warning signs.

We hit a low point about two months before the due date.  Megan received a call from the sonogram doctor around 8 PM one evening.  The doctor stated she was concerned about the latest sonogram findings and recommended an MRI in order to get more information about possible conditions.  Her concerns ranged from intestinal blockage to unformed intestines, to cystic fibrosis, to a whole host of other possible problems.  In the course of that conversation, our mild concern transformed into a hefty pile of worry.

We ended up rejecting the proposed MRI.  The approach would have required sedating both Megan and the baby and would possibly fail to provide any additional information.  Instead we waited, hoped and prayed for the best, and prepared for the possibility of needing to bring in specialists after birth.

Miller was born at 3:09 PM on April 26.  His birth, followed by a healthy-sounding cry was wonderful, but lurking at the back of our minds was his first poop.  We wanted a full, stinky diaper, and we wanted it as soon as possible.

The following hours flew by in a frenzy of nurses and family and other visitors.  We had Megan's recovery to tend to, and we also had to figure out how to take care of the little guy.  Hour after hour passed with no diaper filled.  By 9 PM, we were exhausted and needed some rest.  We asked the nurses to wheel Miller to the nursery for a few hours until he needed to eat again.  We both immediately fell into an exhausted deep sleep.

Around 11 PM, the night nurse brought Miller in for an attempted feeding.  I asked her, "Any chance you had to change a diaper?"

Unaware of our particular concern and potentially suspecting I was questioning her skills as a caregiver, she responded, "Yes, we changed his diaper."

At this point, I'm sure both Megan and I looked insane and desperate.  Megan's bevy of drugs had left her with a series of unusual facial expressions normally bordering on a vacant, droopy stare, but, at this time, transitioning to a hopeful, vacant, droopy stare.  My intense nap had left dried remnants of drool on my cheek, and my hair was a messy disaster.  I asked urgently, "Pee or poop?"

Apparently used to dealing with crazy people, the nurse responded: "Both."

Megan and I broke into huge smiles.  We hugged, we kissed, and I'm pretty sure we even high-fived.  I text-messaged family and friends who were equally thrilled to hear about Miller's first bowel moment.  About an hour later, I witnessed some beautiful pooping with my own eyes in real time.  In case the nurse didn't already think I was crazy, I was gleeful as the black muck oozed all over the changing table.

We are now three weeks in, and he's still packing diapers.  While my excitement at the dirty ones has died down a little bit, I am still thankful for every one of them.  I'm told this opinion will change when he moves to solid foods . . . but I'll enjoy it right now.

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