My Fecal Obsession

One of the things I never expected about being a parent is the fact that I am now obsessed with my child’s feces.

Your baby’s first poop is something to be celebrated. My baby works! She poops! She’s healthy! But wait… Should it be that color? It’s runny, does that mean diarrhea? Why does it look seedy?? NOW IT’S THICK. OH MY GOD. MY KID IS DYING.

You obsess and obsess over this tiny little being’s poop. That is just something that threw me for a complete loop about being a mom. I have never cared about crap before. All I know is that I do it, you do it.. Like the book says, Everyone Poops. But now if my kid’s poop looks even a little bit green I wonder if she has some horrible intestinal parasite that’s hosting and living in her stomach lining. If it’s a little thicker than normal, I worry. Well, this past weekend we hit our first poop problem… Nellie’s constipated. I noticed that her stool was thicker than usual, and green. Normally, since she’s formula fed her stool is mustardy-yellow and like peanut butter (okay, are you completely and utterly grossed out beyond belief yet? Because you ain’t heard nothin’ yet, sweetheart.) but with one of her movements it was greenish and firm. Not quite like a big-person poop… But it wasn’t the nice, smeary doo-doo that I was used to. I worried a little but not overly; after all, formula fed babies tend to get constipated from time to time. So I picked my little lady up and was doing the “poop pose” frequently (the “poop pose” is holding baby so their back is against your chest, and pulling their legs up toward their belly) and rubbing her tummy gently. She was straining more to go and when she would finally go she was so happy. No more fussing, no more grunting.. Just my happy little lady!

Yesterday I definitely reached the ultimate in “I never ever thought I’d do this”. I had read somewhere that warm compresses and – ahem – manual stimulation can help a baby poop if they are constipated. So when it had been a while since Nellie had pooped, I got a warm washcloth before a diaper change. I lay her down on the table and pulled her into “laying down poop pose” and waited. Just a teensy bit of poop. I got to work with the washcloth; I tucked it around my finger and (here’s where it gets fun, folks) pushed my finger against her rectum and rubbed very gently. Almost instantly she pooted. I cheered. And then she began to poop. I yelped. I managed to pull my hand away quickly (I’m good at narrowly avoiding fecal disaster) and let her do her thing. Again; green, firm.. Not something mommy wants to see. It was chased by a little bit more “normal looking” stool so I didn’t sweat it much.

Today she’s only pooped once. And it was definitely green and firm, and when she was pushing she was crying…. So daddy and I decided to call the doctor. They asked a ton of questions and had me take her temperature. Everything was normal, so basically they just said to keep putting her in “poop pose” and stimulating her rectum like I have been. Hopefully she’ll get some relief soon. Until then, I will faithfully check her diapers and poke the poop with my baby wipe-covered fingers to examine it for blood and to check the consistency.

Ah, parenthood. Glamorous to the very end.