48 hours of uncertainty that revolved around poo
After the incredibly emotional birth of Roma on 31st May 2017, we weren’t sure when we would be discharged from hospital.
Due to a meconium release just before the little one’s entry into the world, we were told we’d be staying in that evening for observation.
We ransacked the free sarnies and cartons of drink offered to us and were kept in our labour ward room for six hours after the birth until 9pm, at which time we were taken upstairs to the overnight ward.
Scorching is a fair description of the ward temperatures, which are kept to oven-like levels to prevent babies from catching a chill – and I can safely say there was no danger of that happening.
We made ourselves at home in Mordor, commandeered a nearby fan, drew the curtain around us and got as comfortable as possible for the night – Jenna in her bed, Roma in her cot and me in a chair, although I’d have easily nodded off on a bed of nails at that point.
Roma slept mostly, but when she did let off that now distinct cry, we took it in turns to offer skin-to-skin cuddles and nappy inspections, while I was on standby during breastfeeding, should my angling skills be called upon.
“We were going back to the hospital we’d only just escaped under 24 hours earlier.”
Ahead of the birth, some breastfeeding tips were offered at antenatal classes and Jenna also went to lessons solely for breastfeeding. She followed the instructions to the letter and gave Roma a number of feeds throughout the night and following morning.
Despite her eating, still no poo arrived, although she’d done a handful of wees. We had a check-up with the paediatrician who then informed us everything was fine – though we couldn’t leave until Roma took a poo.
But what was the obsession with the poo about? They were worried that she may have stomach problems that could impact her digestive functions.
In the end, the midwife discharged us at 4.30pm and told us not to panic, that we had a 48-hour window in which Roma could have her first poo. She added that babies aren’t always immediately hungry either, and it may take a while for her to build an appetite and have a subsequent release.
However, she insisted that if 48 hours passed and there was still no bowel movement, we were told to return to the hospital immediately and head to A&E, an area we had an unpleasant experience in during the early stages.
Fast-forward to the next day, we had a visit from the community midwife a little before 3pm (the time of Roma’s birth).
It had been 48 hours, but still no poo.
We were going back to the hospital we’d only just escaped under 24 hours earlier.
The midwife called up in advance on our behalf and we were told to visit the Special Baby Care Unit.
Special Baby Care Unit – it’s not a destination you plan/want to head to with your newborn child. It’s like telling a labouring mother their birth has gone from low to high risk, which is exactly what Jenna heard.
After arrival at the unit, three hours passed in the blink of an eye and still Roma hadn’t pooed. We were on edge – where was the brown stuff? Why wasn’t she passing anything but wee?
Helpfully, we had an incredible midwife, who was really down to earth, which helped to put us at ease. She explained that Roma hadn’t been latching onto the breast fully, so she hadn’t had entire feeds, thus no poo! It was as simple as that.
It was contradictory though. The midwives on the overnight ward had assured us that she was latching, but, and that’s a big but – and I cannot lie, sorry – on reflection we realised that nobody actually waited and took the time to see that she was feeding properly.
They meant what they said with Special Baby Care though. The midwife’s time was devoted to us and us alone – she wasn’t spinning various plates at once and had the time to consider options thoughtfully. She suggested expressing some milk and brought in a breast pump and bottle with which to feed Roma, assessing how she got on.
Deciding she’d like us to stay for further observation overnight, ensuring us that she could give us the watchful eye and assistance needed, we readied ourselves for our new digs.
With the expressing completed, Roma’s bottle was full and, very quickly, empty, she’d had an entire feed!
It became apparent that nothing was wrong with Roma’s digestive functions at all. As the midwife stripped her down for further checks shortly after the bottle was finished, gooey batch of fresh excrement awaited her, and we couldn’t have been happier!
To top it off, happy that she’d given us enough understanding of feeding, expressing and seen Roma complete a transaction, the midwife green-lit us to head home.
Prior to parenthood, I’ve often heard of people explaining just how horrific it is changing nappies and seen people retching during changes.
I never had that problem. I think it was actually a relief that our little gummy bear had actually been given a clean bill of health, so clearing up a poo was the least of my concerns – until Saturday 17th June rolled around.
It was around 6.30am, at which time I woke to an aggravated Roma. I can’t remember if I fed her at this point, because it’s the nappy change that will forever stand out in mind.
With warm water, cotton wool and a fresh nappy on standby, I began to clear away the poo she had served up. Little did I know that she was about to follow up with something unimaginable, which I like to call – the poozooka.
Yes, I’ve heard tales of the poonami, the poosplosion, but the poozooka was born as a literal rocket of shit erupted from her backside and all over our bed – with splash-back on a sleeping Jenna.
So… How’s your Saturday morning going? “OH MY GOD!!!” (sounding like JR from WWE) was my cry as a stream of 💩 came blasting out of Roma’s backside! It’s unclear whether that yell or the impact woke @jenpole up after I told her to stay in bed. I’ve heard of the “poonami” and “poosplosion” before, and foolishly thought I’d experienced them – I stand corrected. I present to you what I’ve crowned the “poozooka” 😲👶💩 #DADultLife #HowSway
Sure, I’m new to this, but don’t tell me that’s normal!
In fact, it became apparent from the reactions that it was anything but normal from the countless laughter emojis I witnessed after sharing the results.
“Oh. My. God. I’m a three timer and never, ever have I experienced that!”
“Did you guys just move and start all over?!”
“That’s seriously grim!”
A reinforcement to the changing unit set-up was made, as seen below, and let’s just say it works.
More recently during a shopping trip a couple of weeks ago, we were forced to use the changing facilities at Lakeside, which are actually not as horrific as I anticipated. Turns out there’s parking bays for buggies, sinks and all sorts – a cleaner was even hovering around making herself busy.
The room was empty and we had our pick of the nine or so units available, but quite quickly we had parents on either side of us, changing their respective toddler and newborn.
Long story short, Roma had locked and loaded. The moment the nappy was off, she let of a warning shot before going for distance, just inches from the neighbouring baby’s head, resulting in a gasp from the child’s mother, while the dad to the left found himself heaving uncontrollably.
If I revert back to one of the more motivational comments left on the original poozooka image, it was this: “May the odds be ever in your favour.”
It’s a pretty accurate comment to be fair, because each nappy change now feels like I’m volunteering as tribute.