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Helpful JB re-labeled some of my medications so I could keep track of their purpose.





Tuesday, September 6, 2005

When JB and I first got to our house on Friday night, I can't begin to describe how stressed out I was. Looking back, I realize I was tired, in pain, drugged, and likely roiling with hormones; combined with the enormity of bringing home a newborn, it's no wonder I experienced what you might describe as a teeny, tiny little breakdown. For the previous 48 hours we had nurses checking on us around the clock to make sure the baby was still breathing and that we hadn't accidentally fed him bleach and he had spent much of his time safely installed in a sterile hospital bassinet and now he was in our living room, JESUS, just sitting there in his bouncy seat like we'd ordered him from Amazon, and our house was most decidedly NOT a sterile ANYTHING.

I spent a good part of the evening in near-hysterics, sobbing as I limped around in an attempt to clean the house while JB worriedly asked me over and over to just sit down already. Every time I looked at Riley I burst into a fresh flurry of tears, completely unhinged by the fact that he was out of my belly's relative safety and food delivery system and in our care, US, the people whose dining room table was covered with week-old newspapers and piles of dog fur.

Those first few hours were scary, but eventually I calmed down enough to relax on our living room couch with Riley in my arms and get a little perspective. The baby didn't care if the coffee table was badly in need of some lemon Pledge. We didn't need the special bassinet. We had food and diapers and warm blankets and by god, the three of us were going to be just fine.

As each day goes by, I gain a little more experience, I learn just a little more about our son, and I feel a little more in control of this miraculous new job I have. However, there is no denying the fact that we are brand new at this, and sometimes feel less than confident about what we're doing.

For instance, JB has created an Excel sheet where we obsessively enter data about Riley's input and output. It has columns for the quantity of formula he's consumed (yes: formula. Unfortunately, for medical reasons I can't breastfeed, and when I say "can't", I mean physically, not emotionally, so please do not send the La Leche people to my house for an intervention, okay?), the time of day he ate, and the amount in both ounces and milliliters. There are also entry fields for the time of day he had a dirty diaper, and the contents of said diaper as defined by the following terms: "Full Meal Deal", "Golden Shower", or "Log Patrol".

I began worrying about the state of Riley's butt yesterday, when I noticed we hadn't had occasion to mark down a Full Meal Deal or a Log Patrol in quite a while. Since midnight Monday morning, actually. He'd been watering his diapers on a regular basis, but had produced no poop whatsoever, despite the number of increasingly anxious inspections I gave his lower region.

As a person currently struggling with the fact that I've had both major abdominal surgery and many dosings of a codeine-based narcotic in the last week, I can identify with the discomfort caused by, um, not moving the mail, if you get my drift. I can only assume the pain level goes up when you're less than 2 feet long from stem to stern and your USPS service has been on hold for almost two whole days.

As we lay in bed together late last night, JB admitted that he had begun feeling nervous as well. We had just decided to hold off calling 911 for the moment, but resolved to contact the doctor in the morning, when something occurred to me. A distant memory of something I read, either online or elsewhere, about constipation in babies and a method for relief. "Listen," I told JB. "You're going to think I'm crazy, but..."

After a quick search on Google to confirm I was in fact remembering something legitimate, we prepped ourselves for Operation Riley: Venting Prevents Explo-sion. A container of vaseline. A Q-tip. A strategically placed diaper, and a container of wet wipes within close range.

Friends, we put a Q-tip up our infant son's butt last night. Just the tip, mind you, we didn't go rooting for truffles in there or anything, we inserted the lubed-up tip and swirled it around gently. As for the results - well, have you ever seen how a sausage machine works? Or, wait, better yet, a Play-Doh Fun Factory? Actually, just imagine an extra-full tube of toothpaste that's been heartily squeezed, and -

Anyway. I guess we're officially parents now, because I can't imagine what other situation would have us so tearfully joyous over a wet pile of human feces.

(What? I never claimed every moment would be hearts and flowers, dammit.)


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