One day, you’ll meet The Traveling Poop. It might be when your baby is two weeks old and her tummy is still trying to work itself out and learn this whole “pooping” thing. It could be when your baby is 4 months old and has to change formulas for a protein sensitivity. Or if your like me, it could be when your baby is seven months old and has just started solids which caused constipation, so you accidentally gave her too much prune juice.
I met The Traveling Poop last week after a very exhausting night of Henrietta’s screams waking me up around what felt like every two minutes. She’d been on baby food for about a month now, and until we started introducing pureed meats into her diet, she did really well with it. However, the meats hurt her tummy bad. She’d been constipated for almost a whole week. She would scream until she was purple in the face when she tried to poop, and even after ten minutes of straight screaming and straining, she’d get a hard, solid ball of poop maybe the size of marble out, and that would be it. I’d tried everything—tummy massages, bicycle legs, prunes and apples, lots of water, over the counter constipation medicine, even using a q-tip in her butthole with petroleum jelly. After all this and more, nothing was working. I took her the doctor and they suggested prune juice, but after telling them that I’d tried giving it to her, but she wouldn’t drink any juice for me (I’d tried bottles, sippy cups, letting her drink it out of a big girl cup, etc), they told me to give it to her in a medicine dropper.
Such a simple, brilliant idea. A medicine dropper. After all, she wasn’t meant to drink it for fun anyways. Why hadn’t I thought of that? So when she woke me up that night, after two marble-poops in her diaper, I finally decided to try that. Unfortunately, her doctor never told me how much to give her. So I did what made sense—we give her two ounces of juice in her bottles (when we try to get her to take it at least), so two ounces of juice in a medicine dropper sounded about right. With a 5mL dropper and a screaming baby who wouldn’t sit still or open her eyes and stop screaming long enough to realize she had medicine to take, it took me a while to get the whole two ounces in her. But after I did, I put her back to sleep and she rested pretty well.
I thought all hope was lost when we woke up to a diaper full of nothing but pee. Why hadn’t she gone? I was so annoyed, but I didn’t give her anymore. We went about our day as normal, and finally, it happened. I’d left her sitting on the couch in my living room with my husband, and went to another room to find something cooler for her to wear before we went outside. I heard my husband laugh and say something along the lines of, “Dang girl, you’re gonna blow a hole in the couch!” followed by a gag. I waited, thinking this must be it! And then he started calling for me. Between gagging and some sort of amused panicking, I managed to decipher his message: it exploded.
I ran to the living room to find my husband with his shirt over his nose and his eyes watering, standing dumbstruck in front of our sweet, beautiful little girl, who sat covered in poop. It couldn’t have taken more than five seconds for this mess to occur, so I was pretty amazed at her. The poop came out of every side of the diaper possible. Her clothes were full of poop. On the couch between her little feet and legs, a pile of smeared poop. On her hands and her arms, more poop. The pillow that was sitting behind her was covered in poop. And, all over her smiling face and in her hair, more poop.
What do you do when the poop starts traveling? Well, to be frank, you panic. Finding a towel to lay her on, a new diaper and the wipes…I tried to do a quick clean up, but it was futile. After literally cutting her clothes off of her because the poop seemed like glue and I couldn’t get the buttons on the back of her shirt to undo fast enough before the smell made me throw up (thanks to the fabric being completely soaked with poop), I put her in the bath.
This child was oh-so-pleased with herself. She never stopped smiling, not once, until she was out of the shower and in clean clothes. And before I knew it she was grinning ear to ear again as I cleaned the couch, the pillow, the carpet, the blanket she used, and the bib that had just happened to be laying on the couch next to her.
I consider myself lucky, though. I had several friends and two family members who had babies around the same time as me, and all of their babies had already had their first major blowouts. Still, I made a decision that day. A very important decision: never again would I give my baby two ounces of straight prune juice. Never.
If you haven’t already met The Traveling Poop just yet, I feel really bad for you. If you have, I feel worse. I wish there was something I could say to prepare a new parent for the first major blowout, but truthfully, there is nothing. Even with all the warning and advice in the world, you’re going to stand there, totally shocked that something so grotesque could come from your sweet little angel, and then you’re going to panic, and you’ll get the baby and the clothes and if needed, the house, poop free eventually. But once you’re done with all that, you’ll look back and wish you’d been more prepared. While our children shake with fear over the thought of monsters under the bed, I on the other hand shake with terror over the thought of The Traveling Poop ever coming around here again!