Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Entry #2: Poop

Every boy I have ever known has thought poop is hilarious. Seriously, the word poop (in all it's forms) always seems to make a guy grin. Even the precursor to the poop (a.k.a. flatulence, toot, poot, fart, etc.) seems to be ingrained in the DNA of boys to be excessively funny.
I've always be indifferent, I mean, come on, it's poop.

When you first have a baby, poop is a BIG deal. First off, if your water breaks and meconium is present (baby's first poop), it's usually alerts your medical team to be prepared for complications. Any number of possibilities could be happening: stressed baby, over-term baby, and so on. If the baby takes it's first breath and fills it's lungs with meconium--that's a whole new problem. Then you're supposed to record every bowel movement the baby has for several weeks to ensure they baby is healthy.

I never realized how important poop would become in my life. I had expected poop to be a part of discussions when we had kids, but when CF became part of our lives it became so much more important. A symptom of CF is frequent, oily stools. It indicates that the baby is "pancreatic insufficient," meaning that he is not digesting fats, and therefore could fail to thrive.

When we learned of O's CF one of the first things they asked us was what his poop looked like. Honestly, I hadn't paid that close attention. I had done the early weeks of recording the number of dirty diapers, but I hadn't really done any investigative work, I mean, come on, it's poop. They actually took a "sample" at our first meeting--a dirty diaper. I happily obliged their request. Somehow, it made me feel happy to give the people who had just given me the worst possible news a stinking, dirty, poop-filled diaper.

O's poop was normal, no oil. This meant he did not need to start taking pancreatic enzymes. This, at the time, felt like a victory to me. Taking enzymes meant that we would have to introduce solid foods--applesauce, specifically. A baby can't swallow enzymes, so enzymes have to be spoon-fed with a soft food. Even the thought of giving O something other than breatmilk broke my heart. However, they wanted to show me that first day how to administer (feed) O enzymes, so that if he soon needed them I would know what to do. The nurse gave me instructions, and handed me the spoon. I gave it back, and said, "No." She looked at me puzzled. I said, "I'm sorry, I just can't do this right now." I had tears in my eyes. The nurse was gentle, and very understanding. She gave O a bite, my heart shattered, and a tear rolled down my cheek.

For four more months O didn't have oily poop. Then, one day, I was changing his diaper. My heart dropped to my stomache. I had always wondered what it would look like, and if I'd even be able to tell what it was. I could. I did. O started enzymes that day. As he got bigger his need for more enzymes grew too--I could always tell because he would get oily poop. It saddened me those first few times--like I was failing to help him, but now I see the reasoning and benefits. Enzymes are a great thing. In a not too distant past, we didn't have enzymes, and kids died very young. The amount of enzymes you take is based on your weight--meaning that each time O's dose increased it directly corresponded to the fact that O IS THRIVING. That's a big deal.

We've had our other struggles with poop--my entry
CF and Nutrition: Milk goes into our adventure of rectal prolapse. There are sure to be more adventures, but I'm glad that despite how poop can be a very serious issue for our family it's still funny. O is a boy, and no matter what your issue is--flatulence is hilarious. I just pray his wife has a strong sense of humor too, or a weak sense of smell.


N&A said...

I think my son might be having oily diapers. Can you describe in more detail what this would look like? I have a newborn who is strictly BF. I'm going to speak with our pediatrician about this, but I came across your post and would love to have all the details you'll share of your experience. If you have the time, and don't mind, could you email me? I'm going to put my email down with spaces so that I don't get spammed: audra richmond @ gmail . com

Thanks for considering! God bless!

N&A said...

Btw - there's more to the story. My concern is not just a potential oily diaper, but this might explain weight loss.