Don’t you just love it when you spend a whole day collecting liquid stool from an unpredictable little butt and call two different nurse advice lines wondering how much you should catch and if it’s okay to combine multiple movements into the same sample cup to make sure there’s enough to test and then finally bring the little cup with its barely 20ml of foul smelling waste over to the lab so that someone can tell you what the hell is going on with your baby’s intestines, only to have them take one look at the little plastic baggie with its formerly sterile collection cup and say, “oh, that’s the wrong container, we can’t test that.”
So then they give you another little vial with this red liquid in it that preserves whatever they need to look at in the mess that for the love of all that is holy should just soak into the diaper, get tossed in the pail and be forgotten just like all the other hundreds of messes you’ve already changed and laundered, and you look at the woman like, “Are you kidding me?” Because it’s not like this is an easy way to spend one’s day. Hovering around a baby’s butt with a cup and a prayer, thinking that he might have been grunting just now, which might possibly, maybe, perhaps indicate that if I stand here long enough with this cup pressed against his little hole there might dribble something worth saving for whatever vigilant scrutiny will allow us to know a little more about the digestive mysteries that have been plaguing this household for the last 96 hours or so.
So you ask, yes, you finally remembered to ask right then and there all the important questions. Do I catch it just once? Will a tiny little bit be enough? How would you suggest I go about it? An empty cup is one thing, a cup already half filled with red chemicals is entirely another. And you get answers, go home with your peacefully-napping-for-ten-minutes child, who promptly wakes up as soon as you’re out of your sneakers mad that he’s got to go (yes, go) again right now when you both only wish he would just keep his eyes closed for another few blessed minutes so you could maybe pee or have a snack, and you realize that the going already happened, and you missed your chance for the whole thing to maybe be over once and for all (unless someone tomorrow changes the rules again), and he’s still crabby and sleepy but fighting it, or maybe he’s not really sleepy and it’s just your wishful thinking because you are amazed to still be standing yourself, but finally, somehow, you manage to catch a tiny bit of that stuff oozing from his bottom, drip it into the red stuff in the cup and put it all away to think about later, or hopefully never, ever again…
Yeah, don’t you just love it when that happens? Me too.
But if you’re lucky, you manage to perform the miracle that is getting an overtired baby to nap with only a mild emotional spillover, and finally, finally relax and read a book that has nothing at all to do with babies or poo, and if you’re super duper lucky, there is also chocolate and a phone call from your sister who is, as of a few hours ago today, officially engaged to the man of her dreams.