It had been a really emotional day. Shawn was visiting us in Tulsa for the weekend and would have to return home in the morning. We were still unsure of how long Benjamin would be in the NICU, and the stress of not being able to be together as a family was taking its toll. There had been many tears that day, and we were dreading the morning when we would have to say goodbye again. For Shawn it was especially difficult, as he had to be separated from me and Benjamin.
While spending time in the NICU that evening, Shawn took his turn at diaper duty. Now, for anyone who has ever had to change a diaper for a baby in the NICU, you know that it takes some extra skill and patience, especially if you’re not used to changing diapers to begin with! First, you have a limited space to work in. The NICU crib was akin to a small plastic tub with padding on the bottom. Next, take into account the multiple tubes and wires, some of which are attached to the baby’s feet. If you couple those things with the natural wiggles of a newborn, you have a potential recipe for a big mess!
On this particular evening, Shawn forgot the nurse’s advice to change the diaper from the side of the crib and decided to stand at the foot of the crib, placing himself directly in the line of fire. He was already frazzled from the emotional stress of the day, the complications of the diaper change and the cries of a discontented baby, when Benjamin decided it was time to unleash a powerful bowel movement. When I say powerful, I mean it had air time! The yellow and watery stool of a breastfed infant exploded from our small son, spraying the foot of the crib, splattering all over Daddy’s shirt and even hitting Mommy’s diaper bag on the floor! In complete shock and disgust, Shawn leaped back with a cry. For him, this was the last straw for his already raw nerves. Not trying to conceal his irritation, he announced that he was going to change and would return shortly. As I took over diaper duty, the tears flowed freely, though these were the tears brought on by uncontrollable laughter—wonderfully refreshing after the previous tears of the day.
I don’t remember much of what happened during the rest of that evening. Shawn returned with fresh clothes, feeling a little bit calmer. I probably continued to giggle throughout the evening, each time I remembered the expression on Shawn’s face at the moment of impact! I think Benjamin knew Mommy needed to laugh that day. (Shawn can laugh about the incident now too.) I do know that Benjamin has never again graced us with the impressive “projectile poop” as we have come to call it. However, his favorite opportunity to release a bowel movement continues to be in the middle of a diaper change!