This was actually written and posted when Melody was three weeks old, blissfully unaware of what was to come. I do apologise, but I’m sure other dads probably have felt the same way?
Melody’s now over three weeks old, and we’ve got involved in her cares and whatnot, and I’ve helped (at least a little) with expressing breast milk. We have had a wonderful team of nurses looking after Melody at Musgrove’s Special Care Baby Unit, and I can’t fault them at all. They’ve had us doing her ‘cares’ as I mentioned before; basically, we clean her, head to toe, use cotton bud sticks to clean her mouth and change her nappy! There in lies the core of this particular post.
Either way, there’s lots of it coming from my tiny little daughter’s backside, it’s yellow, and it stinks! Yes, I know it’s supposed to stink, but it’s a bit of a shock when it comes from a person that weighs less than a bag of sugar, okay? When she was born, I had visions of holding her up to the sky and announcing her birth to the world, like at the end of Peacekeeper Wars. (See below).
Yeah, well, my experience has been this:
Yeah I know. But I do not begrudge a second. What? Why are you laughing? I don’t! According to the nurse, it’s to help us bond with her, and take the load (pun intended) off the nurses looking after her. I’m not really sure why they keep laughing at me when I say I’ll do her nappy. Is it a man thing?
My wife sat down behind me with a hand pump to express breast milk, and there was a smirk on her face.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve done her nappy, or an all-over bed bath, but what I didn’t know was that my ever-loving wife had already been informed by the nurses (who had sneakily taken a peak at the state of Melody beforehand) that she had a full nappy.
Thus began the Battle of the Poop.
So I opened up her nappy, and all the machines started pinging in random order. I swear it sounded like lasfire. There was some sort of work going on around the corner, one of the workmen using a large hammer that sounded like artillery. So now I’m in the middle of a warzone, and the nurse turns to me and says, “Get into it then,” like some cigar-chomping sergeant.
I felt like I had been handed a rifle and told to storm the enemy position.
I got the old nappy off, full to the brim with yellow alien goop, and was about to put the next one on when she decided to poop on her nice clean towel-bed-thing. I got the next one under her bum and she kept going. Dammit. I looked up and Special Care was gone, replaced by a grassy, muddy warzone. The ping of lasfire ricocheting around me filled my ears and every now and then the artillery would slam through the air and I’d instinctively duck my head.
Then my wife chuckled, and something hit the back of my leg.
I turned to find my wife holding herself and spraying milk on me.
The nurse, chomping on a cigar, said, “Looks like you’re getting flanked!”
Don’t tell me that! Get in a foxhole and help me dammit!
Melody started wriggling and fidgeting, the second clean nappy wasn’t going on properly. Now one of the other babies was crying and the medics were attending to her.
“Jesus,” I thought, “How the hell am I supposed to do this? I’m just a rookie!”
“You’re doing fine, son,” the sergeant-nurse bellowed over the noise, “just dig in and fight on.”
So I did.
The second clean nappy went on, got wrapped. The pings and hammering went on, the warzone going on around me. I had to wipe the sweat from my forehead and shout, “Will someone call in a fuckin’ airstrike or something?”
Then I remembered I was still in Special Care.
Melody looked at me curiously, my wife was trying not to smirk, and I swear every now and then the nurse in question occasionally has a half-chewed cigar in her mouth even now.
So I’m mad, right?
What? Why are you all looking at me like that?