Lying in bed having just fed my son, I rolled over and found myself lying in something wet. I started giggling. This giggling soon turned into proper belly laughing, which then turned into a rather manic guffaw interspersed with crying. Hubby, who had looked mildly amused at first and giggled with me asking, “what’s funny,” suddenly looked rather unsure as his laughter tailed off and he looked at me with the look you give a crazy person in a street before you cross the road to avoid them.
I was laughing because it was the umpteenth time since my son had been born that I had found myself lying in an unidentifiable wet patch. For some reason I found this hysterically funny. Hubby did too once he processed what I was saying. I could see his mind quickly working through the amount of times he too had woken up with his hand in something wet and acknowledging that yes, at 6.30am when we would normally be blissfully asleep, we were in fact both trying to find a dry muslin in the pitch black to soak it up, all the while trying to decipher whether it was sick, wee, poo or breast milk. It was either laugh or cry. And neither of us could face anymore wet stuff.
For what I have come to realise five months into being a mummy is that much of motherhood can be defined by things that are wet and are mostly pretty foul.
Think about one of the first things that happen – your waters break. For some women this happens before labour starts. You can be standing in your kitchen enjoying a cuppa and a bit of cake and out of nowhere you start gushing water out of your vagina. For others, like me, it happens once your labour has started. In my case it was in triage, just after they had checked how much my cervix had dilated. They broke all over me. In the leggings I had intended to wear home. They also had merconium in them which basically means my son had done a poo inside me. Not pleasant. For some, they don’t break naturally and therefore need to be broken by a midwife. Really not pleasant.
But it’s once the baby is here that the ‘fluid’ fun really starts.
If you’re breastfeeding, body parts that have thus far just sat on the front of your body and not really done a lot, are suddenly food. And it’s a bit of a shock to the system. Particularly the first time you look down to see milk squirting out of them. I found this very odd and very amusing. The first time it happened I called hubby into the lounge to show him how far I could make it ‘squirt’. Hubby usually has cereal with milk in the morning. I noticed he had toast for about a week after that.
Most women who breastfeed will, at some point, express milk. This is a completely and utterly undignified process using a machine that looks like a mixture between a Victorian torture device and a sex toy. Neither my mum or I had any idea what to expect when I initially plugged this contraption in and were in fits of laughter as my nipple began to take on a life of its’ own, intermittently being sucked in and out of the torture device by a vacuum.
I do express, but I really dislike doing so. My least favourite experience was one night over Christmas. I was sitting on my sofa watching Downton Abbey, pumping away, when I looked down to see what look liked strawberry milkshake. The milk in the bottle was pink. Bright pink. I literally had a panic attack. Hubby, who is usually very calm in these situations also looked worried. He even googled it. It turns out that this happens occasionally because a small bit of blood gets in to the milk from your nipple. Oh, is that all? My nipple is bleeding and I’m squirting out strawberry Frijj. The glamour is too much.
Another of the perils of breastfeeding is forgetting to put your breast pads in resulting in leaking milk. I was recently in the pub chatting to a male friend who looked horrified when I announced I was putting on my cardi to, “cover up my leaking boob wet patches”. To make matters worse I was wearing a grey t-shirt and anyone who sweats a lot knows this is not a good colour to get wet.
Pee. Another liquid that you end up dealing with a lot. Especially if you have a little boy because when they wee without a nappy on it goes everywhere. The distances my son can reach are actually rather impressive. Not so impressive is that is usually ends up on me. If this had happened before I had a child I would have been horrified. Now it’s like water off a ducks’ back. A few weeks ago I had forgotten I was wearing a vest top which my son had urinated on. I continued to wear it unwashed for three days. Motherhood has turned me into a pissy tramp.
Poo. Until babies start solids you can most definitely regard this as a ‘liquid’. If you’re breastfeeding then it is yellow, runny and looks a bit like it has mustard seeds in it. It is also amazing how much can come out of something so small. And it gets everywhere. Hubby was changing baby’s nappy a few weeks ago and I suddenly heard, “shit, shit, shit, help”. I ran in to discover hubby had taken said nappy off, but our son hadn’t quite finished doing his business. Hubby was frantically looking for the baby wipes whilst trying to catch the offending poo that was gushing out of our boy like molten lava from Vesuvius. So disturbed by it was he, that I’ve seen the fear in his eyes every time he’s changed a nappy since.
But for me, the liquid of liquids, the ‘wet’ that has so far come to dominate most of the last five months of my life, is vomit. My son has reflux which means I am constantly covered in sick. It’s in my hair. it’s on my clothes. It’s all over my bed, sofa and floor and on one very unfortunate day, it was in my mouth. Forget the wheel and the internet, my eternal gratitude goes to whoever invented the baby wipe.
Bless him, my little dude leaves his calling card wherever we go. Thankfully he doesn’t seem seem bothered by it at all. In fact, he usually just smiles and giggles through it. It’s a good thing he’s so cute – it makes it easier when he pukes over our friends and family and you see their faces as they realise he has just regurgitated milk from my boobs all over them. As my friend once put it, “I’m not sure what’s worse, being covered in sick or knowing that it’s from your boobies”. She should try sleeping in my bed.