One of the things I feared most about having a baby were the diaper changes. It was by no accident that I have never attempted one before. Before I had Ava, I already had four nieces and nephews. When I would hold them and smelled they need a change, I would hand them back to their rightful guardian like Bradshaw handing the ball off to Franco. Shortly after Michelle told me she was pregnant, the thought went through my head, “Oh shit, there is a real possibility now that I am going to have to change diapers!”
For the entire nine months of Michelle’s pregnancy I tried to figure out ways to avoid the diaper changes. Could I hire someone to do it? Could I just pretend like I don’t realize she needs a change then hand her off to someone else? Could I potty train her at 2 weeks old? Could I train Frasier to do it? Even though Frasier is pretty smart dog, I knew there was nothing I could do. Dirty diapers were going to be part of my everyday life.
Michelle delivered Ava at 10:11am and Ava delivered her first bowel movement shortly after. Both sides of our families were in the room, it was shoulder-to-shoulder. I can’t remember who said it, but I was sitting, trying to rest, when I heard it, “Mike, I think she has a dirty diaper.” Why are they telling me this? I don’t change diapers. These words are usually not meant for me. It would be like telling the President, “Time to scrub the White House toilets.” After sitting there quietly for a few moments, hoping they would think I wasn’t there, one of my sisters told me, “Come on, you better get used to doing this.” Used to doing this? Me? Damn it! In one last desperate attempt to delay my new diaper changing lifestyle I mumbled back, “Shouldn’t a nurse do it?” It was a pathetic attempt that was met with instant ridicule. Even my 10-year-old niece shook her head in disapproval.
I grabbed Ava and took her over to her little diaper changing station. I stood over her looking at her diaper like it was a pimple. I knew when I popped this bad boy, a lot of nasty stuff was going to be on the inside. I opened the drawer and grabbed a diaper and some wipes. I opened the diaper and there it was, black poop. My hours spent prior to this in the baby classes we went to assured me that black poop is normal, it’s called meconium. As I reached down to take away the diaper, Ava let out another serving of what I call the Devil’s soft serve. After fumbling around, trying to get in all the nooks and crannies, I realized I had to wipe her va-jay-jay. Remember, I had a room full of people watching me do this, there was some pressure. After expressing some concern about my next cleaning area, the peanut gallery yelled out, “Just get in there and clean it. You don’t want it to get infected.” No I didn’t. Now she was clean and all I had to do was get the new diaper on her. This would have been easy if my day old daughter wasn’t kicking like a bronco. It took some maneuvering, but I got it on. And there you have it, my first diaper change. I felt like someone should have come in and gave me a badge of honor.
Since then there have been many more diaper changes. Many more. Many, many more. I mean a lot. And all the funny jokes in movies and TV when people change diapers has happened to me. I have been sprayed with pee and squirted with poop. It’s a standard part of my life now. I have my technique down perfect. I do the two leg hold and lift when wiping her. I secure the diaper tabs with a flick of the wrist. I am like a well oiled NASCAR pit crew when changing Ava.
The one thing that goes through my mind when changing all of these diapers of hers is knowing that she may have to do it for me one day as I get old, and I plan on serving up plenty of the Devil’s soft serve.