Twenty two years ago, when I was pregnant for the first time, I was pretty clueless about the whole “wonder of pregnancy” thing. Instead of being in awe and wonder at the miracle of life, I was totally grossed out about the idea of an alien being growing and kicking and pooping stuff out inside of me. And then there was the realization that the thing in there – well, it was going to have to get out somehow. I didn’t even want to think about that.
I had a copy of that book What to Expect When You’re Expecting that everybody had back then. (There was no Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy like there is now, which is a way better resource, in my opinion.) At that time, I refused to read ahead of the month of pregnancy I was in. I just didn’t want to think about what was going to happen to my body.
But a lot of the women I worked with loved telling me all about the terrific changes my body was about to undergo. They scared me with horror stories about stretch marks and leaky boobs and hemmoroids. But, the scariest prospect of all was that when this was all said and done, I would involuntarily pee myself. That. Is. So. Nasty.
I got all that other scary stuff, but even after three (count ’em – three) pregnancies, I could hold my bladder with the best of them. I could run and jump without fear! I could laugh and cough and even sneeze and never have to worry about not having on a pair of Depends. Ha. I was so happy.
And then I got pregnant again, not intentionally and way later in life than I expected. I hated that pregnancy every little bit as much as the other three. In fact, I probably hated it more because my body was already creaky and stiff with old age (I was over 40), so adding an extra 30 pounds of weight to my mid-section felt great on an already bad back. I couldn’t wait to get that
thing angel out of me and be normal again. Ha.
That sweet child ruined my bladder. And when I say ruined, I mean completely destroyed my ability to control my pee. For about a week after she was born if I even thought about peeing, I actually started to pee. What’s worse was I couldn’t stop it. Like, not at all. It’s like there were no muscles down there in the nether region any more. It was literally the most horrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. (Yeah, I’ve led a pretty sheltered life.)
Here are the top 10 ways my life has changed since I now have limited bladder control:
- I have to brace myself and cross my legs before I cough. God forbid a coughing fit overtakes me when I’m on my way to the bathroom. That actually happened this week. Thank God I was at home and not at work. It’s pretty sad when your potty-training three year old is telling you “It’s okay to have an accident, Mommy. You’ll make it next time.”
- I can no longer run, do jumping jacks, or participate in any kind of impact aerobic exercise at all. This kind of sucks because I actually like to do stuff like dance around like a fool in the kitchen when a totally awesome 80’s song comes on. However, it’s a good excuse for why I’m not joining you to train for a half-marathon. Sorry, I have a peeing problem.
- I can’t drink anything if we’re going on a long trip. Okay, so this was always kind of an issue since The Doc doesn’t like to stop when we’re on a road trip. Like ever. He likes to find the perfect exit to pull off. Usually we drive by 13 that look perfectly fine to me and my eyes turn yellow before he sighs and gives in. But, I used to be able to hold it for those 13 rest stops. This summer, I had to threaten to pee in one of the baby’s diapers while I was sitting in the front seat. I was a little afraid he’d take me up on that threat but, thankfully, he didn’t.
- I can’t drink anything if we’re going on a short trip. I went to the movies with Elle the other week. I peed before I left home. I had to pee when we got to the theater (we drove straight to the theater, for gosh sakes). And then I had to leave the movie to pee and missed that scene in Rogue 1 where the blind guy thinks he’s saved everyone but it was actually the big dude with the gun behind him. It was my fault, though, for drinking a large Diet Coke. But, what’s a movie without popcorn. And, if you give a girl some popcorn, she’s going to want some Diet Coke to go with it.
- I’m afraid to laugh. But laughing is something you can’t help. Plus I love laughing and don’t get to do it often enough. In fact, it’s a resolution of mine for this year, so that brings me to #6. (I know I said 5, but I thought of one more.)
- I don’t make fun of commercials for Poise pads or adult diapers any more. In fact, I actually know which aisle in the grocery store to visit if I should need such feminine products. And I call those Poise pads “feminine products” so my kids don’t make fun of me for needing diapers.
- I sometimes have to leave my classroom in the middle of teaching a class because I have to pee so bad. I bring back blank papers so my students think I had to grab something off the copy machine.
- I give old-lady-sounding advice to teenage girls. One of the girls on my cheerleading squad already has a pee pee problem. Sometimes when they do a bunch of jumps, she pees herself. I literally have to remind her to go to the bathroom before every game. And this summer I gave those girls a big lecture on keegles. I have officially become the old lady I was grossed out by when I was a teenager.
- Port-a-johns. My boys play baseball. I go to lots of games. For many years I could avoid darkening the doorstep of these smelly, germ-infested excrement boxes. But now, no chance. You can bet that if I’m at a game, I’m gonna have to use the port-a-john. Have you ever had to be in one of those in July? On Sunday afternoon of a weekend tournament? When it’s 98 degrees and that excrement has been stewing and steaming in there for two weeks? (They have cleaning schedules posted in a lot of those port-a-johns, so I know what I’m talking about.) I think enough said, don’t you?
- Panic at the disco. Or, basically panic anywhere I am that doesn’t have a restroom. I think Google needs to add a “restrooms near me” search feature. It would be so awesome to be able to open an app and find a nearby bathroom stat.
If I really believed in Karma, I’d say this is all my own fault for being so cocky about not having had this problem after three kids. It’s if the universe decided “we’ll show her who’s in charge here…let’s give her a surprise baby that wrecks her body in every way she thought she escaped….” I imagine a nefarious laugh here.
That’s fine, universe. But the joke’s actually on you. When that little girl throws her arms around my neck in a death grip and licks the side of my face with a puppy kiss and then I laugh so hard I pee myself, I know that I’m actually getting the better end of this deal. Those hugs and kisses are worth every drop of pee.