Tuesday, April 21, 2015

This is 40 (And Pregnant) (With a Toddler)

A week or so ago, I finally fulfilled my 96-year-old grandmother’s oft-repeated prophecy: I fell. All winter she had been telling me that I was going to fall, that I wasn’t being careful enough, that I should stay inside at all times. Because the world is a scary, scary place, and bad things happen to good people. Also, terrorists.

Spring was finally blooming in New York, and I went for a walk with Henry and Hudson down to see the trains pass at our local station. And I don’t know what happened, but the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. I had the dog's leash in one hand and the toddler in the other, so I couldn’t exactly break my fall. Down I crashed with my right knee onto the gravely pavement. Then my left knee. Henry caught the tail end of the fall as my hands automatically planted themselves on the ground to save my darling face. He had a scrape, but I had an honest-to-goodness raggedy skinned knee that had begun to bleed down my legs, staining my beige, elastic-waisted wonder-pants.

I’m fine, I’m fine, I assured Henry and Hudson (who did not seem all that concerned). We continued along our way, my knee stinging and bleeding. Because: Trains. There was no turning back.

Then I detected a peculiar wetness in my thigh region. Hmmm. Did I…? Wait, no. Actually, yes. Yes, I did. I peed my pants when I hit the ground. And why not? These days I pee unwittingly when I sneeze, cough or even laugh particularly hard. (May I remind you, there is a bowling ball perched on my bladder.)

Henry was not having it. TRAINS! he wailed as I attempted to reverse course. So we watched a few trains pass by before the cool breeze against my wet crotch sent me over the edge, and I insisted we walk home.

CAVALUCCIO! he demanded. (Piggyback ride.) But Moo Cow isn’t that much of a martyr. He walked home, dammit, and he liked it.

Urban Moo Cow

But let me back up a bit. See, when I got pregnant again, I was a little cocky (vag-y?). That’s because I had pushed Henry out in the operating room after having been prepped for the C-section my doctors thought I was having. I was resigned, but then! Then they changed their minds because I had fully dilated in the interim. I wanted a vaginal birth, didn’t I? Well, then: PUSH.

But I was completely numb and high on anesthesia. I thought I was in an episode of Battlestar Galactica and said as much to the OR staff. I couldn’t feel my legs let alone bear down. So I did the only thing I could do. I summoned my ten years of yoga practice—all that work on the pelvic floor—and commanded my body to obey. DO WHAT I SAY, PELVIC FLOOR! I bellowed (in my mind). Lo and behold, it worked, and out came my teeny tiny boy, first purple and gray and then all at once pink and screaming.

I assumed, erroneously as it turned out, that I held the same sway over my body this time around. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That’s funny. In the last three years, yoga had played fifth fiddle to parenting, working, wife-ing and sleeping. Plus, to my great surprise, I had AGED three years as well.

Even the frantic catch-up Kegels weren’t going to save me from wetting myself like, well, a toddler.

I recounted my tale of woe in a prenatal yoga class, because I’m all about sharing. My teacher responded in kind with a story about vaginal weightlifting. Yes, you read that correctly.

I admit that I did not do a lot of research into the *best* vaginal weights, but a cursory Google search turned up a couple of options, including these bad girls:

Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System
"Aquaflex Pelvic Floor Exercise System": Trying not to sound like a sex toy.

The theory is that they help strengthen your pelvic floor by activating the involuntary muscles that line your lady canal. This is, apparently, helpful both for premature pants-wetting and orgasms. Two for the price of one!

Ladies: You’re welcome.

Gents: Sorry. I can’t believe you are still reading this.

Unfortunately, you can’t use these weights until you are recovered from childbirth. The only thing left to do until then is buy stock in Depends.*


Before we conclude, I want to make sure I recommend a great book I just read. I’m planning on writing a post about it, but between the peeing and the toddler, I’m not quite sure when I will get to it. The book is by Galit Breen, who turned a truly negative fat-shaming experience on the Huffington Post into a practical guide for parents to teach their children about kind and safe interacting on the web. I have a lot more to say on this topic, but in the interim, I hope you will check out Kindness Wins.

Galit Breen

* A few months ago I received a pitch from a PR company asking me to write about Depends for something like $50. My husband laughed for ten straight minutes before opining that my dignity was worth more than that. I turned down the "offer." Apparently, however, I am willing to embarrass myself for free.

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