Well, this is probably the most embarrassing blog I’ve ever written. I’m a modest person at the best of times, but I am pushing myself through this because it’s something that I think pregnant women don’t talk about. And we should.
So, it goes like this.
In pregnancy, I have this problem. It’s my second pregnancy, so it’s the second time I’ve had this problem and it’s one of the most humiliating issues I have ever had to face. Not to mention embarrassing. Oh wait, I mentioned that already…
Some preliminary requests:
- Whatever you do, please don’t make me laugh suddenly.
- Please don’t scare me by jumping out at me from behind a door with a sudden “BOO!”
- Please avoid cooking with lots of spices or stirring up dust while I’m around because it will surely make me sneeze.
- And don’t infect me with a cold, please, so that I end up coughing all the time because…
It might make me pee my pants a little bit…
Bladder control during pregnancy is an elusive thing. It’s as though the control center has issued a new directive called “bladder relax.” In these sexy moments (!), unlike toddlers who forget to go to the potty, it’s not a full release; it’s just a squirt here and there leaving us pregnant ladies having to change our underwear three times a day sometimes. Or at least, I’ll speak for myself. Some pregnant ladies don’t have this issue, and they’re probably the same women who never get fat, never got sick in the first trimester and who end up having a 2-hour labour. (If you’re one of those, shut up already and just nod empathetically, okay?!)
So, how do I solve this problem? I’ve considered wearing a Chinese version of incontinent panties—i.e. DEPENDS—but I certainly don’t want more disposable diapers in my life. Of course there are panty liners and pads that I could utilize to save my laundry, but the only bonus of pregnancy is not getting your period, so who wants to have to wear period gear off season?
But the only real solution is childbirth. Almost immediately after Echo’s birth, I noticed bladder control return. I was so grateful—my parts worked!
Ironically, this is all happening on the eve of Echo’s successful transition into a toilet trained toddler. She knows when to hit the potty and her Mommy is clearly regressing! Echo still wears a diaper at night, just in case of accidents, but now there are lots of cloth diaper inserts all washed and ready in case Mommy needs them during the day! Just when I thought I’d get to do less laundry, the second trimester “bladder wars” were launched. Hurray.
Apparently, this happens to a lot of women, or so says the reassuring Internet. During my last pregnancy, my friend and I privately shared a lot of laughs about the issue as she was pregnant with her daughter at the same time. I’ll never forget when she wrote me this email. (And yes, she gave me permission to post it—such an excellent writer she is!)
“The other night, I was leaning in front of the washer and dryer moving laundry from the former to the latter, and I was wearing only a robe. (Why? Because NOTHING. ELSE. FITS. I am horrified and disgusted that I have grown out of my maternity clothes! My ass did NOT require its own postal code during my prior pregnancy, but this time, it’s contemplating rioting to create its own sovereign state. HOW CAN MATERNITY CLOTHES not FIT??!?) Anyway, I felt it coming. I tried to push it down, down. I tried to make it stop… but I couldn’t. I sneezed. And then I giggled as a disgusting little spray of urine slapped the floor. 😀 And, yes, irrationally, insanely, I momentarily considered leaving it there so that I wouldn’t have to bend down to clean it up, because once I’m down, I might as well stay there. Sigh! :-)”
What I’d like to know is why the human body needs to make pregnancy harder on our egos than it already is! The first trimester makes us feel nauseated or has us keeling over toilet bowls vomiting; my skin has expanded in absurd directions and I feel like a pumpkin on two legs—way too early for Hallowe’en; I have already started the duck waddle; my bellybutton looks like a hot tub; my breasts are so large that I seriously lost a raisin in my cleavage this week and didn’t find it until the next day in the shower; I even started to get some strange skin discoloration that is not making me happy—blotchy babe alert, woo hoo!
So, why do I have to pee my pants too?
You’d think it would be easy enough to hold it in, right? I’ve been toilet trained for an awfully long time! Sometimes, I succeed. When I know a cough is coming for instance (and I’ve had a cold this past week), then I can concentrate and clench and I am sometimes victorious. But, other times, it’s just not possible. It’s just too sudden and then… pee-pee… oops.
And there’s another variable: if I already have to go to the bathroom when I have to sneeze, it’s game over. The bladder is being squashed and compromised by the baby’s position so when I’ve already got to go, perhaps the skeletal staff of “control muscles” are already submerged and out of commission? Surely that’s the explanation.
Now we all know that pregnant women have to pee more often than non-pregnant women, but to make matters worse, with this pregnancy I’ve noticed an even greater need to relieve my bladder almost immediately upon first receiving the signal that I must “go.” I have 10 minutes at the most before it’s actually painful. Back in grade 7 science class, I remember learning (the important fact!) that a person can technically hold their urine for 7 hours before dying of ureic poisoning. They obviously weren’t talking about pregnant ladies.
So, welcome to my very honest pregger blog.
And now that I’ve written this all out, you guessed it: I have to pee. Luckily, though, the boxers I put on as my pajamas are still pee-pee-free and so I shall hurry to the loo before I am struck by a cough or a sneeze.