My good friend Mama Cloud is pregnant with her first baby and it is an absolute joy to behold! Makes me almost want to get knocked up again. Almost.
Anyway, she’s taking a birthing class and the other day she told me that she asked her birthing instructor to tell her more about the mucus plug. She was worried she might miss it if she didn’t know what to look for. The instructor said “Don’t worry. You can’t miss it. It’s like your vaj blew its nose.” Oooh-wee, I just love a woman with a colorful arsenal of descriptions, don’t you?
Takes me right back to my own birthing class and learning all the new horrifying vocabulary words. My favorite was bloody show - the small amount of vaginal bleeding late in pregnancy that often precedes labor. Eeewwww! Sounds like a campy slasher film, doesn’t it? Did you know that you can have the bloody show and the mucus plug appear at the same time? Yessireebob. I call that the Bloody Mucus Plug Show. As in, “Hon! Pop us some popcorn and turn on the TV… it’s almost time for the Bloody Mucus Plug Show!” (Watch for it this fall on NBC.)
And linea nigra – the line of increased pigmentation running down the abdomen from the belly button to the pubic area during pregnancy. Or as The Gatekeeper called it, The Treasure Trail. For me, it was more like The Trail of Tears. Mine was so wide, dark, and furry, I looked like a fat messed up skunk. Probably smelled like one too. Don’t worry Mama Cloud… it goes away… eventually.
Then there’s the vernix caseosa – the whitish, cheesy, waxy substance that coats babies’ skin in late pregnancy. Mmmmm. Where’s my wine and box of Wheat Thins when I need it?
Or how about crowning - the appearance of the presenting fetal part (usually the head) at the vaginal opening during birth. Sounds so regal and elegant… totally not what it FEELS like when your ring of fire is about to rip into 8 jagged flailing pieces like that dog’s face in John Carpenter’s The Thing.
And speaking of which, the ring of fire – the burning sensation you feel when the baby’s head is passing through the vaginal opening. Nice description. Not scary or intimidating at all. Especially when you pair it with Johnny Cash singing “and it burns burns burns… the ring of FI-ire, the ring of fire.”
And lastly, perineum – the area between the giney and the hiney. You may know this region as “the taint,” as in “It ain’t your hoo-hoo, and t’ain’t your arse.” According to Urban Dictionary, also known as the vaganus. My birthing instructor used to wear a pink t-shirt that said “Support your local perineum.” Cracked me up every time. This is also the area you want to massage with oil during your pregnancy so it doesn’t end up ripping to shreds or being snipped by your episiotomy-happy OBGYN. Ah, good times. Good times.
So Mama Cloud, thanks for the appetizing stroll down memory lane. And also the future trip down Mammary Lane, as you discover the womanly art of breastfeeding (sure to be a blog-worthy experience). I love being a witness to your beautiful journey. And don’t be scared, honey, about all that stuff I said about ring-of-fire and tearing and cheesy residue and bloody mucus. Raising them is much more painful than birthing them.
© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris