The Bearded Iris

A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Tag: mommy blog (page 2 of 2)

Seriously, it’s not as bad as it sounds.

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.

"Pardon me Madame, but would you please point me to a few local hot spots?"

 

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.

nostalgically yours,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

One down, fifty-one to go.

A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a great website and blog called I’m an Organizing Junkie: Living a Life of Simplicity and Order. I’ve been hooked ever since.

Specifically, I’m obsessed with the 52 Weeks project:

…create a list of 52 organizing projects or habits that need to be done or developed around your home…dressers, drawers, closet, toys, paper, you name it. Let’s do it! Having a plan is a great first step!  Tackle one a week or more and then come on back here on Fridays and we’ll talk about it. The highs and the lows. No stringent timelines, no project too small, just good fun, sharing inspiration and motivating one another.

My family and friends know that organizing is something that I am truly passionate about… probably because I so clearly suck at it. I bet if you added up the cost of all the “How to Get Organized” books in my home, then added in all the containers and baskets and shelves I’ve bought, then factor in all the money and checks and gift cards and coupons I’ve just flat out lost due to my lack of organization, you’d have enough money to hire a professional organizer to move in with me for a month and straighten my cluttered culo out once and for all.

But since that’s not going to happen, I like the 52 Weeks idea. It’s manageable. It’s low pressure. I’m going for it! Maybe 2011 is the year I finally get organized.

Here’s my list:

And I’m so pleased to announce that I have just finished one of the items on it! Whoo-hooo! Yes friends, the Lego Project is now complete. As you may recall, this is what it looked like when I started:

It took about a week of sorting, which, as I mentioned before, was oddly therapeutic and relaxing. Once I had them all sorted by color, I went to Ikea with my friend Mama Cloud and we picked out a fabulous shelving unit called Trofast. I even assembled it myself with very few violent outbursts. (Damn Swedish pictograms!) And here it is, in all its color coded glory:

Isn’t that so much better? This unit comes in either pine or white laminated particle board. I chose the pricier pine because I like how it looks and I thought it would be more durable, but only time will tell. I accidentally over-tightened one of the bolts as I was building it and it slightly split the wood. I don’t feel like taking it back though, so I just turned the unit around and now the little crack is hidden. No big whoop.

Sadly, my little “Look how organized we are!” celebration didn’t last very long. The kids were magnetically drawn to the new storage system like moths to a flame. They couldn’t wait to start playing with their Legos and all three of them kept telling me how the new system made their play so exponentially more enjoyable. Feeling pleased and proud of my accomplishment, I went upstairs to see what Oprah was up to today and when I returned to check on them a little while later, I found this:

Shit. Shit. Shit.

That is not what I was envisioning AT ALL.

They totally pulled half of the drawers out, the Legos they used were all over the place, and they did not clean up after themselves even a little bit. Shocking really, how quickly my basement went from Swedish paradise to Lord of the Flies. In less than an hour, the Legos were forsaken and Mini-Me was drawing with chalk on one of her stuffed animals, Spider-Man was sticking magnets up his nose, and Nature Boy was was on the computer playing with Photoshop:

Nice. I am quite proud of his computer skills, actually. But I’m suddenly wishing I had spent that Ikea money at the Coach store instead. Damn ingrates.

Well then. I have 51 more organizing projects to do, and I’ll be damned if the next few aren’t going to be for me me me instead of those ferrets, I mean, children. Also, I’m starting to suspect that maybe being organized isn’t just about the purging and the sorting and the fabulous Swedish containerizing. Perhaps there are rules and expectations and routines that need to be established as well. Hmmm. It’s a mystery. Hopefully my wonderful new organizing guru at orgjunkie.com will enlighten me about all this in the weeks to come. And if not, maybe I’ll return that shelf and go purse shopping instead. I’m keeping my Ikea receipt just in case… somewhere around here.

Tack så mycket,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris

How to Improve Your Health, Sex Life, and DMV Record SIMULTANEOUSLY

So I’m sitting there this morning, trying to enjoy my morning cup o’ joe and catch a few minutes of the news, when all of a sudden, I’m assaulted with two different television commercials about class action lawsuits involving victims of prescribed medications or medical procedures.

The first commercial was urging people who have taken the popular acne drug Accutane to contact Such-and-Such-Ambulance-Chaser-and-Son if they suffer with Crohn’s Disease, or Ulcerative Colitis, or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This is frightening. I know several people who used that drug for help when they were teenagers. And what with my daughter, Mini-Me, on the precipice of puberty… knowing that she’s one fun-sized Kit-Kat away from an auto-shipment plan of Zit Buster Plus from the As Seen on TV store. Sigh.

And my heaven-sent but hypertensive husband, The Gatekeeper, wonders why I’m so negative about prescription drugs and big pharmaceutical companies. This is why. Because these magic beans may appear to lessen symptoms today, but at what long term cost? Who really knows? Certainly not that doctor who was taken to Ruth’s Chris for a big steak dinner last night by that Big Pharma Rep with the nice rack. I’ll pass, thank you.

Which brings me to class action lawsuit commercial number two, aimed at ladies who have had surgeries to correct a prolapsed uterus. That’s the fancy term for when your uterus starts to hang out of your hoo-hoo. This can occur for a variety of reasons including:

  • Pregnancy/multiple childbirths with normal delivery through the vagina
  • Weakness in the pelvic muscles with advancing age
  • Weakening and loss of tissue tone after menopause and loss of natural estrogen
  • Conditions leading to increased pressure in the abdomen such as chronic cough (with bronchitis and asthma), straining (with constipation), pelvic tumors (rare), or an accumulation of fluid in the abdomen
  • Being overweight or obese and its additional strain on pelvic muscles
  • Radical surgery in the pelvic area leading to loss of external support
  • Excess weight lifting

Hey, it’s not as uncommon as you might think. Dr. Oz did a whole hour a couple weeks ago on “the hidden shame” associated with having your lady junk drop. In the spirit of Just the Tip Tuesday, I’m here today with advice on how to possibly avoid having this happen to you.

First let me just say, I’m not a medical doctor. I’m more of a domestic doctor… who got her temporary license through a non-accredited foreign correspondence course. But I do have a vagina and I did give birth the old fashioned way to three ginormous babies (the smallest was 8 lbs. 5 oz., the biggest was 9 lbs. 11 oz., the third was somewhere in between, but who can remember with all these babies underfoot.)  So, needless to say, I know a thing or two about war-torn lady parts.

I’m also a graduate of The Bradley Method and therefore I have logged many many hours learning about pregnancy, labor, and delivery. Having a strong pelvic floor (the “hammock” that supports the uterus) is integral to being able to push your baby through that ring-of-fire. I actually didn’t know that the first time I was pregnant and it was a very difficult labor and delivery. That’s why I went looking for a better experience my second and third time around and chose The Bradley Method. But I digress.

A strong pelvic floor is also critical for the rest of your life… not just for giving birth. Having strong pelvic muscles will not only keep all your reproductive organs from coming out to say hello, it will also dramatically improve the quality of your sex life (and not just because your husband won’t have to push your uterus back up in there in order to have sex). The stronger those muscles are, the more intense your orgasms will be. In addition, your male partner will benefit as well from the increase in muscle tone. In other words, the stronger your pelvic floor, the more jewelery you’ll get on Valentine’s day.

The good news is that you can do simple exercises that will keep your pelvic floor as fit as a fiddle. And they are free. You don’t need any special equipment, a gym membership, or a fancy legwarmers+headband outfit reminiscent of the Olivia Newton John Let’s Get Physical phase. You won’t even break a sweat doing these moves. But like any exercise, it only works if you do it.

It’s called The Kegel.

You probably already know what it is and how to do it, don’t you? If not, just google it. I have to finish writing this before Scooby Doo is over.

The catch is this: knowing about Kegels, and doing them regularly are two different things, aren’t they.

So here’s where my tip comes in and it is a winner! Ready?

Any time you are in a car (as the driver or passenger) and you stop at a stop sign or red light, do your Kegel exercises.

How easy is that?!

I like to do three quick one-second pulses at every stop sign… it actually helps me to be a better driver and not roll through stop signs. Isn’t that fabulous?! An exercise that can tighten up your tingly parts and help you be a better driver?! Whoot!

At red lights, I do the advanced version. It’s called “the elevator.” This is when you pretend your vagina is an elevator shaft and using only your pelvic floor muscles you move an imaginary elevator from the ground floor, slowly, up to the first floor, then to the second floor, and finally to the third floor, where you hold hold hold (while all the passengers hop out and a new group of passengers gets on), and then slowly lower the elevator back through all the floors to the ground floor. This is really hard to do; don’t kid yourself. Sometimes my elevator will crash to the floor and violently kill everyone inside of it. Other times, my elevator operator is like “Uh, sorry… they’re doing some remodeling upstairs… you’re gonna have to hold your conference in the lobby today, lady.”

In conclusion… do your Kegels. Do them when you drive, or ride in a car, or for you city gals, do them on the subway. Just do them. Your uterus will thank you, your partner will thank you, fellow drivers will thank you, and you won’t have to hire an ambulance chaser to get you your fair share of a class action lawsuit someday when there is a recall of the medical supplies used in the repair of your prolapsed uterus. Phew, that’s a mouthful. (That’s what he said.)

Slowly, and with hopefully improving pelvic control,

-Iris

© Copyright 2011, The Bearded Iris.

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