Pregnancy is the wrecking ball that obliterates both the internal structures of a woman and the foundations of both of our dignity. I started this blog with a view to being intolerably honest, and I feel I've not done this ethos justice if I skip this part. Here are the top five undignified moments of parenthood that we've endured.
I usually get Kate to proofread my posts for silly typos and factual inconsistencies before they get posted. For reasons that will soon be crystal clear, I've not done that here.
If you're squeamish in any way, then these anatomical atrocities will stretch your bond close to its elastic limit.
1. The mucus plug
Ahh, the mucus plug (or operculum). That slug-like chunk of mucus that sits at the base of the cervix and adds an extra layer of protection for the baby. It sticks around (literally) for the entire pregnancy, making its dramatic exit before labour in what's called "the show". It's also known as "the bloody show", which I think is a better description.
I'm not a squeamish person by any means. I used to work for a funeral company and I've seen some sights - but this...THING is one of the few entities that have made me get that acidic saliva at the sides of your tongue that manifests right before you vomit.
I remember Kathryn calling me up to the bathroom urgently. I arrived at the door, slightly breathless (10 stairs, 2 steps at a time like a boss). "What's up?" I asked. This seemed to be my catchphrase throughout the pregnancy.
"Is this the plug?" Kathryn said as she shoved a tissue full of the putrid slime in my face. To this day I can't eat a pear if it's over-ripe because it looks JUST like that (if you'd taken a bite from it while your gums were bleeding).
2. The constipation
I may get into some trouble for this one. I'm told pregnancy causes this a lot, is this true? Google implies it is but no woman will admit it really. Kathryn suffered from it, I'll tell you that much - in the name of science of course. I often joked that she was now literally full of shit - to this day I maintain that it's a hilarious joke.
I bought some concoction from the pharmacist, but it was disgusting (I had a risky taste, on a work day no less!). Kathryn got to learn the timbre of the sound made when I stirred it with a metal spoon and would shout at me from the other side of the house. Cute!
3. The baby-poo projectile
I'm not quite sure what it is about a baby's digestive system that allows it to double up as a fire hose, but that's what happens. Baby poo is of a very distinct colour and odour, I mean...it's still shit at the end of the day, but I openly admit it got my attention in that "oooh what's this?" kind of way.
Top tip: if you get the urge to examine it, replace the baby's nappy first. One time I found what looked like mustard seeds in Evelyn's arse-porridge. I leant in for a closer look and heard her straining. My reflexes kicked in and I guarded my face with the nappy I was holding - this is one of the highest and lowest points of early fatherhood. What I did was damn cool, but it doesn't make for that good a story, unfortunately.
If I'd not been so zen-like tuned in to my surroundings, it's likely I would have ended up with an ear canal full of shit.
4. "Daddy - get this bogey"
Ok, I love this. I know - that makes me kind of weird, but there's a certain satisfaction from finally hooking that big one and reeling it in. In private, we all know this feeling with our own. Oh don't give me that, we all do it!
Evelyn hasn't learnt how to blow her nose hard enough yet. When she tries it comes out as a sarcastic laugh at best - I'm not sure whether she's an underachiever in this sense, but as far as I'm aware there is no official measurement for it.
5. The weak bladder
This is just for the pregnant mums-to-be (although I suffered from it while Kate was in labour). Space is at a premium when a lady is pregnant, so organs get squashed and shifted about to make room for the baby. Awkwardly, the baby is also within kicking distance of the bladder - which makes for some funny scenarios.
We were at a family meal when Kate was pregnant and, as you do, we sat there afterwards taking the piss out of each other. As Kate was laughing at my expense, I grabbed the nearest thing to me - a donut - and shoved it as far into her mouth as it would go. You had to be there, but this was hilarious - she saw the funny side, thankfully, but a little TOO much. She laughed so hard she pissed herself - and didn't admit it for about five minutes. She sidestepped out of the room and went to sort herself out as we sat there wondering who was going to clean the mess up, and how.
Right, that's the top five done. There's one extra memory I want to share, which could actually be the nail in my own coffin.
It dates back to when Kate was trying to breastfeed and express. The pump wasn't doing its job and the baby was unable to latch on (tongue-tied). As a result, Kate's lady-lumps became engorged, and sore. I was forced to manually express the breastmilk out - that's right, I milked my fiancé like a cow. It was both fascinating and strangely satisfying (but in no way erotic. Seriously!). I stood there groping her like an enamoured 14 year old. I was greeted with the occasional face-full of breastmilk.
Being the curious soul I am, I admit to sneaking a taste in. Not too bad, but I wouldn't exactly cover my cornflakes with the stuff.
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