No Ban No Wall, Baby Bop agrees

I have an unshakeable queasiness. I go about my daily life: brushing my teeth, taking care of my baby and it stabs me again and again. The psychological weight of this evil White House administration is constant.

Baby Bop agrees, so I’m filling her calendar with protests. We didn’t make it to the one at Logan airport because it was past our bedtime, but we made it to one yesterday and looks like there’s one on Wednesday that’ll fit in great with our nap schedule.

Meanwhile on the home front, physical therapy is winding down. Am I like new? No. If I were posting my vagina for sale on Amazon I would need to label it as “good.”  As in it has had some solid use, there are small markings and folds, but it’s in usable condition. I could try passing it off as “very good.” As in it has had minimal use, is unmarked, undamaged and shows limited signs of wear. But we all know that’s not true.

After my regular appointment with my physical therapist, she hands me over to a 25-year-old guy to help me go through my exercises. He has an even younger trainee with him. This guy looks like he just started sleeping through the night. He might be 21.

I do my squats. The 25-year-old attempts small talk,

“How’s the sleep going?”

Once this guy has to feed a baby at 3am for months on end, then we can talk about sleep.

Out of nowhere a random woman walks up to Baby Bop’s stroller and starts touching her. My insides recoil and I almost drop the 17 pound weight that’s standing in for Baby Bop. The woman notices my concern and reassures me,

“I have a baby too.”

Part of me softens, but the other part of me screams, well then what the heck are you thinking?

I try to focus on my squats. The 21-year-old looks over the list of exercises I’m supposed to do and asks the 25-year-old,

“So what’s the injury?”

“Childbirth or something like that.”

Something like that? What is something like childbirth?

Baby Bop preferred to protest from inside my coat. Don’t worry, she made her voice heard.

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My post-baby brain needs as much as help as my post-baby body

I’m not sure which has killed more brain cells: all the drinking I’ve done or having a baby.

The writing corner of my brain is either dead or hibernating. It used to be that someone could say something funny or absurd and my blog brain cells would click on, record and regurgitate when I turned on my computer.

Now when something funny happens, my brain cells light up for a moment and then go back to sleep. Getting the information from them later is not guaranteed. And if it’s backed up somewhere, I don’t know where to find it.

After my previous post, I was on the phone with a dear friend talking about our pelvic floor physical therapy. Shoot! I forgot one of the best parts of my blog post. It was one of those quotes that the moment I heard it, I said to myself, “gotta blog this.” And I didn’t.

Not only did I not blog it, but I wrote the whole post it inspired and didn’t even realize it was missing. The good news for you is that I remember now.

So back to my pelvic floor. I know you missed it.

I went to a trampoline park with my Little Sister a few weekends ago. Which I recommend if your bladder muscles are in good shape. I report back to my physical therapist. She asks,

“How’d it go?”

“I leaked.”

“So I guess we know where the line is. Sneezing isn’t a problem, but an hour on a trampoline is too much.”

“Also this may sound crazy, but my vagina felt like it was falling out.”

“I’ve heard that before.”

“Really?”

“Yeah, think of your vagina like a roll of toilet paper. Since you’ve had your baby, your vagina isn’t holding its integrity anymore. Now it’s like a soggy roll of toilet paper.”

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Pelvic floor massages covered by my health insurance. Not as fun as it sounds

I dedicate this post to my pelvic floor. I didn’t know I had one until half way through my pregnancy. It’s what keeps my bladder and uterus from falling out of my body. Baby Bop stretched the muscles to their limits and now they’re not sure what to do.

Around the same time I learned I have a pelvic floor, I learned there are pelvic floor physical therapists. I thought maybe I’d go one day, in the same way I thought maybe I’ll have a baby someday.

Now I have a baby and now I’m going to physical therapy. Three months postpartum I arrive at the PT center. It’s full of people doing all sorts of exercises. I wonder what I’ll be doing. Squats I bet.

I meet my physical therapist. She’s very nice. She escorts me to a private room with an exam table and closes the door. Maybe I’m not going to be doing squats. She tells me, and I’m paraphrasing, that she’s going to poke around my vagina.

She starts off very shallow and asks,

“Is this painful?”

“Uncomfortable.” If childbirth is painful, then one finger has to be something less than that.

She pokes around for awhile,

“How about here?”

“Uncomfortable.”

“I thought so, it feels tight. Bring a couple breaths here. Did you do anything fun over the weekend?”

Wait, what? I’m supposed to bring breaths to my pelvic floor and chat about my weekend, while a very nice stranger has her finger in my vagina? She continues,

“Now I’m just going to let my finger float while you do a kegel and hold it for as long as you can.”

I do.

“Not bad! Ok now do 5 quick ones and fully relax in between.”

I try.

“Mmm. So that’s something to work on. Could you feel that you were tensing your whole body? Your neck muscles shouldn’t be involved in doing a kegel.”

That’s reasonable.

As I’m leaving, I see a guy gabbing away while he gets his calf massaged. This is a million times less awkward.

Two months of weekly appointments later, my physical therapist pops her finger in and we’re chatting about skiing, Thanksgiving, trampolines, the election, weddings, babies and occasionally my vagina.

“Bring a few breaths here. That’s better. Can you tell?”

“Yes.” It’s not as uncomfortable.

Now we’re ready for squats.

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When I told Captain about this blog, he said I needed to use a photo of a turkey getting stuffed. And since he so rarely makes blog requests, here it is.

"I think you need to work on your pelvic floor exercises, dear!"