Thirty-two weeks down, eight more to go. And all of a sudden, pregnancy seems to have flown by. Being 40 and pregnant has presented its share of issues. This week, though, we look at a universal problem for pregnant women of all ages: going (and going and going) to the bathroom.
I’ve heard that pregnancy prepares you for labor and labor prepares you for parenting. But what exactly do the 800 bathroom trips a day prepare you for? If our constant need to urinate says anything about our human evolution, it’s no wonder our species has so many issues. I wonder about this at 3AM when I’m sitting there in the darkness hoping I don’t accidentally pee down my leg. It’s my second trip so far during the night, and there will probably be at least one more.
Physiologically speaking, the answer is pretty simple: the uterus expanding with my growing baby flattens the bladder, making it smaller and therefore needs to be emptied more frequently. Sometimes, the pressure can feel like I’ve been holding it for hours, and when I finally get there to pee, a scant, thimble-sized amount comes out.
The constant need to pee has shifted how I do things now, too. I walk five miles a day (per my midwife’s direction), and this walking has to occur in relative proximity to a bathroom. I choose restaurants I know have nice bathrooms. My partner checks in with me before he even thinks about spending any longer than twelve seconds in our bathroom, or risk me possibly barging in on him.
I’ve never been more aware of how quickly a roll of toilet paper can fly by. I try to keep my use to 2-3 squares per tinkle, but even still, we go through it now at twice the normal rate. We typically use the “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” water-saving toilet flush rule. But I pee so much that I’m flushing pretty regularly.
To entertain myself, I’ve tried to calculate whether or not I can match the quantity of liquid that goes in to how much goes out. Math is not my strong suit, but I’m pretty sure the ratio is something like this: one eight ounce glass of water = thirty-seven million bathroom trips. Give or take a mil, of course. If only pee was gold..
I’ve thought about drinking while on the toilet, too, just to see if I can create a wormhole in the universe or something, but I’m scared to try. (I mean, are there even any bathrooms in space?)
I’ve also considered trying on one of those adult diapers for a day. Not because I can’t hold my pee (I can, sort of. whatever…), but more out of sheer curiosity over what it will be like for my daughter to constantly wear one for those first few years of her life.[BRB…guess where I'm going?]
Ok, where was I?
Oh yes. Diapers.
My frequent runs to the bathroom certainly make me think a lot about the convenience of diapers, but also the nuisance. Not for those of us who have to change them eight or more times a day, but for those poor tiny creatures forced to sit in their cotton-wrapped pee all day. And that, I decide, is the real point of the multiple bathroom trips every hour during pregnancy: they serve to inform my soon-to-be mother instincts to remember that no one really likes peeing, especially when we rely on others to get us as far away from our urine as possible. I’ll do my best to remember this, daughter, I promise.
This is the latest installment of the series, Vegan, 40, and Pregnant. Read the entire series:
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