A Mucus Plug and a Vagina Monologue / Un Tapón Mucoso y un Monólogo de la Vagina

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

I CAN’T BELIEVE that in all my years on this planet and despite all the pregnant women I have known, it took our friend Kathleen to teach me about a mucus plug. If you don’t know what it is, I won’t go into graphic detail (that’s what the internet is for), but I will tell you it’s kind of like a cork. During pregnancy, it seals the cervix and, along with the amniotic sac, helps protect the baby. It’s only about the size of a euro or an American quarter. And it “pops out” on its own as the cervix expands in preparation for labor. Many women don’t even know it’s happened. Despite the popping of the cork, it could still be a couple of weeks before labor begins. So, Luke’s little brother has still not arrived. (Luke recently asked, “Once the baby is here, how long will we keep it?”)

But the mucus plug takes me back to a story about My Mother The Dowager Duchess that I was unable to tell while she was still living.

IN 1998, THE DUCHESS and her sister, my aunt Sylvie, were visiting us in San Diego, California, when we decided to take them for a weekend in Palm Springs. We rented an elegant two-bedroom condo in a complex with a large pool/spa area where a pancake breakfast was served. During breakfast, we noticed some women soaking in the spa. I had tested the water when we walked by and it wasn’t even as warm as bath water. In addition, the jets were so weak, you could hardly tell the water was moving.

Among the women soaking while we had our breakfast was one who appeared to be about six months pregnant. My Mother The Dowager Duchess said, “She shouldn’t be in the hot tub when she’s pregnant.”

I said, “I’m sure she knows what she’s doing. Besides, the water is luke warm and the jets are very weak.”

“It’s still not good for the baby!”

I decided to drop the subject while we finished our breakfast. As we headed back to the apartment, The Duchess had to say something . “You shouldn’t be in there. It’s not healthy,” she said directly to the woman.

The mother-to-be was very gracious. She smiled and said, “Oh, it’s cooler than a bathtub and the jets are weak.”

“It’s still not good for the baby.”

I hustled my mother away while smiling and rolling my eyes. The pregnant woman winked and smiled.

The Duchess was still complaining about it as we left the patio. “Mom,” I said. “It’s cooler and calmer than a bathtub!”

“That’s not the issue,” she barked. “The chemicals get up the vagina!”

Obviously, The Dowager Duchess knew nothing about the mucus plug.

ALSO, THAT IS THE one and only time I ever heard my mother say the word “vagina.” I wanted to die.


NO PUEDO CREER que en todos mis años en este planeta y a pesar de todas las mujeres embarazadas que conozco, le tomó a nuestra amiga Kathleen enseñarme sobre un tapón mucoso. Si no sabe qué es, no entraré en detalles gráficos (para eso es Internet), pero le diré que es como un corcho. Durante el embarazo, sella el cuello uterino y, junto con el saco amniótico, ayuda a proteger al bebé. Solo tiene el tamaño de un euro o un cuarto estadounidense. Y “sobresale” por sí solo a medida que el cuello uterino se expande en preparación para el parto. Muchas mujeres ni siquiera saben que ha sucedido. A pesar del estallido del corcho, aún podrían pasar un par de semanas antes de que comience el parto. Entonces, el hermanito de Luke aún no ha llegado. (Luke preguntó recientemente, “Cuando el bebé está aquí, ¿Cuánto tiempo lo mantendremos?”)

Pero esto me lleva de vuelta a una historia sobre Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda que no pude contar mientras ella aún vivía.

EN 1998, LA DUQUESA y su hermana, mi tía Sylvie, nos estaban visitando en San Diego en California cuando decidimos llevarlas a pasar un fin de semana en Palm Springs. Alquilamos un condominio elegante de dos habitaciones en un complejo muy agradable con una gran área de piscina / spa donde se sirve un desayuno de panqueques. Durante el desayuno, notamos a algunas mujeres sumergirse en el spa. Yo había probado el agua cuando pasamos y ni siquiera estaba tan caliente como el agua del baño. Además, los chorros eran tan débiles que apenas se notaba que el agua se movía.

Entre las mujeres que se remojaron mientras desayunábamos había una que parecía estar embarazada de unos seis meses. Mi Madre La Duquesa Viuda dijo: “No debería estar en la bañera de hidromasaje cuando está embarazada”.

Le dije: “Estoy seguro de que ella sabe lo que está haciendo. Además, el agua está tibia y los chorros son muy débiles”.

“¡Todavía no es bueno para el bebé!

Decidí dejar el tema mientras terminamos nuestro desayuno. Mientras nos dirigíamos de regreso al apartamento, la Duquesa tuvo que decir algo. “No deberías estar allí. No es saludable”, dijo directamente a la mujer.

La futura madre fue muy amable. Ella sonrió y dijo: “Oh, hace más frío que una bañera y los chorros son débiles”.

“Todavía ¡no es bueno para el bebé”!

Alejé a mi madre mientras sonreía y rodaba los ojos. La mujer embarazada guiñó un ojo y sonrió.

La duquesa seguía hablando de eso cuando salimos del patio. “Mamá”, le dije. “¡Es más fresco y tranquilo que una bañera!”

“Ese no es el problema”, ladró. “¡Los químicos le suben por la vagina!”

Obviamente, La Duquesa Viuda no sabía nada sobre el tapón mucoso.

ADEMÁS, ESA ES LA única vez que escuché a mi madre decir la palabra “vagina”. Yo quería morir.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

32 thoughts on “A Mucus Plug and a Vagina Monologue / Un Tapón Mucoso y un Monólogo de la Vagina”

  1. Mucus plug, huh? I am applying my filter now (I had to go find one) so that I won’t spew anything gross. I only found out about the thing because I had my first baby back when the father couldn’t come into the delivery room without a little card which stated that he had completed the Lamaze class. I learned about it there, I think. Barbaric times, the seventies! I kept on the look out for it. I wish that somebody had told me about the IV though. I hate needles, so no epidural. The IV was an ambush! It would’ve been nice if someone had told me about the possibility of a turd popping out when the doctor shoved his giant mitts in my hoo haa and started feeling around up there! I was shy, damnit! Sorry, I think I’ll have to send the filter back. It doesn’t seem to be working.
    Your mother was a hoot and a half! It explains a lot about you, Scoot.

    1. Mitchell, don’t let Jerry read this. He may have to hold my hand and poop may or may not come out….

      1. Kathleen, just tie one of his dishtowels around his eyes. He can then be supportive and protected 🙂

      2. Deedles:
        The poop wouldn’t be a problem for him. And he’s surprisingly excited that he might be needed for hand-holding.

      3. Kathleen:
        He cracked up. He’ll still be happy to hold your hand. Remember, he’s a farm boy. Poop is the least of his worries!

    2. Deedles:
      Oh, dear god! A turd?!? And YOU needed to apply a filter so YOU wouldn’t spew anything gross? Speaking of which, my mother comes from a family (sisters) with no filters. Many of my cousins are the same. One of my cousins has a son who regularly says, “Mom, you just said that outloud.”

    1. anne marie:
      When you say, OMB, do you mean Oh My Bieber or On My Break? I’ve always wondered about this one.

  2. You come from such a progressive family! I remember mom going to her cousin’s pharmacy and whispering to his wife who took care of the counter. She disappeared into the back room and reappeared with a package wrapped in plain brown paper. It was either illegal drugs or sanitary napkins as they were called back then.

    And the word “pregnant” was never uttered in the presence of children. It was always one woman who said, “She’s, you know.” And the others would respond, “Oh, I didn’t know.” or “She must be happy.”

    1. Frank:
      My mother once told me to go to the store and buy “Kotex.” I was 13 and I refused. My father never even did that for her. I feel badly now, but they weren’t behind the counter and it, sadly, would have been humiliating for a 13-year-old boy to be seen with. I had enough problems. Jerry’s mother once gave him a note to take to the drugstore where her friend worked. He gave the note to the friend, who read it and gave him something in a brown paper bag. Not a word was spoken.

  3. I was just singing, ‘I hope I make it’s and then would you looky here! My mucus plug is famous! 😉

  4. I bet Mom had a few more words she seldom or never uttered aloud. After an excited utterance, my father remarked of my mother, “I never knew she knew those words!”

    1. David:
      I never once heard that body part referred to in any way until that day. I was 44 years old and she was 71! When I was 18, my sister (20) took a Midol in front of me. My mother saw her and snapped, “Dale! Not in front of your brother!”

  5. Just another two cents. Don’t worry, I’m almost broke. I love reading about the moms who hardly ever used even the most innocent of words, like pregnancy. My mother’s mouth would drive a sailor into a monastery! My father, the sailor, rarely used the language. We children couldn’t say butt, or fart or piss. We called sanitary napkins, Marys , and daddy would have to make the store run to supply six girls with the things. Poor affable guy. My uncle told him that we were making the Kotex people rich. Yep, filter’s shredded!

      1. David:
        Agreed. What would our lives be like without dear Deedles?!?

    1. Deedles:
      You can add as many cents as you want. I love it. My mother said my sister spoke like a truck driver… because when she was angry, she called me a bum. Over dinner, my father regularly vented about work and his staff. His favorite thing to say was, “I wish [so and so] would quit bustin’ my balls.” My mother would say, “David!” The next time he might say, “Quit bustin’ my shoes.” But it never lasted… and never made any sense.

    1. Jennifer:
      My “poor” friend… Did you noticed Kathleen commented twice? She loves the attention and she has a gift for over-sharing!

      1. I think I love Kathleen! Over-sharing is my jam! She should be loved just for co-producing that little honeybun of a Luke. TMI is a bonus!

      2. Deedles:
        Kathleen is impossible not to love — despite her over-sharing. Luke is a major bonus.

  6. I never heard of a mucus plug either. I did go look up the term after I read you account, and read when the plug eventually “pops” out, many women aren’t even aware of it. So your mother’s ignorance is understandable.

    1. Kirk:
      Fascinating, isn’t it? I mentioned that lack of awareness. Probably even less obvious when it happens along with water breaking.

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