A Plug of What?

By Diane Stark

A Plug of What?

My obstetrician snapped off the rubber glove she’d worn to check my progress. I waited on baited breath for her to utter any words involving dilation, effacement or anything else potentially pregnancy-ending.

“You should be losing your mucus plug any time now,” my doctor said with a small smile.

“Mucus plug? Ooh, what is that?” I said in disgust.

She chuckled. “Well, it’s pretty much just as it sounds. It’s a small bit of mucus that acts like a cork to your uterus. When it falls out, you’ll know that you’re starting to dilate.”

Even as a first-time mom, I knew that dilation was a good thing. But this mucus plug thing still had me concerned. “So it’s just going to fall out sometime? Will it be messy? How big is it?”

“It’s nothing to worry about,” she said, waving her hand in the air. “Most women lose theirs in the toilet when they use the bathroom. It’s just a small piece of tissue, usually reddish in color.”

“And it won’t hurt?”

“Not a bit,” she assured me.

I nodded. I could handle that.

For the next few days, every time I used the bathroom, I peered into the toilet anxiously, hoping to spot this all-important plug of mucus. Finally, on a Saturday afternoon, two days before my due date, there it was. It looked like a cotton ball but it was pink. Never before had I been so thrilled over mucus.

I did my happy dance as I yelled for my husband. “My mucus plug is in the toilet! It means I’m finally starting to dilate! Hurrah!”

“Wow, hey, congratulations on that!” He called from the other room. “Do they make a greeting card for that? ‘Your mucus plug will be missed by all, but it’s in a better place now.’” He laughed, and I hated him for just a minute.

“You said you wanted to share every minute of this pregnancy with me,” I yelled back. “Now this is part of it, so get in here and look at this disgusting thing!”

My husband sauntered into the bathroom, clearly missing the importance of this event. He peered into the toilet, squinted his eyes for a better look, and then burst out laughing.

“What on earth is funny about this?” I demanded.

He continued to laugh while I simply stood there, arms folded across my positively enormous stomach, thinking how infuriating men could be at times. (But since you probably have one of your own, this is not news to you.)

Finally, because of my glare that clearly communicated that his life would shortly be in danger, he wiped his eyes and struggled to gain control of himself. With a barely concealed grin, he said, “Remember when I went into the attic this morning to adjust the satellite dish?”

I nodded, feeling beyond irritated. “So?”

“And when I came back down, I had insulation all over me?”

I rolled my eyes. He could never just let me have my moment. “Yeah, I remember. But what does that have to do with my mucus plug?”

“Well, Honey, a lot. Because that thing,” he said, pointing into the toilet, “would be a plug of insulation.”

About this writer

  • Diane Stark Diane Stark is a wife and mom of five. She loves to write about her family and her faith. Her essays have been published in over 20 Chicken Soup for the Soul books.

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