Nobody really tells you about the hemorrhoids. I mean, sure, the pregnancy books might mumble something about inflamed veins COUGH COUGH NEXT SUBJECT, but they don’t prepare you for the day when you go to the bathroom and discover that someway, somehow, you have a . . . a small balloon protruding from your rear end. Possibly several balloons.
Perhaps you will panic, just a bit, and do some Unsavory Research on the subject. You will no doubt learn that hemorrhoids are exacerbated by “straining” when you poo. In fact, that is the main advice you will read, over and over: DO NOT STRAIN WHEN YOU POO. Unfortunately, pregnancy has caused your entire gastrointestinal system to slow to a crawl in order for your unborn child to more efficiently leech nutrients from your system, and frankly, if you do not expend a little effort in your output, so to speak, you’re pretty sure you’ll never take a crap again as long as you live.
And so you have these things peeping out from inside your BUTT, and oh, you can try and pretend they don’t exist, but my GOD, it’s like a CLOWN has crawled up your ass and an entire BIRTHDAY PARTY’S worth of INFLATABLE ANIMALS are housed up in there.
You have no idea what these so-called veins look like. You suppose there’s always the option of getting out a hand mirror and taking a look, but you figure you can quite easily go to the grave without enjoying that particular experience.
At some point, it becomes time to make a Very Shameful Purchase, and it occurs to you that it would have been one thing to have your tube of hemorrhoid cream go slithering casually across the conveyor belt along with a plethora of groceries during the light of day, but it’s something else entirely to be standing in a Walgreen’s checkout line at midnight with exactly two items before you: Preparation H and Tuck’s Medicated Pads with Soothing Witch Hazel. “Yes!” you may as well be shouting to the gimlet-eyed cashier. “I HAVE ENGORGED ANAL TISSUE, AND IT BURRRRRNS.”
You assume that once you’re no longer the size of a fully-grown African rhino your butthole will return to its previously benign state and all of your innards will go back to where they belong, but ho ho HO, THEN there’s the aftermath of a C-section, a procedure which involves your intestines being wrestled around and possibly used for a quick game of double dutch, depending on the skill level of your surgical team. For a full two days after surgery, nurses will pester you about whether or not you have “moved” your bowels, and the answer, of course, is DEAR GOD NO ARE YOU KIDDING ME, but in order to be allowed to go home you will lie and describe the giant movement that you produced — why, just this morning! By god if it wasn’t the size and shape of a Russian Typhoon, Nurse! Cracked the ceramic on its descent! Oh yes, all bowels moving just fine and dandy, thank you for asking!
Complicating matters is the pain medication you are taking, a side effect of which is constipation, and while you try and put off the inevitable for as long as humanly possible eventually there will come a dark and terrible hour when you experience childbirth for the second time. You’ve heard of the expression “shitting a brick” before, but you never imagined that you would become so intimately familiar with the sensation of doing exactly that.
The post-surgery, post-codeine Movement of Epic Awfulness will leave a souvenir in its wake, of course. If they were like fun-sized balloons before, you’ve got something more like the goddamned Hindenburg now.
Eventually, the horrifying things happening in your rectal area will recede, and just in time, because now you must turn your attention to someone else’s butt and the contents thereof. Welcome to parenthood! Luckily, the last smears of your dignity have long been wiped away.