Sunday, May 13, 2012

Today's Spongetastrophe

Have you ever watched a snake eat and wondered how a snack so big could fit down that relatively small gullet? (If you think snakes are cool, you might want to watch this video of a Burmese python eating a freaking alligator.)  The snake's jaw disarticulates (unhinges) so a snake with a head the size of a quarter can easily eat a big rat.

Last month I decided to try a new birth control method during the transition time before my husband gets a vasectomy. Instead of calling my OB for recommendations, like a smart person who was really serious about not having more kids would do, I turned to one of my favorite shows for ideas.

I love "The Sponge" episode of Seinfeld, but for most of the time the show was a regular part of the viewing line-up in my house, the Sponge was off the market. Happily, it's out there again and I decided to see what all the fuss was about.

The fuss is that the Sponge is very easy to use. You wet it, squeeze it, place it over your cervix, and forget about it for 24 hours. Piece of cake. Except that it wasn't. Let's go back to the image of the snake's jaw unhinging. Childbirth is like that, but in reverse. My OB once made a comment that being able to deliver vaginally was all about having a "big butt." I'm dragging a pretty big wagon, so I was like, "Great! My butt is huge!" And she said something about the inner mechanism. Probably having to do with the spread and angle of the pelvic bones and other anatomical things like that. Anyway, I'm very scientific, so I think of my body unhinging on the inside like a snake's mouth so something the size of a watermelon can pass through an opening the size of a lemon. The only difference is, unless she happens to give birth in France, a woman's body will not re-hinge exactly the way it was before. This is not a problem for anyone (except for some very small men). Or so I thought.

So, I placed my Sponge and puttered around the bathroom and bedroom for a little while until I had to go pee. When I sat down, I felt some alarming movement where there should be none.

And that's when I gave birth to the Sponge.

In looking over the instructions to see where I'd gone wrong, I came across the table of birth control methods and their effectiveness. I've studied that table many times in my life, but I definitely missed some pertinent information about the Sponge. Specifically, that twice as many women got pregnant in the first year of use if they'd borne a child before. Damn you, Postpartum Expanded Vagitis!*

I'm not up for a user error pregnancy so that's it for me. If I can't figure out how to use it correctly on the first try, then I am definitely not Sponge-worthy.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

They know what moms want

*Incidentally, the Today Sponge website says Postpartum Expanded Vagitis is not the cause of the higher incidence of pregnancy among parous women.


  1. How strange, I was just flipping through the Red Eye today and read this:,0,6256962.story
    and the related story about how the female condom stacks up against other contraception. They mention that sponge pregnancy statistic and I thought, "are they still making the sponge?"

    Well, I'm glad you tested it out and reported your findings. In exchange, I will share that the last time I tried a female condom, in the late 90's, I was not impressed. But maybe technology has changed.

    1. That was Erika that wrote that. I don't know why it says "Unknown".

    2. Thanks, Erika! The comparison article was particularly interesting; there's a lot more out there than when I was last concerned with not getting pregnant.

  2. That's definitely one of my favorite episodes. Is he sponge-worthy?