Pregnancy Curveball: A Bed Rest Story
Pregnancy is all fun and games until something goes amiss. For me, my “amiss” occurred at 28 weeks, pregnant with twins, when I started experiencing what I assumed were Braxton Hicks contractions. They weren’t. A quick visit to the hospital confirmed that I had in fact started going into early labor. This came after 28 weeks of a perfect, textbook pregnancy.
They gave me a terbutaline shot, sent me home with a pill version that I had to take every four hours (yes, I had to set an alarm to stay on schedule while sleeping), and then they blew me away with instructions for strict bed rest!
Bed rest!? What the what? No way I was going to be able to handle bed rest. No. Freaking. Way!
Orders for bed rest did not go over well with my Type A personality. I am not a bed rest kind of gal, and most importantly, I felt perfectly fine. I pleaded with the doctor that there must be some mistake, but she disagreed.
After all, I still had work to do, still hadn’t finished the nursery – had clothes to buy and was not finished shopping for everything I needed. I was still working for goodness sakes. Orders for bed rest did not go over well with my Type A personality. I am not a bed rest kind of gal, and most importantly, I felt perfectly fine. I pleaded with the doctor that there must be some mistake, but she disagreed.
Of course being ordered to bed rest or faced with the consequences of a premature birth scared me to death. So bed rest it was. And I will tell you, knowing I had at least six weeks of bed rest ahead of me was a difficult pill to swallow. What would I do? Did I really have to just lie there all day? Would I lose my job? How was I supposed to get everything done?
Friends and family members, of course, tried to come to the rescue and made sure that my living room became the most exciting place on earth, and even brought in a mini fridge to sit next to the couch so I wouldn’t have to go far for a snack or drink. I had computers and became addicted to Mario Brothers. I addressed my birth announcements, got my phone calls in, and ordered some of the things that I felt I needed online. Every morning, I kept up with my pregnancy diary. Friends would call and visit. And then as exactly one week passed, I was completely stir crazy.
My husband, parents, and in-laws would call me every few hours to check on me; and although I always tried to sound chipper, I wasn’t. My husband would call me when he left work so that I could get in the tub, and he would help me out by the time he got home. My bath was literally the highlight of my day, especially when Judge Judy and Jerry Springer were all reruns. Truth be told, I was bored silly. I felt like I was going out of my mind and there wasn’t enough television or movies or books or games to keep me happy and comfortable on the couch. Worse, there is only so much time that someone who is not tired can sleep, right? Plus, it gave me far too much time to worry.
After the second week, I became crafty, and would sneak out right after my family called to K-Mart (it was just a mile or two from my house). Of course, I always worried that my water would break right smack dab in the middle of the store, which even made this “daring and wild act of sneaking out” not a whole lot of fun. Then, I started actually going outside for a bit to sit on the porch. If anyone asked, I lied and told them I hadn’t moved all day long.
The real highlight of this six-week stint came when I could go to the OBGYN’s office for a checkup, and could stop in at Dairy Queen for an ice cream and feel like an actual part of civilization again. And the good reports from the doctor meant that my bed rest was working, so I became resigned to the countdown. But boy, was it hard mentally and physically, especially for someone who liked to be busy.
If I had to offer tips for those on bed rest, they are: First, realize that while the time will pass slowly; it will be forgotten the moment you have your healthy babies. Second, try to take advantage of the time to rest and recharge. Write letters to your unborn baby. Learn something new, like knitting or poetry or computer programming. Get online and join forums for other moms on bed rest; and take in as much information as you can about pregnancy, birth, and child raising. Take this time for yourself in as many ways as possible, because once the baby comes along, you can kiss that time good-bye. And most of all, do your best to be patient. Learn to let go of preconceived notions and feelings of being in control. If there is one thing that your children will teach you, it is that you have less control – no matter how well planned you are – than you really think.
Did you have an unexpected turn of events with any of your pregnancies? How did you cope with it?