Blogger, Writer, Urban Adventurer
Whenever I meet someone and hear that they too survived bed rest during their pregnancy, I feel like giving them the Hunger Gamesthree-fingered salute.
Going on bed rest gives you entry to a super exclusive club that you never wanted to join. Moms are sent to bed rest for many different reasons: High blood pressure, cervical changes, bleeding, premature labor or in my case, complete placenta previa.
At first blush, needing to go on bed rest at home during your pregnancy sounds like a dream come true. Not allowed to clean, cook or leave the couch? No problem. Netflix and I have some bonding to do. But I quickly learned that bed rest is no laughing matter, and far from the “break” people think it is.
For starters…it’s really scary
If complete placenta previa wasn’t bad enough, I was having twinsand was on blood thinners due to a clotting disorder. This special mix earned me weekly visits rotating through three different doctors all watching me for any signs of pre-term labor or bleeding. While each of them did their best to keep me positive, I could tell they were concerned about me.
When we received my diagnosis, I fought every urge in my body to Google everything and read every horror story. Obviously, my OB recommended against that. So, I made my husband do it for me! Baby A’s placenta was completely covering my cervix and blocking the way out. Any sort of contractions could cause a rupture in his placenta, which could create heavy bleeding resulting in pre-term labor, possible loss of the babies and, in severe cases, death of the mom. No thank you. I asked my husband to give me the bottom line for how we could direct good vibes and prayers. He said, “You’re going to bleed. We are most likely going to end up on bed rest and possibly hospital bed rest. Let’s just hope if/when it happens, it is late in the pregnancy and manageable.”
At 26 weeks, I was grounded at home on modified bed rest. We prayed. We waited. We were scared. It was also hard for people to understand our deep fears. Sure, they were all hypothetical at the moment, but they were also very real to us. We had gone through IVF to become pregnant in the first place and now I felt so fragile and like we could lose all we had hoped for at any moment.
Home bed rest is not easy
The “vacation” mentality lasted a few days, then, I started to go stir crazy. I ended up being on modified bed rest at home for a month. At the time, we had a nearly three-year-old, so we had to hire someone to help me from 7am to 7pm. I was not supposed to lift my daughter. I could leave the couch to pee, shower and go to doctors appointments, but that was it. For a multitasking machine like me, sitting still for hours on end was painful. I wanted to be the one to take my daughter to school, give her a bath and take her to the park. It was so bad I even started to miss doing laundry.
Hospital rest is not really restful
After a month at home, I woke up one morning to discover I was bleeding. The whole drive to the med center, I knew full well that I was going to check in and not leave until our twins were born. I was 30 weeks along and had been hoping to get to 36 weeks before delivery. As much as I didn’t want to take up residence in a hospital, I wanted those kids to bake as long as possible. Living at the hospital took away some of the guilt of not being productive at home, however, new challenges arose. I saw my daughter once a day for a few hours and was very limited with what we could do together from a hospital bed. I spent her entire third birthday crying because I could not attend her party (though my family brought the gifts to my room after so we could at least open them together). My husband was spending all of his time shuttling himself and our daughter around. They ended up moving in with my parents in order to allow him to come visit me in the evenings. He was exhausted.
Hospitals are also not restful places. People wake you up at all hours to give you meds, take your blood pressure and ask you useless questions at 2am. I was hooked up to monitors, IVs, the works. During the first 24 hours they gave me a battery of anti-contraction drugs. They stopped the contractions and as a result my bleeding, but I thought I was going to die. I remember looking at my husband in a daze and telling him if I have to feel like this for the next six weeks, I am not going to make it.
In the end, I spent four weeks staring at the hospital wipe board with my stats. I had two more bleeds during my stay. At 34 weeks and one day, our twins were delivered via a surprisingly calm c-section. They were healthy, but tiny and stayed in the NICU for two weeks to grow. While NICU time is a whole other journey, my husband and I both let out huge sighs of relief that the bed rest was over and we had all successfully survived it.
It’s important to show up
In times of hardship, I believe you find out who your true friends are. They are the people who show up for you. It is the meals, visits and phone calls. People sent me gift cards for Netflix, Hulu and iTunes to stream to my hearts content. And I have never been more thankful to live in the same city as my extended family. People stocked my room with snacks, which also meant my doctors liked hanging around in my room. Our church sent someone daily to visit with me. A friend hired someone to give me a pedicure in the hospital! Sure, I was hooked up to an IV the whole time, but it was still awesome. Others brought crafts and coloring books I could do from bed with my daughter when she visited. When I was given a bit more freedom to move around, I waddled next-door and made a friend for life with a fellow twin mom who went in to the hospital at 23 weeks and stayed there still she delivered at 34 weeks. She was 6cm dilated that whole time and on super strict bed rest. She’s amazing.
I’ll never forget the people who wrapped us in love and kept us afloat during that time period. They were my life-line to the outside world.
If you have been through bed rest personally, then you know all of this already. I salute you and your journey! If you are on bed rest now, then know that while it feels awful to sit there, you are doing the most important job you can do at this moment—keeping your child safe. I promise it will come to an end. If you have a friend who is on bed rest, do her a favor and give her a call or bring her some chocolate. It will mean more to her than you will ever know.
Photo credits: Fotolia/Photographee.eu, Amanda Sorena (2)
Originally Published on Mommy Nearest