My second pregnancy was like night and day from my first pregnancy – I stayed active and worked out almost daily, I maintained a healthy and balanced diet, and I actually felt GOOD while pregnant! While there were definitely some differences to this pregnancy that weren’t so great (OMG the morning sickness!), overall I just took better care of myself the second time around – I didn’t have time not to with a 2-year-old running around!
Everything was pretty good until I hit 31 weeks… After some calls to my doctor’s office and two separate visits to triage at the hospital for low pelvic pressure and pain, I was hospitalized for 48 hours for preterm labor symptoms, and then sent home on strict bed rest and meds to keep my uterus from contracting. No getting out of bed except to use the bathroom and for brief showers (and even still I was supposed to sit on a shower stool).
All of a sudden, I was no longer active, working, and chasing after my toddler. Rather, I was confined to my bed and the four walls of my bedroom. Other people had to bring me food and drinks, and I couldn’t really be left alone for long. Every time I stood or moved around I would feel contractions start and terror would set in.
The hardest part, though, wasnot being able to care for my son the way I was used to. He was used to his mommy running around with him, sitting on the floor to build block towers, and taking him on adventures, and now he had to comprehend rather quickly that Mommy couldn’t do much of anything except sit in bed.
The good news (and I know how lucky I am) is that, after 6 weeks of bed rest and medication, I was able to stop the meds and start moving around because we had made it to 37 weeks. The pregnancy journey didn’t end there, but that is a story for a later post…
As I’ve said in previous posts, I’m a girl who loves her research, so what else was I going to do when I was stuck in bed but research what pregnant women do when they’re stuck in bed. Lemme tell ya, there isn’t a whole lot out there! I felt pretty lost in my own emotions and just wanted to find information and others who had been through the same situation. Alas…
Here are my 3 key tips for surviving bed rest:
LEARN HOW TO ASK FOR HELP.
My husband and I joked that this was our daughter’s way of making sure we were in a really solid place in our relationship before she was born because, A. we were constantly together and going through some pretty intense stuff, and B. our communication skills had to be on point to be able to get through it. I am a pretty particular person (dare I say persnickety), and I had to learn how to ask for things very clearly and directly without sounding bossy and demanding. You’ll feel better and a tiny bit more like yourself when you aren’t eating something you don’t like just because you feel bad that someone else made it for you.
AFTER YOU ASK FOR HELP, ACCEPT IT.
When you are stuck in bed because moving around may endanger your unborn child, it is no time for pride or feeling like you might be putting someone out. My husband and my mom were my primary babysitters (luckily my husband and I are both teachers and this ordeal happened at the beginning of summer break), and they were both right there the entire time for me and for my son. Although I felt SUUUUUUPER guilty constantly asking for more water or for a snack (because although you’re inactive, you’re still pregnant and therefore have the appetite of an NFL linebacker) or for someone to grab the Apple TV remote that I dropped off the bed again, the guilt subsided after a few days. This wasn’t me being lazy or indulgent – I had just spent two days in the hospital on some pretty gnarly drugs and was stuck in bed to make sure the baby stayed in as long as possible. My job was simple – keep cooking that baby girl. All the other stuff could be taken care of by virtually anyone else, but this only I could do.
MAKE YOURSELF A BED REST SURVIVAL KIT.
I quickly figured out the things I needed at arm’s reach so that I could have some semblance of independence while on bed rest. The highlights of this list include —- Not only did having these things around help me feel a bit more like an actual adult, they relieved some of the need for my mom and my husband to constantly check and see if I needed anything… Except water. I always needed more water. Check out my full list of Bed Rest Survival Kit items in this post!
While I wouldn’t wish 6 weeks of bed rest on anyone, I will say that some positive things came out of my experience. I took the time to really check in with myself and look at my priorities. The old adage that you find out who your friends truly are in times of struggle always proves true, and I reconfirmed that I have some amazing people in my life who supported me and my family.
My bed rest story had a very happy ending, but it got pretty dicey for a minute there in the very beginning, and I hope that this helps someone else out there channel their fear and know that they can weather pregnancy bed rest.
If you or someone you know is on pregnancy bed rest, please pass this post along with my warmest and most positive thoughts. If you’ve been on bed rest and have tips to add, please comment below!