Karen (estherchaya) wrote,

Just Layin' Around

So here's a hypthetical for you: Suppose you told a healthy, non-pregnant woman (or man for that matter) that she may not get out of bed for four months with the exception of trips to the bathroom and doctor's appointments. Would she think of that four months as being a mini spa vacation? I think not. And would her friends say "oh how relaxing this must be!"? Unlikely. Now, take a pregnant woman and tell her to lay in bed for four months, and only to get up to use the bathroom and go to doctor's appointments. Try adding in constant, painful contractions, frequent vomiting, and pervasive nausea. And what do her friends say to her? "Oh how relaxing that must be!" or "Enjoy it while you can!" or "it must be so nice not to have to go to work/class/the preschool fundraiser/whatever." I'm really not joking.

So I received an email from a friend that went something like this: "As you know, enjoy the bed rest since once the baby arrives - it will be a long time before you'll be able to 'just lay around!'"

Honestly, it took me a good long time to respond to that email.  I know, with absolute certainty, that the email was intended to be supportive.  I know, with absolute certainty, that the author expected the email to be a comfort.  I also know, with absolute certainty, that the author simply had nothing better to say.

So let me dispel some myths for any of you who have never been on doctor-imposed bed rest.  First, let's not lose sight of the fact that I have four children who all have very specific needs.  They are not, at this point anyway, low maintenance children.  Bed rest or not, there's very little "just laying around" that happens in my house.  Even if I'm not up and chasing them (not to say I haven't done my fair share of that), I'm inundated with other things that I have to do.  I have to ensure I've got coverage for them, coverage for Julian, coverage for getting the house together for Pesach, etc.  I have to do contraction monitoring a minimum of twice per day (for an hour each), and often upwards of 4-5 hours per day.    I have to make sure I'm getting my IV fluids and medications on schedule.  I have to spend countless hours on the phone with insurance companies because coverage that should be straightforward isn't (and I doubt the latest healthcare reform bill will help that a bit) and I still have to go to the doctor twice a week.   Never mind that we're in crunch time to figure out Julian's school status for next year, etc.  

And none of that is accounting for the fact that I feel like hell.  I haven't kept down a substantive amount of food or fluids since September.  I'm constantly nauseated and often throwing up, whether I've eaten or not.  I have reflux so badly that I'm literally waking up choking on stomach acid some nights.  I have gestational diabetes and insulin shots to deal with to help regulate that (plus 4-5 times per day of  checking my blood sugar) - and frankly, my screwed up blood sugars leave me feeling even crappier than before.  I have constant headaches since I can't take my preventive medications.  And I'm flat out exhausted (it's hard work growing a whole human).  Mostly?  I feel like hell.    This is hardly a time to "enjoy" myself.  Bed rest is not "restful" and it's not pleasant.  It sucks.

Oh and then there's the emotional side of all of this.  Let's not forget that the whole reason I'm ON bed rest is for preterm labor - so staying on bed rest is, in theory, to help me keep this baby in.  There's a tremendous guilt-factor if I don't manage to keep this baby in through some failure to comply with bed rest.  Yes, I say I want this kid out NOW - but we all know that I'm fully aware of the need to keep this baby cooking for another month or two.    The last thing I want is a month-long NICU stay for this baby.  Especially since I'm not delivering at the hospital five minutes from my house, but instead delivering at the one that's 20-40 minutes away (longer during rush hour, of course).  

Finally - it's not like it's possible to store up on rest and sleep.  Sleeping 12 hours a day now won't make it any easier to get through the sleepless nights that are the hallmark of life with a newborn.  Of course, at least this time, it's ONE newborn, not three, but it's still going to be a while before we're sleeping through the night once this baby comes home, and no amount of sleep now will make that easier later.

I did get myself into this mess.  And I did ask for this (well, I asked for a viable pregnancy, not a complicated viable pregnancy).  But that doesn't make this any more fun.   No one coul have predicted the rollercoaster that this pregnancy has been for our family, that's for sure.  I am grateful to be pregnant.  I will be grateful to meet this child (preferably not for another couple months).  But that doesn't mean I have to enjoy the pregnancy itself.
Tags: #5, bed rest, pregnancy

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