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Just Layin' Around - Karen's Musings
Random Rambling
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.

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From: jadesymb Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
mrn613 From: mrn613 Date: March 23rd, 2010 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
one of my guilty pleasures is watching the Real Housewives of NY on Bravo (doesn't hurt that they replay it about 10x week late at night when I am cooking). On this past week's episode, the "housewife" Alex said about another "housewife" Jill's parenting advice: 'this is why I have a chapter in my book called 'Ignore the well-intentioned morons.' " It doesn't sound so funny when I am retyping it (and Alex herself is a well-intentioned moron, at least on the show) but imho well-intentioned morons will always have something to say about anything in life but ignore ignore ignore, getting worked up about it only raises your blood pressure not theirs.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'm not losing sleep over it (and my blood pressure is about 90/50 right now, so nto to worry about my BP, figuratively or literally).
osewalrus From: osewalrus Date: March 23rd, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (Link)
Actually, I could use a few months of sleep -- but it ain't worth all the utter misery you are going through. Still, there are days I fantasize about falling anvils so I can spend a few months in a coma. Probably wouldn't work out as well in real life.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:12 pm (UTC) (Link)
yeah - well, if bed rest were about sleeping in general, I'd be all for it. But if you'd ever been pregnant (I mean, after all, you WERE a woman for a couple weeks/months, right?) you'd know that sleep is elusive in pregnancy.

But yeah - I can understand the liberating power of a few months in a coma.
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 23rd, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
lol, the things people say.

I honestly don't know how you deal with it all, myself.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I get it a lot. "Enjoy that mini-vacation of yours." Hah!

Truthfully, the comment wouldn't have bothered me nearly so much had it not come from a particular person who grates on my nerves anyway. But it makes for good blogging fodder anyway, so it's worth it. :)

As for how I deal with it - I deal with it poorly, haven't you been following along? :)
eyelid From: eyelid Date: March 23rd, 2010 10:00 pm (UTC) (Link)
"Enjoy that mini-vacation of yours." Hah!

On my next vacation, I'm totally getting a PIC line! It's like scuba diving, only even more exotic.

As for how I deal with it - I deal with it poorly, haven't you been following along? :)

lol. You deal with it a heck of a lot better than I would.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 24th, 2010 12:27 am (UTC) (Link)
You haven't truly lived until you've had a PICC line. Or a "Mag Holiday" for that matter.

Admittedly, I could have survived knowing that I hadn't truly lived. :)
lynsaurus From: lynsaurus Date: March 23rd, 2010 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)


I'm sorry you have to deal with well-intentioned but not-well-thought-out comments on top of everything else. Sending warm thoughts and wishing I could send you some relief.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sigh

Honestly, I'm probably over-sensitive to it. But it's just annoying. I know no one has anything but the best intentions. But we all know which road is paved with good intentions.
sethcohen From: sethcohen Date: March 24th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Sigh

The road to hell is actually paved with frozen door-to-door salesmen. In the winter, the younger demons ice-skate on it. - Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman

Hrm. I wonder if it's now paved with frozen telemarketers?
twostepsfwd From: twostepsfwd Date: March 23rd, 2010 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
i friended you a while ago but figured i should introduce myself - we have a bunch of friends and interests in common so i decided to add you, i hope that's ok (if it's not, let me know).

i would never ever in a million years tell someone on bedrest how relaxing it must be - it actually sounds like hell to me. i am so sorry things are going so stressfully with this pregnancy and i will keep you in my prayers for a healthy and easy-as-possible remainder of your pregnancy.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think people assume it's relaxing because they assume it comes along with a freedom of responsibilities at home and at work. But I'm still accountable for my actions, and various responsibilities. I've still got work calling me for the status of projects that were put on hold when I left. I've still got four kids who need me, a house that needs to be ready for Pesach next week, a nanny who has to get paid, insurance companies that need to be harassed.

I'd certainly welcome bed rest if it also meant exoneration from responsibility. But as a mother of four who previously contributed 50% of the household income (and we were struggling to make the bills when I was fully employed!), it's no cake walk. But I do know most people don't realize that without being told.

Anyway, the good news is that no pregnancy is permanent - this too shall pass, thank heavens.
twostepsfwd From: twostepsfwd Date: March 24th, 2010 12:04 am (UTC) (Link)
there's nothing relaxing about worrying about a pregnancy... only less so when it takes you away from your (considerable) family responsibilities. if you'd give me your mishaberach name i will put you on my tehillim list
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 24th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks - it's Esther Chaya bas Sarah
childlight From: childlight Date: March 23rd, 2010 05:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
Reminds me of when I was a kid and jealous that my cousin who was sick was getting all sorts of attention and got to stay home from school and stay in bed. My mom made me read a book with her about sibling cats where one brother was sick with chicken pox and had to stay in bed. The healthy brother was all jealous until he caught chicken pox and realized he would rather be outside playing with his now recovered brother.
I never forgot that lesson.
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 08:36 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a very apt analogy - totally en pointe.

I had a friend who ceased being my friend after my triplets were born. She and I were pregnant at the same time - her with a singleton, me with the triplets. Her baby was born (full-term) a week after my triplets were born (pre-term). She has barely spoken to me since and I'm nearly positive it's because she was annoyed at all the attention we got for having triplets, and for having preemies. Sick, yes. But good riddance, I suppose.
From: atimesif Date: March 23rd, 2010 10:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like this friend is totally clueless.

I view this pregnancy as extreme suffering on your part and that your dedication to growing and raising children will be a great merit for you for many years to come!

I think that because you cope so well (I personally think of you as super-mom!) people under-estimate your suffering. I remember thinking at one point - if there's anyone who can handle this - it's Karen!

BTW, does Julian know that this is not forever? Does he know that it's max two more months? Is he the type to worry about this kind of thing?

After this ordeal is over and you get back to yourself physically then you and your husband need a real vacation!

estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 23rd, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well, yes, she does happen to be totally clueless. Though she's definitely not the only person to have offered that kind of support over all this.

Julian probably knows more than any of us that this isn't forever - since he's been through this with us before. He's taking it all in stride, it seems.

I'm by no means super-mom, but it's good to hear that I've pulled the wool over your eyes at least! :)
thefourthvine From: thefourthvine Date: March 24th, 2010 06:42 am (UTC) (Link)
The people who say "enjoy the bed rest" are, I think, the same people, or at least close cousins to the people who say, to a couple trying to conceive, "At least it's fun trying!" It's the same kind of comment. It's also clearly something people say without thinking. (I had someone tell me "it's sure fun trying, right?" and I'm a lesbian - what did he think we were *doing* to try to get me pregnant? Because IUIs are not all unicorns and cookies, or even orgasms. At least, not in my experience; maybe they kept the Magical Unicorn Orgasm Speculum in the other exam room.)
estherchaya From: estherchaya Date: March 24th, 2010 03:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
You're quite correct - we did so tire of the "at least it's fun trying" speech - even though it was obviously more accurate for us than for you. It wasn't fun in the least. Infertility takes all the romance and spontaneity out of such things.

Obviously no one says these things maliciously or thinks they're being anything but supportive. And it really is MORE important to react to someone's intentions rather than to their specific words, but it's still something I'll blither on about behind their back regardless. ;)
From: atimesif Date: March 25th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC) (Link)
One more comment - you didn't get yourself into this mess.

It's normal to want another child. The hypermesis in your last pregnancy was attributed to the HOM so there was no real reason to expect it again.

In my opinion, G-d got you into this mess.
We just have to try to grin and bare it and make it out alive.
And maybe find some meaning in it.
Won't you really appreciate regular every day life after this!?
I certainly do after I read your posts!
And not only that, you'll appreciate your triplets even more - it only cost you one pregnancy and you got 3 kids. Imagine if your first and second pregnancies were singletons with hypermesis and you'd have decided to stop trying for more. You'd have two kids less!

Anyway, I really don't think that you brought this on yourself although it may sometimes feel like it.

We're rooting for you! Hang in there!
kalki From: kalki Date: March 27th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Pardon my language, but FUCK those people who say that. (spoken from the side of me who spent 15 weeks on *strict* bedrest only to STILL deliver at 29 weeks)

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