118 days! That is how long I was on bed rest both at home and in the hospital!
The doctors tell you that you are to be on bed rest. Depending on the severity of your “rest”, they give you the parameters for your movement. I was told that I could go to the bath room and take a shower every other day and that was it. They told me how this was going to help the baby and how gravity is not my friend. They told me all kinds of things.
I want to tell you some things that THEY don’t tell you.
Bed Rest is not rest at all.
I admit that when they told me that I would have to lie down and only get up for the necessities, I thought, “Wow!! Finally, some rest!” As a mother of 3 small children, I tried to take my rest where I could. But after about 5 days, the restfulness became restlessness. I got tired of lying down. No matter how many times I turned from side to side and then on my back, I couldn’t get comfortable. My once soft pillow top bed became hard and lumpy and the same time. I was more tired at the end of the day than I had been on my feet.
Bed Rest is stressful.
Life is still going on. The world is still turning. Noses have to be wiped. Homes have to be cleaned. Meals have to be made. Laundry has to be done. Hugs must be given. I found that not being able to do these small things was stressful. The amount of mommy guilt and wife guilt were almost overwhelming. Watching someone else care for my kids, clean my ceiling fans, fold my underwear, and nourish my family made me feel so inadequate. I was so stressed out seeing life unfold before my eyes that I would cheat a little here and a little there. This led to bed rest in the hospital.
Bed Rest is not always understood by those around you.
I would get invites to lunch or women’s meetings. People would ask me why I couldn’t bring the kids to preschool. BR is something that is hard to grasp when you have never experienced it before. I had a hard time understanding what it meant as well. I wanted to get up and have supper with my family or I can just sit here and fold clothes or I can watch a movie with my hubby. I can help my daughter with her home work(at the kitchen table). No, you can’t! In my case, I couldn’t!
Watching TV all the time isn’t as great as it sounds!
I will confess to you that I love TV! I always have and I always will. Don’t ask me to go unplugged for a week. I will mutiny! That being said, during my unfortunate incapacitation, there was nothing on TV. I was on bed rest during the writers’ strike and so all the shows were reruns. I was forced to watch reality shows and I only like a few of those. I did catch up on all the old Cosby Shows that I had missed. I love that show and got quite a few parenting tips from it.
Bed Rest does weird things to your body.
Everything ached! Even my teeth hurt at times. Near the end of my 4 months, I could barely walk down the hall to my room. I was winded and my legs were weak. I had to sit in the shower on a stool in order to bathe. I could only shower for 3 minutes but even for that short amount of a time, I couldn’t stand up and of course, baths were out of the question.
We take life for granted.
Fresh air became a precious commodity. When it became obvious that I was going to be in the hospital for a long time, I made them promise to take me outside at a certain week. It was a reward for lasting so long with broken waters and very little amniotic fluid. I had 5 minutes in a wheel chair in the driveway of the hospital to see the outside world. Tears streamed down my cheeks as the breeze caressed my face. My eyes feasted on the beauty of the mountains and the color of the sky. For weeks, I could only see a brick wall out of my window. On the drive home after having my son, I sobbed at seeing the trees without their leaves and the starkness of the winter’s hand on my town. The smell of my home and the softness of my bed were welcome stimuli.
Bed Rest is filled with heart ache.
My heart broke watching my kids grow up before my eyes without my help. I heard my son call someone else “Mom”. At my daughter’s kindergarten graduation, the video they showed might as well have been one of someone else’s kid. I recognized nothing. I wasn’t there! Christmas morning via SKYPE is just not the same. Each child walked up to the lap top and wished me a Merry Christmas and showed off what Santa had brought. It was just not the same!
Bed Rest brings blessings!
I was able to visit with family and friends that I had not seen in a while. I was able to share my faith with those who were worried. I was able to be an example to my children about how to handle crises in life. I have been able to help others who have to be on bed rest. I have a beautiful son who is healthy despite all the odds against us both. My husband and I are closer than we have ever been. I found out who truly loves my family and me. I found out who my true friends are! I found a community. I found my voice. I began writing during this time and haven’t stopped since.
Try to find the blessings in your situations. Hard times are going to come. How we handle them is the legacy we leave our kids.