The ups and downs of bed rest

bed bedroom blanket comfort
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As a result of complications at 28 weeks 4 days into my pregnancy, I was admitted to hospital due to a short cervix.  The following a week I was discharged on bed rest.  What that entails is no prolonged walking, moving, working, lifting, cooking or cleaning.  Literally, rest!

Although some may perceive this as an extra vacation, it really isn’t.  It can make some women feel isolated and depressed, perhaps defeated.   It’s a double edged sword- although it is difficult not being able to do anything or go anywhere, its for the baby’s best interest.

Recent studies have shown that bed rest has no effect on pregnancy, despite the fact that many mothers with complications in pregnancy report that going on bed rest has indeed prolonged their pregnancies.  In my own case, the doctors thought I would not make it to 32 weeks however here I am at 36 weeks 2 days.  I have made it further along this pregnancy than I did with my son and I too believe it has to do with bed rest.  As one doctor explained to me, placing restrictions on my activities (no cooking, no working, lifting or cleaning) takes off a huge stress from my body.  Stress on a woman during pregnancy can cause complications such as pre term labour, so going on bed rest does make sense.

Despite all the ups and downs I have experienced with this pregnancy, going on bed rest was the best thing for the baby.  Even though I can’t go anywhere or do anything, I basically had to find “simple things” to do within my restrictions.  Here are some of my ideas I want to share with you if you are on bed rest:

  1. Netflix (or the equivalent to) – this is a great opportunity to catch up on some of your favourite shows or movies.
  2. Pinterest planning – despite the fact I can’t go out to stores and buy things for the new baby,  I can certainly plan baby’s nursery or going home outfit with the help of Pinterest.  I have created idea boards such as “nursery”, “hospital bag” and “post partum” wear on Pinterest.  Thank goodness for online shopping and home delivery to help make these boards come to life!
  3. Online shopping – enough said.  I have done a lot of online shopping since I have been on bed rest (sorry hubby!)  So far I have purchased the following: new sleepers and onesies for the baby, going home outfit for baby and myself, toiletries, cosmetics, nursing bras and tops, a double stroller, even storage furniture and table and chairs for my son’s playroom (which hubby put together!)
  4. Organizing your washroom – Every now and then I tend to hoard beauty and bath products and sometimes they just accumulate in my washroom.  I took a day and sat down in my washroom and went through all my cosmetics, beauty and bath products and organized them and things that were empty or not used I threw out.
  5. Read – since returning to work from my last mat leave, I haven’t had the time to pick up a book.  Since I’ve been off I read the Nest and I am now starting The Girl on the Train.  I have also gone through two editions of Vogue and In Style, 1 edition of Lou Lou, Elle US, Elle Canada, and Fashion magazine.
  6. Visitors!  Its always nice to have visitors come by.   People sometimes feel as if they are intruding.  Believe me, you are not!   I appreciated any visitor because I haven’t been in the outside world since mid-July and its feels better to socialize with people.  From my experience thus far, any visitor that came by took away that feeling of isolation, which can make some women feel depressed. If you have a friend who is on bed rest, now is the time to visit them.
  7. Crafts – lots of women on bed rest take up some sort of craft while on bedrest (such as crocheting).  I am not a crafty person though so I did not partake in this activity.  I did create a tassel garland (thanks Pinterest) for my son’s second birthday!  My husband went to the Dollar Store and picked up all the materials I needed to create that garland.
  8. Journal about the baby or start a baby book – as I did for my son, I created a baby book and planned to do the same with baby #2.  This was the perfect opportunity to start it and in there I have all the baby’s ultrasounds thus far and even included my hospital tag from my recent hospital stay.
  9. Blog!  I started this blog while on bed rest as I have a passion for writing.  Perhaps this is a good time for you to blog about a topic you are passionate about.
  10. Home spa – If you can’t walk far to get your own mani/pedi, you can certainly do one at home.  Take some time out of your day to pamper yourself and lay in a nice warm bath, or place a face mask on and give yourself a mani/pedi.  Believe me, once the baby arrives you won’t have time to do this.

A pregnancy after a preemie

Like any married couple, my husband and I always wanted to start a family.   We always dreamed of having a large family and wanted four kids.  Our dreams came true when we found out that we were becoming parents in late February 2014.

The baby’s due date was October 17th, 2014.  As you could imagine, my husband and I were over the moon.  Of course with all this excitement also meant planning:  we looked for names, we started setting up the nursery, created a baby registry and started planning a baby shower.  Everything seemed perfect and I had a normal, text book pregnancy.  Life couldn’t be any better as things were going according to plan.  However at 28 weeks and 5 days gestation, a turn of events would change our lives forever…

I woke up for work at my usual time and started contracting but I did not know it.  I was in a huge amount of pain and left my office within an hour.  Later that morning, the pain worsened and I started to bleed.  My husband frantically drove me to hospital.  We found out that I was going into premature labour.  By the time we reached hospital, I was 10 cm dilated and it was too late to do anything.  Within minutes, I was rushed to the OR and gave birth to a beautiful but tiny baby boy.  Following a 65-day NICU stay, our son came home healthy.  To this day we do not know why I went into labour so early as up until that point I had a normal pregnancy.  Despite all of this, our son is doing very well and is your typical two-year old.

I am sure you are wondering if I wanted to have another child after all what we have been through.  A premature birth is in itself a traumatic experience and many parents who go through a premature birth do not want to have any more children.  I told myself that I wanted to be the exception to the rule; that I could and will have a full-term pregnancy after having a preemie.  I wanted my son to have at least one sibling to share and make memories with.  I also wanted to give myself another chance to experience something that was robbed from me and that was a third trimester.

In early February 2016, my husband and I were ecstatic to find out that we were expecting our second child. My due date is October 3rd, 2016.  Early on I was referred to a high-risk OB and started the appropriate monitoring and treatment.  Every week I would be given a shot of progesterone (not fun) and every two weeks my cervix would be monitored (even less fun).  I am not going to lie, as happy as I was when I found out that I was expecting again, a part of me was also very terrified.  The chances of giving birth prematurely were now 15 percent as I had a premature birth before.  Although I knew that I was going to be closely monitored, this time around I wanted to make sure that nothing would be overlooked.  I was a bit of a hypochondriac in a sense where some may have thought I took things too seriously.  But after my previous experience, who wouldn’t feel that way as well?

photo of pregnant woman standing behind the tree
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Things were going well until I fell ill at 28 weeks and 3 days with severe nausea and upset stomach symptoms.  I went to the OB triage where they kept me overnight for monitoring in fears that I may become dehydrated.  That morning, I was sent for ultrasound which uncovered that my cervix significantly shortened and that I was 50 percent effaced.  Luckily it was still closed.  I was then immediately sent to the antenatal unit where I spent a week in monitoring.  The team wanted me to make it to at least 32 weeks where premature infants have minimal to no risk of mortality, disability and disease.  This time around, I was given steroid shots to help baby’s lungs develop in case of an early arrival.  For the remainder of the week, I was limited in terms of mobility and basically spent the whole week watching Property Brothers.  The following week, things had stabilized and my cervix lengthened where the team felt comfortable sending me home on bed rest.

I am happy to report that I am as of today 32 weeks!  Last Thursday I found out that my cervix is still closed and lengthened again.  I just want to keep this baby cooking!!!  As hard as it is being on bed rest, this is the best thing for the baby for now.  Although some days I feel like I am walking on egg shells, I have to maintain a positive mind and hope for the best.  Prayer has certainly helped.  For that I have my loving husband and family to thank, as well as the tremendous amount of support and care from my doctors as well as my friends. Whatever the outcome will be, I do believe that things will be alright.