surviving bedrest: a how-to

I woke up today thinking about… well, I woke up, thinking about sleeping. But then fairly soon after that, I started thinking about bedrest. I spent the majority of 2005 and 2006 in my bed, coked up on tocolytics. “Egads!” you’re saying. “I had no idea she was a gadabout!” Listen, you. First of all, you’re not British, so knock it off. Secondly, I’m not a gadabout or a rogue, tocolytics are drugs that try to stop people from going into labor. Since I usually go into labor right about when the morning sickness lets up, I needed a lot of them.

Terbutaline pump on my hip
So. I started this blog in July of 2005, because I had diagnosed myself with my 3rd case of preterm labor. My story has sad parts and happy parts, and I’m far enough from the grief now that I can write about it pretty lightly. At the time, my journals read like something you’d read in a college literature course. They were dark and fearful and at times, near suicidal. It was not easy. But I made it through, and I thought I’d talk about it a little, for anyone that might be in a similar spot.

Key 1: Listen to your body. I knew I needed to lay down. My OB questioned if it would help at all, but as I made it week after week with fewer and fewer contractions, she became very supportive. Eventually, labor kicked back up and she grounded me even further.

Key 2: Find peace. I had the blessing of having an in-house musician, the MOG, who quit touring and played the piano all day long. As long as he played and worshipped God, our house and my spirit would be at peace. Find music that soothes you, and don’t watch suspenseful shows or read books that stress you out. You might even have to limit visitors if they cause stress. Think calm, peaceful thoughts. If you start to panic, lay down, take deep breaths, and pray. You can’t control the outcome, but you can try to control your emotions.

Key 3: Don’t borrow trouble. This is not the time to think about how many days you have to lay down, or what the outcome will be for your precious baby. This is the time to embrace this moment, this day, and deal with tomorrow when it comes. Journal and take pictures.

Key 4: Distract yourself. If you’re like me, you have to find a way to kill a couple of months without exerting any real energy. I tell people get Netflix, order library books online (many libraries have a homebound service, but if yours doesn’t, just send someone to pick up your online orders). Next, get a project. I’m the furthest thing from crafty, but I made a quilt by hand while waiting for Brynn. I spent hours a day. When I see that little blanket now, I know it helped her stay in the womb for weeks extra.

Key 5: Take care of yourself. Clean up and change clothes every day. It makes a difference. If you can, get a mini-fridge or cooler by your bed with snacks and drinks. Take the medicine they give you, they gave it to you for a reason.

depressed by Christmas on bedrest

In the end, there are no guarantees. When I did everything I knew to do, and Brynn (my 5th child) was born at 29 weeks, I knew I was done trying to have a complete pregnancy. But even as I went through labor and delivery of my 2 pound daughter, I had the confidence that I really, really tried. I would say now, having been through births and losses, any sacrifice was worth it. It was so worth it.

Next, I might blog to family and friends: how you can help support the bedrester.

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6 thoughts on “surviving bedrest: a how-to

  1. Nakona says:

    I needed this today. I have been having some rough morning sickness, to the extent of not being able to get up and do much to anything. It lets up a little this time of day, but still feel some nausea. It encourages me to remember to take one day at a time, to do something I can focus on besides feeling ill, and remember this beautiful gift that God has given me, a child. So, thank you for encouraging my tired heart 🙂

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  2. I remember this, some of it. A little of it. Though I had no grid for what you were going through at the time. I get it a little better now. You are a hero, Jess. For real. ♥

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  3. katey R says:

    Exactly. All of it. The terb pump on your hip looks all too familiar…and for me, not missed one bit. To the part about not dwelling on how many days or weeks or moments are left, I would also add… "But don't fool yourself either". I was so focused on getting my body to a "safe" week that I convinced myself that if we got to week whatever, all would be fine. Perfect, actually. It has taken a year for me to realize the difference between faith and reckless denial. And of all the stories of loss and pain out there, we got off pretty easy with four months of bedrest and a couple chromosome deletions. I have learned so much from it all. Thanks for sharing your part.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Bedrest is a toughie. Did that for 9 weeks with #4. No VCR, no computers, no cell phones. Some very caring and generous friends helped us a lot, and that was humbling but so needed. So glad you had a good outcome. So did we. I can't imagine how much harder when you're not sure of the outcome. For us, it wasn't as scary (at 31 weeks). Blessings on you and your precious family!!!!Jenn's Mom

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  5. Anonymous says:

    am i supposed to be reading between the lines?fav mil

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  6. Lordy, no. I plan on procuring all my babies through paperwork from here on.

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