Monday, February 6, 2012

What I've learned on bedrest and making it to FULL TERM!

I've been thinking about this post for the past couple of weeks. Here I stand with one day left before my cerclage (suture that is holding my cervix closed) is removed, and most of my restrictions are removed and I am still struggling with the best words to express all that I have learned during this pregnancy and especially during bed-rest. When I blog, sometimes the words just flow from me especially if I have a passionate moment or it is something light and easy. Other times especially if it is really important to me, I just don't seem to have the right words.

I thought to lighten this post up though I would include some pictures from our nursery. It is one of the many things that in the 2nd pregnancy 'do over' that I am so happy about. And to sit here "READY" and willing to have this baby come and enjoy all that we have prepared for her is a completely different world than we had with Kate.
Obviously though if you've followed this blog, you know that it hasn't been an easy road. Really, this has been a very long hard almost 10 months. I knew when I was pregnant right away, and in honesty I have been worried about another pregnancy since I had my first. So for the last 2 1/2 years, this pregnancy and the outcome has been on my shoulders to some degree. When I got pregnant the worry only increased, and then we our way to the 24 week mark.

I mostly kept thinking that there was no way that I could face the NICU and having a micro-preemie again. I just didn't think that I had the strength to do it, and more over would our outcome be as good as it was with our first daughter. The what-if's, the memories, and the emotions that were still there just kept bubbling up with every week. The closer to the time I went into the labor the worse it was. And then, came the need for the cerclage at 23 weeks. Bedrest for the rest of my pregnancy, and all the complications that came along with it.
With 15 weeks of bed-rest what did I learn from it all? I feel it would be sad to walk away from all this time, nearly 4 months and not take a moment to reflect and say what did I learn from it all? How has this made me a better person? There are a million small things that I learned and were granted from this hard experience but for me it boils down to two main things.

1) The most valuable thing you can give anyone is your time.
2) If nearly everything you've known in the world is stripped away, could you be happy? Try it and remember what you learned.

The first lesson may seem obvious. But I don't think that it really is or that people fully appreciate it. I know I didn't. We went to great efforts, rearranging our lives so that I could give my daughter time. My hours of sitting and doing nothing, was not easily accomplished for anyone in our family or our lives. But, as we know each day or week can mean the difference of life or death to an unborn child. Odd and almost counter intuitive in our society that doing nothing beyond being present could be the most important thing one could do for their and their childrens health.

That isn't all that I mean from this lesson though. I learned that what I needed most from other people was their time. Everybody wanted to bring me something, do something for me, fix some part of this mess. What I needed and enjoyed most was their time. I enjoyed their conversation, their calls to check in on me, and just somebody to help pass all the time I had. To hear about their normal lives, to play a game, to enjoy a show with me. Those are the things that most of us are just too busy for. Or we try to do something, make a dessert and drop it off saying that they need to rush to another errand and run out the door about as soon as we came. Having been on this side of a condition, I can tell you this just slow down! Sit down, have a cup of tea when somebody offers it and connect with them. I don't think they need to be in crisis either, under the surface there is probably something they want to talk about.

I do wish I could have learned this lesson another way, but I am glad that I got this extra time with myself and my family. I need to read my own words in 6 months and then again a year later to remind myself (Queen of the Rush), how important it really is to slow down and enjoy everyone around you and that could mean not doing anything at all but giving them your time.

The second point, may seem dramatic and over-done but I would defend it and say it happens to more people than we would like to think about. Life is very fragile, and the reality is you never know what tomorrow is going to bring. It is nice to think that once you get over one challenge you will have it easy for awhile, but the fact is that you don't have that type of control over your life.

I was an extremely active, type A, working mother. Being made to sit by myself day after day was extremely hard. I am used to running 20-30 miles a week, taking care of most of our families responsibilities, working a very challenging and physical job. With one doctors visit, that was all done (though I had been scaling back for the entire pregnancy, and no running since I got pregnant). My days suddenly got very long and still. After a few weeks of doing this, which seemed to put my mood and body into pain and depression I was also place on a very strict diet. As well, there were days when I couldn't even sit up because the pain was just too much. Often if we tried to even go to families for a visit, I would be too painful and it would end our visit.

And this went on for weeks, months even. So, how do you stay happy? How do you still find some joy in your day? I have to say it is a very large challenge. One that I think some do much better than myself. Those that live with chronic illness, injuries or handicaps that they will never be free from or simply those that have aged and this is the reality of their lives.

My challenge was to not have my physical abilities and releases, my sugar, and sometimes not even have my own emotions or physical well-being and still be happy. First thing you notice over time, is just your health becomes one of the most important things to your day. You appreciate and find joy in sleeping through the night, being able to eat something, and not needing to go to doctor is a huge accomplishment in a day. Next you realize you have time, and freedom to do something. You can think of everything you can't do, or you can come up with something that you can do. Read, craft, watch the fish swim in the tank, call a friend. This takes effort, but in the long run better than just sitting and thinking of what you can't do.

And then of course, it goes back to the first lesson give others your time. Call a friend, write somebody a card, go on-line and give somebody some support that is also in a hard situation. Talk with your family, which is really one of the anchors to my happiness. Even with all the other things gone, I had my family and pets with me. I knew that I would see them at least for a few hours in the day, and that made me happy.

I did not succeed at this every day, I would guess that I did it over 50% of the time. It is hard, as the lessons that you need to learn often are. I am proud of surving this time, and I look forward to adding back some of my old favorite joys (running here I come!). I do know though, that my abilities, physical and mental well being as well as those of friend and family are limited and out of our control. Which means, I also now know that with a bit of work and vision we can get through it and enjoy it.


  1. I love this! I'm crying! I'm so happy for you. Tomorrow marks Italy. Welcome.

  2. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEE! This is so exciting! I can't wait to see pictures of your beautiful baby girl and watch as your family grows!!! Congrats!

  3. Congrats on getting to full-term!!