On April 16, 2010, I was pregnant with a little boy, my first child. That is the day my water broke.
Normally this would be an exciting time for an expectant mother. For me, it was confusing and terrifying. I was only 22 weeks and 5 days, only a little over half way through my pregnancy. My due date was August 16th.
The hours that followed would change my life forever. Life stopped and everything that I thought was important at the time disappeared as I realized the battle that was being presented to me.
This battle was a physical one yes, but also a mental and emotional one. The doctors told me my baby would die if he was born. There isn’t much hope, so prepare yourself for the worst.
Science and statistics were against me. Most women in my situation go into labor and/or get an infection within the first few days or weeks of their water prematurely breaking. It’s a waiting game. When will it happen? What can I do to prevent it?
They’ll tell you nothing. But they’re wrong.
I lasted 8 weeks in the hospital. Wyatt Robert was born on June 14, 2010 at 7:02am. He weighed 3# 10oz and was 9 weeks premature.
I hope that I can be an encouraging voice to another woman who may be going through any sort of bed rest situation. Below are my thoughts and strategies that helped me cope and persevere through this challenging time in my life.
Be Careful Little Eyes What You See
Maybe someone told you about my story or you were searching about bed rest or PPROM (Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes). Either way, you’re reading this on the internet. The internet is a scary place. With a click of a button you can find out anything you want to know.. about anything! True or not, these “facts” can hurt you if you’re in a high risk pregnancy situation. You tend to read stories about so and so who was through something similar to you. Looking for comfort, you continue searching and reading. After all, there’s nothing better to do when you’re laying around in bed! I’m here to tell you, DON’T DO IT! I can tell you from personal experience these stories usually are not POSITIVE or have HAPPY ENDINGS. You don’t need any more stress or worry than you already have. It’s not going to help you. Part of my reason for this page is because I felt there was a lack of positive support out there.
Make a Decision
You have to lay in bed, so why not make the most of it. Consider it a vacation. A time to be pampered. Pretend you’re at the spa. I know that sounds like ridiculous thinking and might even be offensive to you, but it’s the kind of attitude you NEED to have. You have a choice whether or not to be there.. and you’re choosing to do everything you can for your child. He or She is relying on you. They need you to survive. If you’re upset and emotional, that’s only going to put more stress on your body and complicate things. Open the windows, let the sun light in. Have a friend or family member bring some plants into your room. Make it feel more like home away from home. Bring your own snacks and food. Start a new hobby. Scrapbook. Organize. Knit. Crochet. Read. Get to know your nurses (sorry, you’re stuck with them.. and most of them are really nice too!). Remember, this might be the last “me” time you’ll have for a while.
It really all comes down to your attitude.
If your attitude is screaming: I HATE THIS PLACE, WHY DID THIS HAPPEN TO ME, NOW I CAN’T DO SUCH AND SUCH ANYMORE. Then your time in the hospital is going to suck. You will be miserable. The people around you will start to become miserable. Don’t be an Eeyore. You have been given a gift! A wonderful opportunity! Your baby is still cooking inside of you. Be happy! Everyday is a gift, a day of development for your child. You need to celebrate each day.
Do not let other people with bad attitudes cloud your positive thinking. If your friend had a bad day and feels like complaining, change the subject. If someone is trying to sympathize with you and starts saying things like “it must really suck to be in bed all day”, “wow you really have a long way to go”. Tell them (with a smile) It’s actually not that bad! and say something positive to derail their negativity. Basically, surround yourself with positive people. People who will make you laugh and make you feel better about yourself. It will make a big difference in your experience for the better.
Manage Your Time
I was fortunate enough to be able to work from my hospital bed. Since I’m a graphic designer, all I really need is my computer. I know that’s not the case for everyone. Many women also have a additional children at home, which makes this balancing act even more tricky.
One thing that made my days go by faster was to have a schedule for myself. I worked, so that made it a little easier. This was the basic breakdown of my day:
Wake up for breakfast at 6:45am
Watch TV, catch up on the news etc.
8:30 turn off the TV and get ready for my NST (Non-Stress Test)
After the NST the TV is off until Lunch time and I worked
Lunch came around noon, watched a little TV
TV off again around 1pm
Worked from 1-4
Then I watched my shows, people came to visit etc.
I would try to turn in for the night by 10:00pm
And then it would start over again. I did start to feel like Bill Murry in Groundhog Day. But it did really help to have a schedule during the week.
Then when the weekend came, I watched TV and movies and relaxed a lot. Friends and family visited throughout the day and everything was random. But you know what? That did make it feel like the weekend, not just another day.
One thing I tried to avoid was naps. I really didn’t nap at all during the day because I wanted to sleep really good at night. The thing I didn’t want to do was toss and turn all night.. and worry. Because I know my mind would start to wander and I’d start to think about the unknown.
I suggest anyone that is on bed rest should try to keep some sort of schedule. And don’t rot your brain by watching daytime TV, because it WILL rot your brain.
The Rest of the Story…
Wyatt spent 52 days in the NICU and was on oxygen until October of 2010. He made it through the winter without getting RSV, but did need an inhaler for a short time when he got a cold.
Now he continues to thrive and is in the 87th percentile for his actual age. His Pediatrician is delighted with his progress and development.
Please contact me by leaving a comment below. I would love to share more details about our story or answer any questions.