Bed rest is poorly named. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that is restful about it. Before experiencing it first hand, I was guilty of thinking it would actually be a treat to spend a few weeks of pregnancy on the couch having nothing else to do but watch my favorite movies and flip through my favorite magazines. What I failed to realize was just how terrifying, fearful and isolating bed rest really is (must be). Imagine spending months on end either in your bed or on the couch. You could only get up (or sit up) to go to the bathroom or eat. Everyday seems the same. You cannot visit friends for lunch or enjoy a latte at your favorite coffee shop. You cannot go outside for a short stroll to clear your head. Does this still sound like rest? A retreat? I know people mean well when they say things like, “well enjoy this time because when the baby comes you’ll wish you had it back.” Bullshit! I would much rather deal with a crying infant that keeps me up all night than to have to endure another month of this. I haven’t been outside since last week! My doctor’s appointments are the only time I leave the house. I haven’t breathed fresh air since then and I have no idea how cold it is outside. I would give anything for a shitty commute into work! It feels odd not to be “among the land of the living”. I feel like my days don’t have a purpose. There is nothing else or no one else that I would go through this for except my child (and maybe Jim- although I cannot think of a reason I’d ever have to do bed rest for him). If someone from Publisher’s Clearing House burst through my door and offered me a million dollars in exchange for going through bed rest again I would turn it down in a heartbeat!
Before this experience I did not have a birth plan. My “plan” was to show up to the hospital with my husband and go with it. My goal wasn’t to try to go all natural nor was it to go the medicated route. I just wanted to flow with labor and trust my instincts. If I was laboring just fine with breathing and yoga moves- then I’d continue. If, as labor progressed, it felt like someone poured gasoline on my crotch and threw a match at it, then I planned to have no reservations about asking for “the good stuff”. I didn’t want to have everything mapped out in my head and then have to take another path. I want (and wanted) my birth experience to be as enjoyable as something like this can be.
If I’m able to carry our daughter to term (37 wks) I will have spent almost 3 months on bed rest. I consider this time as my labor because, for me, it has been just that. I spend about 80 percent of my day in pain. My hips ache because of the inactivity. If it’s not my hips it is my head or legs or neck. One of the side effects of the medication I take to prevent contractions are horrible headaches. On top of that throw in the on and off pressure and fear related to trying to do everything in your power to keep your baby in, safe and alive. This was a very real fear for me at the beginning of bed rest. There is nothing restful or peaceful about the possibility of delivering a baby at 26 weeks gestation! It was mental agony and this has been the most challenging experience, physically and mentally, that I have had to face to date. I would not wish this on my worst enemy! Wait, no, that was a lie. THIS, this is actually what I WOULD wish on my worst enemy. This is why I’m counting this as my labor with this baby. It has been a labor of love, but it HAS been a labor nonetheless. I am done, finished, waving the white flag!
My birth plan now involves an epidural. Even if I wanted to, I feel I no longer have the mental or physical strength to manage labor without it. I’m so out of shape that just walking to the bathroom from the couch leaves me winded. I often times have to cradle my stomach to support the weight of it because my back muscles can no longer do the job. Sexy right? I know. During the mid-point of this pregnancy when I was able to do prenatal yoga at least 3 times a week, I felt strong. I felt powerful and my body felt like it could handle the pain of labor without medication if I chose to do it that way. That’s no longer the case. I know this in my core. In all honesty, even if by some miracle I could, I’m not sure I want to anymore. I’m over the pain associated with this pregnancy. I want to be able to enjoy bringing our little girl into the world. I want it to be the light at the end of this LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG journey. I think not being able to feel anything below my waist during labor and delivery will greatly help bring about this peace thankyouverymuch! I have made the best decision for me and I’m at peace with that. I’m looking forward to the baby experience and I don’t so much care HOW she gets here, just as long as we’re both healthy and safe at the end of it all.
In a few short weeks when Jim and I show up at the hospital to bring our baby girl into the world, my question to the first staff member I see won’t be, “where is labor and delivery?”, but “point me in the direction where I can get me one a’them epiduralmagigies. I’m gonna need one, stat!”
Until next time. xo