I have no desire to be overly dramatic from the gate, so I think it best to spend part one speaking about bed rest as plainly as possible.
First, bed rest is tiring; an oxymoron considering the word “rest” is in the term. Here’s a breakdown of an average day:
After battling intermittent insomnia throughout the previous night, I roll over to make sure my husband wakes up on time for work. Not only does he have to get himself ready for a full day, but he’s been given the task of setting me up for the day: fixing breakfast and lunch, any hygienic needs I have, going over the to-do list for after work errands, etc. He also takes care of our cat before work (cleaning litter box and feeding him). After he leaves, I spend some quiet time either reading the Bible or a devotional book on my Kindle or at my bedside. Considering the apartment is eerily quiet, I play music to make our tiny bedroom feel “lively”. After mid-morning, I feel the 3 hours of sleep, obtained the night before, begin to catch up with me, and I allow myself to drift off to sleep. Waking up from this nap is awful, because I feel a mix of guilt and lethargy. Looking over at the clock, it usually reads 11:30 am. I eat lunch and look over my to-do list. This usually consists of studying (I take online classes), reading/writing, and Facebook. I’ve figured out that Facebook has peak times when a high number of users are logged on, the strongest usually after 3:30 pm. So here I am, switching between surfing for new fan pages and finally looking at posts/videos I’ve been tagged in.
This only takes up about an hour, which is when I begin to feel a feeling I can only describe as mild panic mixed with fatigue. It is certainly an odd feeling. My cat can be welcome company, but he sleeps next to me most of the day. I hear the sounds of the streets outside, blustering with activity and the day-to-day hustle that I remember all too well. I look around our bedroom and immediately see six things that can be done/organized, only I am not allowed to leave my bed.
Granted, sometimes, on my way to the bathroom, I will sneak and pick up my husband’s socks and throw them in the hamper. But I won’t go into too much detail on that…for fear that I’ll incriminate myself (lol)
On bad days, and there are plenty of them, I run out of things to do. And I succumb to the panicky fatigue. This usually ends in frustrated tears and me falling asleep out of exhaustion. I’m woken up by either a text message from a friend or my husband calling me while driving home from work. It is now 3:45 pm.
A large part of me is relieved he’s coming home, because that means 2/3 of the day is over, I will have the peace of his company to lean on. Another part of me, however, is guilty, because I feel like I’ve completely wasted my day. And my wonderful husband will come home with me in the same state he left me in: wrinkled pajamas, frizzy hair in a messy ponytail, achy from being in bed, and both eager and wary to engage in normal, human conversation. I’m afraid my tired eyes and dry creases on either side of my mouth are dead giveaways that today was not a good day. To make matters worse, I now have a person, made of flesh and blood, to bounce off my emotions. This can be good or bad. I will either experience elation and humor, pouring out story after story of my thoughts or observations of the day. Or, I will be resentful, moody, and bored, desiring to express it AT him, rather than to him. On those bad days, I am angry at the fact that he is tired from working outside the home. I am angry that he was able to be out in the sunshine or the rain (whatever), drive across central Virginia’s countryside to the small middle school where he works, and connect with people. It may take the form of me being disappointed that he forgot to get me M&Ms after work like I’d asked him to, but it’s rarely about the M&Ms.
The sacrifice can become so magnified. I battle constant reminders of my boundaries and inabilities. From missing out on church services to going out with my friends. I cannot take out the trash or make love to my husband. I don’t feel like I am adequately preparing for my daughter’s birth, even.
It sounds silly, I know, but these are my bad days.
Good days are always Naomi-focused.
I spend intentional time rubbing my belly and talking to her. I will nap, but quickly counteract negative emotions I feel before or afterwards. I am able to remember what it’s all for. I sing and talk aloud like someone is always there with me, because there is. She’s here. God’s here. I’m never alone.
You would think that she would feel lonely, being entrapped in a dark place for months, surrounded by mostly unfamiliar sounds and sights. But she isn’t. She feels safe and content here and the only thing she requires other than the basics is to hear her parents’ voices. Those are the voices she will respond to once she’s born. She’ll reach for us and smile at our sound. She’ll cry when some time goes by without us. Now, she is resting up for her big entrance, trusting that the time will be right when it happens. She is present. Already, my little one is teaching me. On good days, I allow her to teach me. And, I allow her to need me.
I adopted a mantra a couple of weeks ago: “If I stay put, then you’ll stay put. That’s our deal.”
Please, do not misunderstand me: bed rest is awful. There isn’t any real research that exists that says it ensures a longer pregnancy. Some doctors even say that the risks outweigh the benefits (e.g. blood clots, depression, weight gain, etc.). Most assuredly, it is one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life so far. The ONLY thing keeping me sane is the fact that I am still pregnant today. Today my unborn child will experience two less days in NICU.
…today, I am a mom.