Two words that literally encapsulate my own personal definition of hell. Bed bound. Couch bound. No exercise. No activities. No outings. No life. I have been put on bed rest for essentially the remainder of my pregnancy: for the next six weeks or until my condition stabilizes and improves.
I had initially typed up a whole novel, describing what happened - not in extensive detail, but the post got lengthy anyway. To spare you the boring, medical heavy read, I started to go into preterm labor. My contractions were painless, but I did have "back labor" that was INDEED painful. These painless contractions (called Braxton Hicks... Until you start to have them ten minutes apart) even started to dilate me so that this little 30 week gestation babe would come out. No no no!
Thankfully, my midwives were able to assess my situation and give me some tools to stay out of a hospital and keep this baby in and cookin' for a while longer. Best rest is a surprisingly controversial topic and medical practice. It's not my or my midwives goal to keep me on this obnoxious path; but drastic measures had to be taken to stop my body from going into labor, relax my muscles (including that big bully of a muscle, the uterus!), and get things back on track to having a full-term baby. I have another appointment in two weeks to reevaluate how things are going, and there is a chance I could have some of my restrictions lifted. Then again, I potentially could stay on this path for a full six weeks. Exercise (at least, in the forms that I'm used to) are O-U-T until 37 weeks when I'm full term and baby boy can safely enter the world, but that's ok with me. I'd be happy with the ability to leave the house at this point!
I've now been on bed rest for two days. Oddly, it's FLOWN by. The truth is, I was feeling really, really crappy. With the nonstop rest, I'm actually starting to feel normal again! Go figure. I have to be horizontal (i.e. laying on a bed or couch), but am allowed a "two hours on, two hours off" ratio where I can get up and shower, make a quick meal, and stay seated/upright long enough to eat it and put my dishes in the dishwasher. So, it could be worse! I really believe in finding the positive and bright spots in a bad situation, so this is exactly what I'm drop-to-my-knees-thankful for right now:
- I'm writing this from my bed, not from a NICU. I'm feeling my 30 week old son move inside me, not staring at him wiggle and struggle to breathe in an incubator. He's still exactly where he should be and still getting exactly what he needs to make a successful entrance into the world.
- I'm not in a hospital with synthetic drugs running through my veins in attempts to stop a preterm labor AND I get brief periods of time throughout the day to get up and move! (I'm technically on a hybrid of modified and strict bed rest.)
- There's a chance I won't have to spend the remainder of my pregnancy on bed rest! If things have improved at my next appointment, I'll likely be able to incorporate light daily activities back into my day with scheduled rest time. I'm very encouraged that even in the short time I've been on bed rest, my contractions have DRAMATICALLY decreased - what I used to experience in an hour, I'm not even having in a 24hr full day. This is promising! At my next apt, I'll be 32 weeks and having multiple, painless contractions a day will officially be in the "normal zone." Yay!
- I have some amazing friends and family. Friends who have gone "on call" in case I need anything, and family who volunteered to fly to Dallas immediately or upon me/my husband's request to help out. Seriously, we lucked out with some great people in our lives.
- I got to spend what could be my last "baby free, bed rest free" weekend with my sister! We took AMAZING maternity shots, went to lots of yoga and ate good food. I have a lucky habit of going out with a bang (my husband and I took a weekend trip to New Orleans; two days after returning we found out about our surprise pregnancy!) and this was no different. Excellent :)
- All MAJOR baby preparations are done. He has all his furniture ordered and it will start to trickle in over the coming weeks; all important gear (i.e. car seat) is already in our home; registries are created; most new born necessities bought, etc. Any remaining things I need can be bought online and shipped to my front door, and I can use my two hours of "up time" to organize the nursery. THANK GOODNESS.