The Best of Bed Rest

bedrest.bmpOur beloved writer Jules is marching (well, not exactly…) her way through the last trimester of her pregnancy with her first child. Today, she shares tips to survive bed rest:

“In my 33rd week of pregnancy, I went into preterm labor. It was terrifying, and in hopes of calming everything down, I was put on bed rest. For some people, being told to lie in bed all day is a dream come true (once you get past the fear and worry about the health of your little munchkin), but for me, it was a nightmare. As an athlete, I had been keeping up my five days a week at the gym regimen and was up and walking around for much of the day at my job at the hospital. Truth be told, I was marginally happy to have a reason to stay put; I was getting exhausted. I had fleeting fantasies about lounging around, watching TV and movies, poring over my cooking magazines, and perusing the Internet.

However, these fantasies were short lived and the reality is that now, after only my second week of bed rest, I am looking for any reason to get up. But I know this bed rest will be worth it, so I am creatively looking for ways to be purposeful and maintain human contact with those other than my wonderful, patient husband, who listens to be blab about nothing for an hour every night when he gets home. There is some reprieve now, as I’ve been granted the right to do housework (when have I ever been so grateful to clean the bathroom?!) and do short errands. However Draconian as this feels, I must remember that I am still officially on bed rest and have rules to live by. My own personal rule is to not turn on the television before 4pm (3pm if I’m desperate). Otherwise, here are some things that have made being home bound more bearable:

  • Get out of bed: I know, I know this is BED rest. But get out of bed, shower if you’re able, and move to a different location. The bed is for sleeping, so move to the couch or a chair (if you’re allowed to sit up). Set yourself up with everything you’ll need.

  • Open the shades/windows: It’s bed rest, not prison. Fresh air is a blessing.

  • Get organized: While you can’t necessarily organize the nursery, find things that you are able to do from your position. Straighten out your checkbook, your bills, your scrapbook, your address book, etc. I spent five hours one day doing all my thank you cards.

  • Read up: With the vast array of baby books, there seems to never be enough time to absorb all of the information we’re being given. Take this time to read the books you’ve been waiting to read. I recommend The Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp, Secrets of the Baby Whisperer by Tracy Hogg, and Your Baby's First Year by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

  • Find a hobby: Now is the time to pick up something you’ve wanted to learn. I’ve just started crocheting (well, I have the yarn and the book) and I am happy to have the time to do it. Use this time to practice old hobbies as well. Though I can’t get up and cook, I have been working on numerous new recipes to test out as soon as I can get back in the kitchen. Write, read a book, knit, do crosswords, paint by numbers.

  • Online shop: I know this isn’t great advice; we should be saving money since soon, our little one will drain us of all funds. However, the Internet is just an amazing resource and the options are endless. Look for nursing clothes, baby clothes, post baby clothes (!), holiday or birthday gifts, or nursery accessories.

  • Stretch: First, check with your doctor. If he/she gives you the thumbs up, take a few minutes to move to the floor and stretch out your neck, arms, and, if you’re able to, your legs. Research shows that people on total bed rest struggle with higher rates of both depression and blood clots, so move in whatever ways you can; every movement counts.

  • Reach out and touch someone: Perhaps this falls under “Find a hobby,” but reconnecting with old friends is a good way to spend your time in a positive way. This is a great time to catch up with family and friends via email or, since time is not a commodity these days, the old fashioned way; everyone loves to receive a letter.

  • Document: Now is the perfect time to start your baby book or to write in a daily journal as you wait for the special arrival.

  • Accept help: Hopefully your friends and family are supportive enough to not jettison the country when you need them the most. Accept the lasagnas and offers to do laundry while you can. The pressures on your significant other inevitably will add up, and any help you can get might alleviate the stress it could cause you two.

  • Don’t let anyone tell you to “enjoy it”: Am I too spiteful? This advice makes me wince every time I hear it. No one enjoys being told what to do – bed rest is no exception. Do enjoy the opportunity to rest and the opportunity to be waited on, but don’t accept this frustrating advice. People who say this have no idea how hard it is so hear, and from one bed rester to another, it’s okay to not enjoy it; just try to make the best of it. And always remember: in the end, it’s going to be well worth getting those couch imprints in your behind!"

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