June 19, 2012

The Control Freak's Guide to Surviving Bed Rest

Bed rest in any form is frustrating. Especially if you're like me and tend to be on the move pretty much all the time. If I'm not multi-tasking at home (laundry, cleaning, writing, playing with the boys, etc.) we are out and about running errands or attempting fun activities to keep the boys little minds stimulated.

Luckily, my situation so far has been more of a precautionary one calling for "modified bed rest". Nothing too stringent but just annoying enough that I can't tend to my ever-growing to-do list. But I've experienced bed rest with each of my pregnancies and being the list maker and control freak that I am, I had to take a deep breath and go to plan B. Enter the...

Surviving Pregnancy Bed Rest
Let's face it, you are going to need to consolidate and re-prioritize. Plant flowers outside? Steam clean the carpets? Scrub the toilets? In the grand scheme of things, these just aren't important. Add them to the "after the baby is here" list or maybe even the "ask a friend or family member to do" list. Only focus on the things that NEED to be done.
Once you've narrowed down your to-do list, you need to then learn to hand over the reigns to your spouse. Sometimes giving up that control is difficult. I know I have a particular way of doing things and very rarely ask for help. But when on bed rest, you'll NEED the help. There is no getting around it. While Ricky may not do things how I would do them, I have got to trust that his way is more than good enough. Who knows, he may actually enjoy doing his own laundry and you can hold him to it after baby :)
Sitting in bed all day sounds relaxing, right? Unfortunately it is usually anything but. Your hips get sore. Your butt goes numb. Your muscles get tight from not being used. That is why it is so important to move your body as much as you can (while of course adhering to your doctors orders). Stretch your legs. Flex and point your feet. Roll your neck. If you can manage to get up on all fours to stretch your back, do it. While being on bed rest is sometimes medically necessary to prolong the pregnancy, it can also cause some complications if you're not careful (blood clots, bed sores, etc.) so even a small amount of "exercise" is very important.

 Typically, when we fall into bed at night it is natural to fall asleep. When you're forced to be in bed for hours at a time, somehow sleep becomes the last thing your body wants to do. In order to fall asleep, you'll need to make a conscious effort to do so. Put away the laptop, turn off the tv and draw the blinds. If you already have children, arrange for them to spend a couple hours at a neighbors house or with friends. Try to cherish the time you are able to curl up for a bit of uninterrupted snooze time. Because we all know that those days will soon be a thing of the past!
If this isn't your first baby, you probably haven't devoted nearly as much time to getting things prepared as you did the first time around. Life just gets away from you and things are put off sometimes until the last minute. Throw bed rest into the plan and then suddenly any time you did have left becomes completely unproductive. Luckily I had gotten the nesting urge quite early on so I sorted and freshly laundered the boys old baby clothes in Dreft weeks ago. But we still have to put the finishing touches on the nursery and dust off the baby swing (all things added to the "must do" list for Ricky). Things I've also done while laying in bed? Created my first ever birth plan, made a list of items to pack in my hospital bag, and ordered a cute little maternity hospital gown.
                              
When my husband gets off work and then is buzzing around the house working on that to-do list, taking care of the kids and tending to me in bed, I start to feel guilty. Like I should be doing more. Like somehow it's my fault that I'm unable to pitch in and help. I feel like such a burden for making someone else do the things I normally would be doing. I feel guilty that I'm not able to spend more quality time with my kids - especially considering these last few weeks with just the boys should be time that is cherished. But then I remind myself that staying in bed and following doctors orders is the LEAST selfish thing I can do. I'm doing it to keep this little life inside of me safe. And that is what a mom is supposed to do. My kids will get it. My husband will step up and be fine. Everyone can handle it...so throw the guilt out the window!
Obviously this is straight from the doctor. Water is so important while you are pregnant. It ensures you AND your baby stay hydrated which can keep contractions at bay. It can be tempting to drink soda or sugary drinks while being trapped in bed all day - even if just to add some zing to the day. However without drinking the recommended amount of water (which my doctor has said is close to 1 gallon/day) you may find yourself on hospital bed rest before you know it. And THAT is 100x worse!
If a certain condition or ailment has landed you in bed for the duration of your pregnancy, it is almost impossible not to check in with "Dr. Google" daily. There you will most likely find worst case scenarios and outcomes that will only add stress to your situation. I'm totally guilty of this...but I've learned it is best to quit Googling! In addition, if you weren't already addicted to Facebook/Pinterest/Etsy/etc. you probably will be once on bed rest. This can be bad for several reasons...you may begin to lose touch with reality, add too many things to your to-do list (um, hello Pinterest) and/or end up spending too much money. Try to limit the time spent online throughout the day. Your wallet (and your husband) will thank you.
                       
This goes back to the exercise and drinking water rule. Convenience foods seem easiest when you can only make short trips to the kitchen. My vice is those "family size" bags of Twizzlers. If you have an amazing husband like me, you will be lucky enough to have someone cook at least one good meal a day :) Just watch the amount of calories you are taking in since you are no longer burning them with everyday activity.

              
Keep your eye on the prize. Your doctor didn't put you on bed rest to be mean. It is to ensure the health of you and your unborn baby. Is it hard? Sure. But in the end it will all be worth it!

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* DISCLAIMER: This list is meant to encourage those who are on medical bed rest during pregnancy. Please consult your doctor for specific recommendations related to your particular medical needs.






1 comments :

Wild + Wee 7:04 PM, June 24, 2012  

I think the hardest thing about bed rest is staying positive as the days stretch into weeks stretch into months. I'm currently on week 6 of strict bed rest due + some days are just downright depressing.

I think one of the best tips to surviving bed rest is to connect with other women going through it. Because no matter how supportive your husband, family & friends are, unless they have gone through it they just won't understand how HARD it is to put your life on hold & stay horizontal while they can continue to go about their lives. This goes doubly in the summertime. BabyCenter.com has a great Bed Rest Club that has seriously saved my sanity.

Another one I'd add is to lower your expectations. Not just about housework + caring for any wee one's at home, but also about what you can accomplish in bed. Medications to stop contractions left me really dizzy + weak at first; doing work from home or even hanging out with friends was way, way beyond me. Trying to tackle serious reading left me exhausted. And if you're on strict bed rest, you can't sit & trying to do anything for too long on your side is a recipe for aches + pains to rival your grandmother. Sometimes you just have to let it all go + watch a few mindless shows on Netflix.

Loved this list, though - best of luck as you count down the time!

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