Bedrest Is An Oxymoron

On bedrest I basically had to sit around all day and quietly go out of my mind


When my oldest was a newborn, nothing soothed him quite like Whoopi Goldberg. While an argument could be made for her sharp wit, or her soothing alto voice, the most likely culprit was the copious amount of hours I spent watching The View while I was pregnant with him.

Because I had been told that getting pregnant would be difficult for me, I was more shocked than elated when that second line appeared. I immediately woke my husband, on Father’s Day no less. He burst into a smile, which he quickly neutralized, and said, “Let’s see what the doctor says.” I took two more tests, and then I took pictures to send to friends asking, "Does this look positive to you?” despite the neon flashing signs saying, “Yes, you are pregnant, you fool.” In our gift to my father, we wrapped up one positive test (our excitement overruling the ick factor of gifting him something I had peed on.) My dad looked puzzled. My mom dropped an entire stack of magazines.

After confirming with our doctor, who laughed at my three tests in a row methodology, it began to sink in. The excitement, however, very quickly turned to fear. At just over five weeks, I started spotting at work. I immediately went to my supervisor and said, “I’m spotting.” She said simply, “Go.” I worked in a daycare centre where I knew they would be scrambling to cover my class, and I will be forever grateful for that response. It would be the last time I worked for over 2 years.

My doctor sent us for an ultrasound, where the tech said, “I just see a sac,” which I interpreted as an empty sac, when what he meant was it was too early to see anything else. Choose your words carefully. I continued to spot on and off for the next 10 weeks. An ultrasound at six weeks showed a good, strong heartbeat. The tech let me listen to it, and I sobbed. It is to date the most beautiful thing I have ever heard.

My doctor put me on what she called modified bedrest. Basically, I had to sit around all day and quietly go out of my mind. I read the entire Harry Potter series in one fell swoop. I rented five seasons of Desperate Housewives. I watched the original Growing Pains pilot with a different Carol. Bedrest is hard. Bedrest without cable, smart phones, and Netflix is brutal. If you have to be on bedrest, I recommend doing it after 2008. Mostly what I did to pass the time was worry.

I was allowed to shower once a day and I saved it for when I really, truly needed a break. My aunt bought me aroma therapy body wash, and it was like ambrosia. I savoured that shower, clung to it like a life line. I was the cleanest pregnant person in a 10 mile radius. In the shower, I could relax.

At 12 weeks, I suddenly had major bleeding and cramping. I thought for sure that was it. It was truly terrifying, and I was willing to stay in that recliner my whole pregnancy, if he would just be okay. When we were finally able to get an ultrasound, the doctor said he was fine right now, but called it a threatened miscarriage. In the curtained room beside me was a woman going through the exact same thing. She was sure her pregnancy was over. I wondered about her often.

After the spotting stopped, I was allowed to get up and move freely. My muscles didn’t get the memo. Finally, by my third trimester, I was moving around, despite my husband’s fit of laughter watching a man on crutches lap me in a race down the hospital corridor to our 35 week ultrasound. As we walked out of our final ultrasound, confident now in the health of our baby, we saw the lady from the room next to me round the corner. She was hobbling too, struggling to keep up with her giant pregnant belly.

Bedrest might sound relaxing at first, but “taking it easy” doesn’t actually end up happening. The worry, restriction of movement, and boredom make it anything but restful. Thankfully, raising a child means no more “resting” and I couldn’t be happier.

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