I’ve been on bed rest for over five weeks now, and believe me - I’ve had plenty of time to just think. There is no way around it: bed rest is HARD. It’s hard for a number of reasons. First of all, I am constantly worried about my baby. I’m constantly scared that something is going to go wrong and that he’ll come out early. I’m scared of what that would mean - weeks in the NICU, complications, risks, and pain and discomfort for my little boy. I’m uncomfortable all of the time because sitting and laying down ALL day and not being able to move around other than going to the restroom and getting water and food leads to an achey back, a sore and tight neck, and a SORE BUTT. I miss working out and the endorphins that it gives me and the way my body looks and feels when I work out daily. I miss taking my dog, Gunner for our thrice daily walks. I miss being outside. I miss hiking and backpacking and fishing and going on adventures with my husband. I miss being able to cook and clean and do things for my husband. It’s hard to see how much he is juggling now that I can’t do anything. I don’t like feeling helpless and dependent on others for EVERYTHING. I get bored. I am disappointed that I am missing out on my baby shower and on having a “normal” pregnancy. There are SO many thingsthat make bed rest very very hard.
BUT, over the past five plus weeks, I have also realized something so incredibly wonderful: there is a bright side to bed rest!
Every week - no, make that every DAY that passes and that my baby boy is still safe inside of me is a reason to rejoice, praise God, and do a (seated) happy dance! Every day we get closer and closer to his due date and to him being full-term, and that makes me SO happy! Every day feels like an accomplishment, and every week feels like a HUGE leap forward and I breathe a sigh of relief.
As far as not being able to move around, or take Gunner for walks, or workout, I realized how freaking LUCKY I am that I am not on hospital bed rest! I get to enjoy the comfort of being in my own home with my own things and with little Gunner lying at my feet. I’m lucky that I’m ABLE to get up to go to the bathroom and to get food and water, rather than having to use a bed pan and be served my meals in a hospital bed as so many women on bed rest do.
While Ben and I may not be able to go hiking, backpacking, and fishing together right now, I keep reminding myself that this whole experience is SO temporary and that we will be going on amazing adventures soon - with our son! And me being on bed rest has brought Ben and I closer together and it has made my love, appreciation of, and respect for him grow immeasurably. I see him in a whole new light and I just feel so much gratitude towards him. He takes such great care of me, of Gunner, and of our home - all while working 60+ hours each week. He is a saint. In our wedding vows, we promised to stick together in sickness and in health and in hard times and good times. He is upholding his end of that promise now in caring for me and our son during this hard time. He sits with me for hours on the weekend, just being with me, and waits on me hand and foot and I just can’t even say how much I love him and how blessed I feel to have him as my partner through this.
And on that note, let me mention how appreciative I am of the friends and family who have shown their love and support during this time! You really see who truly cares in times like these! One girlfriend sent me a coloring book, pencils, and book marks and a sweet little note, and has been checking in frequently. My grandparents sent me a stack of books to read and have been so sweet checking in and offering encouragement. My dad’s cousin, Kris, and her husband, Ross, have brought us food, books, and constantly e-mail with me to see how me and the little guy are doing. The Tone It Up Community has been SO supportive, encouraging, and loving, even though I haven’t even met MOST of those women in person. They blow me away with their kindness. And last but not least, my parents have been so incredible, coming to visit to help clean, cook, walk Gunner, and keep me company while Ben is at work. They’ve bought us groceries, they’ve run errands, they’ve driven me to doctor’s appointments…they are already such great grandparents. Being on bed rest has made me appreciate the people in my life so much more. Every little note, prayer, well-wish, act of kindness means the WORLD to me and I am so grateful.
This time is allowing me such a unique experience to bond with my little boy. Sometimes, when he’s kicking, I sit for a half hour or so just feeling his little movements and talking to him. It’s such a special time, and I am already so in love with him.
As my dad’s cousin, Kris (who was also on bed rest), said to me, this time is essentially forced leisure. That was such a refreshing perspective, and as soon as she said it, I began to look at my situation in a different way. Once our son comes, I wont have nearly as much free time for reading, meditating, writing, coloring, fly tying, studying, etc… This is a wonderful opportunity to do all of the things that I’ve been meaning to do and to enjoy being able to sleep, rest, and relax! I’ve been writing so much more and just flying through my reading list. It’s been so nice getting to focus on my passions.
Speaking of studying, I also signed up for a Graduate Certificate Program in Wilderness Management from the University of Montana. I had applied to Grad schools before I found out I was pregnant, and since our little one is due in July, I decided the timing was just not right to start working on my Master’s Degree this coming September with a newborn. But now, with this time that I have, I decided to keep my mind stimulated and get back to learning. I’ve been loving the courses so far!
I’ve been able to spend so much time meditating and praying. I have really grown to love meditation, and I spend most of my time meditating in prayer. I haven’t talked to God so much in a very long time. This experience has made me rely on him and put everything in His hands. I have SO little control over this situation. I have learned to trust that God is watching out for my son, and that He will continue to care for us, no matter what happens. I just have to trust Him and stay positive and faithful.
Though my pregnancy is now anything but “normal”, I’m grateful for this experience. I am so grateful that my shortened cervix was caught before it was too late and we lost our baby boy. I am so grateful for the doctor and medical team that helped to save our son. I am SO grateful that I am PREGNANT and that I got pregnant on our FIRST TRY - so many women don’t get to experience pregnancy, or struggle with getting pregnant in the first place, and I feel so so blessed to be able to carry this child and to be able to experience the changes in my body and in my mind as I become a mother. As far as my baby shower goes, I’ve realized how silly that is to be too upset about not getting to have one. Yes, a baby shower would be so fun to be able to celebrate the coming of our little boy with friends and loved ones. But, I can have one once he is born, and that way he will be able to meet all of the beautiful women who care about him!
Bed rest is NOT easy and it’s NOT ideal. BUT, there are so many things about it that are beautiful and that I am so grateful for! Above all, I am grateful for bed rest because it is keeping my baby boy safe and allowing him to grow as he should. I keep reminding myself that this is all for him, and that I am SO lucky to be on bed rest, because that means that the problem was caught and that I didn’t lose my son, and that he is being taken care of. I thank God every day for watching over this baby - first with the Zika virus and our almost trip to Cabo, and then with the catching of my shortened cervix JUST in the nick of time! This little boy is SO loved and so cared for already. My parents got us a muslin swaddle blanket for him that says “God holds you in the palm of his hand.” It is my FAVORITE thing, because it is SO true. God is holding him in the palm of his hand. And that is such a HUGE comfort to me.
13 weeks 4 days until baby boy’s due date! Woohoo! We’re gettin’ there!