Thursday, April 17, 2014

How To Survive Hospital Bed Rest

When you first find out you're pregnant with twins, there's a good chance your doctor will share the likelihood of bed rest.  Whether it takes place at the hospital or your home, it's so common with twin pregnancies.  Andrea, who is currently 32 weeks pregnant, is on hospital bed rest taking care of her sweet baby boys.  Today she shares her tips on how to survive bed rest.   We appreciate her honestly, humor, and positive attitude.

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My name is Andrea. I'm a stay-at-home mom to my daughter, Madison, and married to my high school sweetheart, Josh. I'm a part-time photographer, a Chai tea latte enthusiast, and about to be a busy mom of three.

At 27 weeks I went in for a routine cervical length check at my doctor's office. After my cervix had measured well over 4 cm my entire pregnancy, we were shocked to see it was now 1.4 cm. My doctor had me out the door & headed for the large hospital in Denver within 20 minutes. By the time I got to the hospital my contractions had picked up and were coming every 2-3 minutes. After about 24 hours of contractions, my cervix was now measuring 6mm. I have now been in the hospital for five weeks, with no changes and with the possibility of going home in 10 days, unless the boys decide to make their debut.

 32 Weeks

How To Survive Hospital Bed Rest

Be Pleasant.
No one wants to be here. None of us planned on being here. We are stuck in lumpy beds with bad hospital food and daytime television. I am bombarded with tubes, straps, pills and swabs every three hours. I am being watched like a hawk. But you know what helps? A good attitude. There is absolutely nothing I can do about being here. I am here for the long haul, as are a lot of these women, so I'm making the most of it.

I have really great nurses who actually enjoy coming to see me because I decided to be pleasant. The boys are the most stressful fetuses to get on the monitors, which means my poor nurses have to sit here for at least 30 minutes before we are all hooked up and being monitored. Many have thanked me for being a trooper because they have lots of patients who are mean and get mad. Get over it! You're stuck here all day and it's your fetus that is already creating problems and is still on the inside.

Laugh it up.
So much of this is disgusting. So disgusting. I have probably apologized to nearly every nurse that has worked with me for the disgusting things they have to do and see. "When was your last bowel movement?" has become my favorite question of the day. One of these days, I will work up the courage to say, "This morning! When was yours?" We talk about body fluids and mucus and blood and leakage. I mean, di-freaking-sgusting. The best way to deal is to just laugh about it. Make light of the gross and just roll with it. Being happy and pleasant and enjoyable to be around makes everyone happier. Be the patient that the nurses enjoy. There will always be the girl who is a crab - don't be her, because the patients talk about you and so do the nurses. Be the one who makes them laugh.

My two best friends at my hospital baby shower shortly after I was admitted

Cry it out.
For the majority of your hospital stay, be fun and enjoyable. However, if you need to have a good, hard sob, do it. Turn on Steel Magnolias and let the river flow. I was teary many nights when my friends and family would leave, but it was short-lived. Ten days into my stay, I hit my wall. Ugly crying into the phone while my Mom tried to calm me down. It's hard to be here. It's hard to watch your family leave. And it's hard to be stuck here with no end in sight. So, it's ok to be hysterical. Just don't be the girl who lives there.

Decorate.
I'm sure some of the nurses think I'm nuts. My room is the most decked out on the floor. My favorite part is the banner of photos of my myself throughout the pregnancy, which I refer to as my "Narcissist Banner" every time a new nurse looks at it. I have balloons, flowers, pictures, and banners hanging on the walls to make it feel more homey. Over the top? Yes. Necessary? No. Cheerful? Yes. Worth it? Yes. You're here for weeks on end - make the best of it.

Narcissist banner.

Visitors.
I am very lucky to be semi-close to home. Many of the women on my floor are from neighboring states and aren't as fortunate as I am to have company. I have had friends and/or family here every single day of my stay. When people ask me what I want or need most, my response is always company. I have people I've never even met before popping in to see me, who just want to help make my day a little more pleasant. Seeing people (for Type A extroverts, like myself) help the days not drag so slowly. Tell people what you need. They want to help. If you just want them to stop by and play Scrabble with you, tell them.

My daughter, Maddie, bringing me balloons the day after I was admitted

Don't be ugly.
My husband was slightly offended that he has seen me with more makeup on since I've been here than I had been wearing pre-bed rest. My argument is that it makes me feel better. Deep.

It's true though. After beached whale society water immersion therapy, I take a shower, dry my hair, style it and put some makeup on. Is it necessary? Of course not. Does it make me feel like I'm doing something with my day? Yes. If you are schlepping around the hospital like the girl from The Ring, your days will be longer and crankier. If you put a little pep in your step on purpose, you will feel better.

Hospital bed rest is so hard. There is no getting around it, but like every situation in life, you have to choose to make the best of it. Make friends with your nurses because they want to like you, but they can't if you're a jerk. Try out the old lady activities that the hospital offers. You might enjoy it and it might make you less of a crab. And if you need a visitor, I'll come sit with you. I can bring you junk food and/or Starbucks, and I will lose terribly to you if we play Scrabble. Win/win for you.

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Thanks so much, Andrea!  If you'd like to read more about Andrea and her current pregnancy, visit her blog:  The Life & Times of Andrea Rosenbohm.  

If you're on bed rest (hospital or home), let us know what other survival tips you have to offer!

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3 comments:

  1. Hello!

    Like Andrea I was sent straight to the hospital at my 27.5 week appointment, due to a shortened cervix. I spent 5 days in L&D, and then 4 weeks on the antepartum floor. I was so fortunate to have amazing nurses that I enjoyed talking to. I never thought twice of being nice to them, but evidently not everyone is that way. When I was discharged to bedrest at home (at 32 weeks) even the janitor said she would miss me because I am the only one who asks how her day is going. Being miserable and mean WON'T make the time go by faster!

    I am now 34 weeks, still on complete bedrest at home. Being home on bedrest is challenging in itself, just in different ways. It will be worth it when we meet the boys :)

    Thanks for the posts that are so relevant to my life!!

    Amanda

    P.S. isn't it funny how pregnancy women no longer have any privacy? Strangers ask me how much weight I have gained! My favorite hospital "no privacy" moment was being asked about my bowel movements/leaking fluids/bleeding while my little brother was visiting. I felt embarrassed for him!

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  2. Hi Andrea!
    I was on hospital bed rest for 12 weeks, with 3 weeks at home first. It was one of the hardest experiences, but the most rewarding in the end. Hang in there. I hope you were able to make it home. I'll have to check out your blog :) Thanks for sharing as there are all great tips. Attitude is everything!
    Katherine @ Upon a Rainbow

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