When I found out I was expecting our firstborn (just coming back from our honeymoon, nonetheless) we were elated, to say the least. Especially after being told that there was a good chance we would need IVF from having severe Endometriosis.
What I was not expecting was to do 9 months of hard time. No, not jail time, although there were days it felt like it. But 9 months of bedrest.
In the beginning, my morning sickness was terrible to the point of losing too much weight, nausea medication after nausea medication, no relief, and eventually bedrest. Finally, it started getting better around 13 weeks and I could taste freedom.
I only tasted that freedom for a few days and then bam, it happened.
I found myself in the Emergency Room with a massive amount of vaginal bleeding at just over 13 weeks pregnant.
The most terrifying moments of my husband and I’s life happened in that cold, white room. We were so scared about what the future would hold for this sweet baby we had grown to know and love in my belly for the last 13 weeks.
After lots of testing, we discovered I had a very large Subchorionic Hemorrhage (SCH). Basically, my placenta was tearing away from my uterus way too early, causing massive amounts of bleeding. This eventually led to a Subchorionic Hematoma developing and riding shotgun on my placenta until I delivered. For weeks, it was even larger than the baby.
I was put on strict bed rest until around 18 weeks, which included laying flat as much as possible, very little walking, only showering for a few minutes with a shower chair, and staying bed ridden as much as possible. Baby started growing and doing exactly as she should, which was to put pressure on the placenta to stop the bleeding. I continued being on bed rest until I delivered, but with each passing week and with each sonogram, I was able to do a little more than the last.
The hematoma itself was basically a giant, painful bruise in my abdomen. For my entire pregnancy, I had to avoid lifting, vacuuming, walking long distances (I mainly used a wheelchair everywhere we went), and anything taxing to my body.
The chance of making it to term with SCH in the early second trimester is lower than having this earlier in pregnancy. It was a tough pill to swallow when both the Maternal Fetal Medicine doctor and my OB had never seen a patient have a good outcome with a hemorrhage that bad. Keeping our heads up, thoughts positive, and minds preoccupied was key!
If you find yourself on bed rest, for any reason, I hope you find some solace in these tips and tricks to continue to enjoy the gift of pregnancy (no matter how hard it may be at the time)!
Tips and Tricks
1. Find your tribe. The people that will pray for you. Encourage you. Bring you desserts. Whatever you need.
2. Find the best desserts. Request a cupcake every once in awhile from those who get to enjoy the outdoors. Because life is better with sweets!
3. Facetime with friends and family once a day at least. This will help you feel like you still have a sense of social interaction. It’s miraculous what actually talking to real-life people can do for your morale!
4. Order those books off Amazon you have been meaning to. Better yet, have your significant other stop by your favorite local bookstore and pick them up! Shopping local and getting knowledge? You are basically a rockstar now!
5. Find easy foods that have little prep to keep in your fridge and pantry. Since you won’t be able to stand for long periods of time it’s best to have foods that can be heated up quickly. Make sure it is healthy, though, as you are still nourishing your body for two!
6. Bring the crafts to you. Set up a small folding table in your bedroom for you to move to when you are feeling inspired. Scrapbook, make bows for your little girl, decor for the nursery, or whatever you are feeling like!
7. Journal when you can. While this time is terrifying and scary, you will want to remember just how brave you were to go through these trials. Journaling is also a great way to relieve some of the anxiety you may be feeling!
8. Color like you’re a kid. Adult coloring books were all the rage while I was on bedrest; I had an endless supply from people. It was therapeutic to relax and color like a kid again.
9. Binge on those Netflix shows you had been trying to find time for. No one can judge you now for watching all 186 episodes of The Office! And you are going to need this for when you deliver, 10 Best Shows To Binge On Maternity Leave!
10. Relax. That is why you are in this position. Relax and enjoy the time, no matter how slowly it might go. I tried to live for every second of every day, but it was hard. I look back and see now just how fast that time went.
And by the way, I continued strict and modified bedrest my entire pregnancy, and delivered a healthy 7lbs 11oz baby girl with a hematoma to view on my placenta at 37 weeks!
You can do it! When you feel like you can’t, reach out for support. You likely know someone that has been in your shoes and can offer words of encouragement!
Take it one day and one step at a time.