June 03, 2009
Who among us has not had a day, maybe even a weekend, where you just don't want to get out of bed? Maybe you've had a bad day, maybe it's rainy and gloomy outside, maybe you just want to be lazy for a day. Sounds nice, right? Imagine having your doctor tell you to stay in bed. Still sounds nice, right? Staying in bed on doctor's orders? Sure... until one day turns into 23 weeks. Ask anyone who has been bedridden for more than a day and they will tell you it isn't as fantastic as it seems. (For the record, that is not a picture of me.)
From the minute I found out I pregnant with quadruplets I was told to prepare for bed rest. The average estimate was around 18 weeks. OK, not bad, so I could work until then, prepare a cute nursery, buy all the gear I needed, enjoy being pregnant.... that noise you just heard is me shrieking with laughter, imagining what would have happened if that had been the reality.
Five weeks into my pregnancy I had my first bout of morning sickness. At this point I knew I was pregnant, but that's all I knew. I came home from work on a Thursday night nauseous beyond belief, amazed I had managed to work my full shift, and promptly fell into bed. I stayed there until mid-morning the next day when we had to embark on a two hour drive to the reproductive endocrinologist. As soon as I walked in the office I asked for an area to lie down. From that day until I delivered I did everything from a horizontal position.
I was never on a strict bed rest. I was told I could pretty much do whatever I felt up for... walking up and down steps, sitting outside... but it was a lot easier saying those things than actually doing them. For the first few weeks everything made me nauseous... thinking about food, talking about food, eating food... and hearing noise. Yep. Noises made me hurl. For about a month all I could do was lay in bed and either sleep or stare at the ceiling. I am not exaggerating. I was so thankful when I could finally sit up and listen to the TV. Yes, listen because watching the screen made me nauseous. Eventually I was able to actually watch TV and read a book or magazine.
I still live with the consequences of bed rest. I lost a lot of muscle strength in my legs. If I sit for long periods of time my legs ache when I finally stand up to walk. In the mornings I walk like a stereotypical old lady as my muscles fight my efforts to use them.
Still, there is an upside to my bed rest. Except for one week at the beginning of my pregnancy I never spent any time in the hospital until I gave birth. I was fortunate enough to be able to serve my time on bed rest at home... in my own bed, using my own shower. Twenty-three weeks of bed rest was certainly difficult, but I'm grateful I could do it on my own terms.