17 different women, 36 crazy children, 0 babies in utero
Adventures, Advice and Questions from a group of Mormon women who met in Queens, NY and have now scattered all over the place.

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Does a Girl Survive Bedrest?

I've been away a while, buying a house, getting moved, etc, etc. I'm not quite ready to post about the hell of it all--I might not ever be ready to be honest. But during it all, I found out some friends of ours were going through their own, more serious trying times.

The wife is pregnant with her first and because of some recent complications, she has been has been put on 10 weeks bedrest. That's right. 10 weeks. In the hospital (so no cheating). She can get up to take a 5 minute shower every other day. That's it. Ugh. The good news is the doctors say if she sticks to it, the baby should be just fine because they don't forsee any other complications. Great news. But the bad news is that she has to survive 10 weeks of bedrest without going mental. Ugh.

So here I am calling out to any women out there who have been on bedrest or have known someone close to them who has been on bedrest. How did you get through it? How did you keep busy? What's your best advice for making the time tick by? And what are some things that I (and others) can do to help her get through this trying time? FYI: I don't live close anymore, but other friends do.


  • I was on bedrest from 20 weeks til delivery at 35. Luckily i was able to stay home for the majority of it. The only thing that kept me sane was cross stitching. I stayed in bed and stitched for hours on end. Girlfriends came over every so often for movie nights. Support from friends is definitely key. After awhile i think it's easy to be forgotten and it's sometimes hard to reach out and ask for company when you really need it.

    Bedrest with my second, while shorter (only 8 weeks) was harder simply because I had to worry about my firstborn. Luckily we had a lot of help with family flying in to the rescue.

    So if you live close enough, see how she feels about a "girls night in" on occasion. It's good to have something to look forward to, other than marking the days! If she isn't local, send her a box of things to do. One of my girlfriends sent me a great care package with 2 books that kept my mind busy. And it was so nice to know that a friend from so far away was thinking of me.

    A good book series that i think is a great "escape" is the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer. Young adult fiction, which usually causes me to have a gag reflex, but i'm really enjoying them, so maybe she will too?

    People magazines, crosswords, sudoku, junk food...

    Glad she can shower more than once a week! I wish her the best!
    posted by Blogger Ashlee at 9/17/2007 04:54:00 PM  

  • We were just discussing this is Primary yesterday. One of the women was remembering her 4 months in bed with her second child. She spoke fondly of the meals that were delivered, the people who stopped by to help clean her house and wash her clothes, mothers who came by to pick up her 4 year old son and take him on play dates or just people stopping by the check up on her. It's been 16 years, and she still gets emotional talking about it. The outpouring of love (for an inactive sister) brought her back to church again. Her workplace set up an office in her bedroom so she could work from home.

    Knowing her likes and dislikes can be a help as well. This woman was a voracious reader, and mini book groups were held in her home over that 4 month period. Just the fact that your friend knows there are people out there who care can bring a wonderful comfort to someone in that situation.
    posted by Anonymous HK at 9/17/2007 05:13:00 PM  

  • Does she have a laptop? Having a computer nearby can be helpful if you have an strong love for the internet (as I do).

    Wish I could help but I haven't had to deal with this so far...
    posted by Blogger Chloe at 9/17/2007 05:53:00 PM  

  • When I was on bedrest, I went through television series on DVD--
    Alias, Lost, Jane Eyre(mini-series). It's hard to concentrate on books when you feel crappy and are stressed out, so even though I'm an avid reader, I didn't get much reading done at all. I got tired of movies, but getting sucked into a series was very fun.

    I also enjoyed books on tape, too. Again, it was easier to listen to stuff than to actually have to read it. I don't know why--it just worked better for me that way.
    posted by Blogger Heather O. at 9/17/2007 06:06:00 PM  

  • A how to knit or crochet book with a couple skeins. Add to that a cute baby hat pattern with the right sized needles.

    You can't go wrong with art supplies. Water colors, pastels, those nice German watercolor-pencils, heavy duty paper, anything you'd need to create.

    I also like that polymer modeling clay that you can make into millefiori items. Boxes, beads, lots of things. Picking items up to bake for her and bring back is a nice appointment maker.

    Jewelry making kits.

    I love TV, movies and books, but sometimes it's nice to feel busy and handwork can make you feel like you've accomplished something.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 9/17/2007 07:08:00 PM  

  • I haven't done the bedrest thing myself, but my SIL has done it for 4 of her 6 kids. I'm not sure how she does it, aside from being incredibly amazing. At least your friend doesn't have other kids to worry about yet -- that's definitely the hardest part.

    Some things my SIL has done: read, do puzzles, watch TV and movies. If your friend loves books, send her some. Or if she loves knitting, send her some yarn and a book of patterns (baby booties or something might be especially appropriate). If she likes crosswords puzzles, send her a few books of those. We lent my SIL a couple of seasons of Babylon 5 on DVD during her latest pregnancy. Definitely see if she can get set up with an internet connection.

    For those friends who are close to her, I think visits are probably the best thing. Just having someone to talk to after that many hours by yourself is great. Also, things like "spa days" or something are great. Especially if she's in the hospital, she's probably going to be feeling pretty gross a lot of the time. Friends can come and do her hair and nails, shave her legs (she might be able to do this herself, but later in pregnancy maybe not), give her a foot massage, things like that. Little things that will make her feel a little better about herself.

    Call her as often as you can, send her little e-mails during the day to let her know you're thinking about her. And tell her we all wish her luck!
    posted by Anonymous Vada at 9/17/2007 07:18:00 PM  

  • I linked the wrong polymer book. This one is better.
    posted by Blogger Azúcar at 9/17/2007 07:18:00 PM  

  • With my first pregnancy, I was in the hospital for 1 week and on strict home bedrest for another 8 weeks. I would have to say what helped me stay sane was a laptop and wireless internet. I was able to get all my baby supplies and clothes ordered before the baby came. Also, lots of visits from friends and visiting teachers bringing lunch and/or magazines to read were very appreciated. How about a mini-baby shower (since you can't have lots of people at the hospital)in her room. Or messages from her friends and family on DVD or VHS depending of what the hospital has so she can watch it when she needs a boost.

    I agree with Ashlee though that after awhile you are somewhat forgotten. A lot of people visit and send things in the beginning but by the end when you are just sick of laying around is really when you need to most visitors. A time I will never forgot is a girl from work coming out to my house (I lived an hour away from my job) for the afternoon to hang out and bring me a carseat and bouncy chair for us. It was so great to know that everyone was still thinking of me and the baby.

    Maybe show her this post so that she knows that others have been through this and survived insanity. Good luck to your friend and her baby!! I know how stressful a time it is to have a difficult pregnancy and then probably have a preemie.
    posted by Blogger Elise at 9/17/2007 08:23:00 PM  

  • I'm sure these things were already mentioned but . . . Books to read, sudoku, notebook computer (with internet hopefully!), books on CD, snacks, chapstick, phone calls, visits, mani/pedi, a "club meeting" like a book club or whatever she's a part of in her room . . . I was on hospital bedrest with my youngest daughter for one week and I thought I would lose my mind. TEN WEEKS! That's rough.

    You are a great friend to be thinking of her needs. Seriously, it's so hard.
    posted by Blogger rebecca at 9/18/2007 10:42:00 AM  

  • I was on bedrest w/ my 4th from 9-18 weeks. It was hard!! For 3 weeks of it, my dad came and took care of me and the kids (during the day). I can honestly say it was the best 3 weeks I've ever had w/ my dad. I'll never forget them! While this is not possible for your friend on bedrest- given she's in the hospital, there were a few other things that helped...

    We watched 4 seasons of "24" in those 3 weeks w/ my dad. Now that's some good TV!

    Reading-- get her the new Stephanie Meyer trilogy of books-- starting w/ Twilight... she'll be hooked! I'm on #2 and can't put it down! (surprised there hasn't been a post on these books yet, unless I missed it... these books are the big thing in my ward!)

    Girls night in- same thing as suggested before... that was fun! Any visitor was fun!

    Hang in there- picture your healthy baby and it will all be worth it! Baby #4 was perfectly healthy and now I'm prego w/ #5... luckily w/out bedrest this time! (so far!) Good luck!
    posted by Blogger BJHBHB at 9/18/2007 12:23:00 PM  

  • I was on strict bedrest for 18 weeks with my first (the last 4 weeks were at the hospital). I am also a labor and delivery nurse, so I just figured it was the "nurse curse". Great comments by you folks, but I have a few other things to keep in mind. Many people on bedrest are also on medications to treat preterm labor, pregnancy-induced hypertension, etc. A common med is terbutaline. Anyone that's been on it knows that it makes your hands and eyes shake, and can make you feel like you want to jump out of your skin - especially at higher doses. Cross-stitches, reading, and knitting are really difficult to do. I found that once my terbutaline doses were quite high, I could do other stitching projects that didn't entail a lot of fine counting of stitches. For example, my sister sent me a quilt top that I quilted for her (big, easy free-hand stitches) and then kept! Maybe a knitting or crocheting project with chunky yarn and bigger needles would be good.

    During each of my 5 hospital admissions while on bedrest, I also had to go on another common medication, magnesium sulfate. It's side-effects are different than Terbutaline. It makes you nauseas and incredibly weak. It also gives you horrible hot-flashes. Reading became impossible. Even movies quite often made me sick to watch. Books on tape were AWESOME. Sometimes my husband would come to the hospital after work. He would watch a movie and I would just listen to it, with a few peeks here or there.

    My FAVORITE things when I felt so sick were having someone wash my hair, brush my hair, paint my toenails, shave my legs, or give me a back, foot or leg massage. When you are in bed for that long, you start to lose a lot of muscle. Your back becomes weak, and really gets sore from all that laying around!

    When I was at the hospital, I actually asked that people didn't come to visit me from the ward. It sounds wierd now, but I felt so weak and sick and horrible that just to talk to anyone really took it out of me. People on bedrest still take naps and get tired. So, keep in mind that a nice gift and a quick visit might be what is in order sometimes. Of course, every situation is different.

    People on bedrest also deal with a pregnant digestive tract on bedrest, and that means one thing - constipation. Instead of all the sweets and garbage to eat, I begged my hubby to bring me dried fruits and healthy foods. Keep that in mind when bringing in meals.

    Another thing people on long-term bedrest deal with is a shock to reality the day they have their baby. After 4 months, I was off bedrest one day, then the mother of a sick preemie the next. My back hurt quite a bit just to stand for more than 10-15 minutes at a time (not to mention all of the other post-partum pains). I had not seen my kitchen in 4 months, and had to figure out where everything was, and how to clean it again!. I remember thinking, "Do I wipe the counters first or sweep the floor first?" DUH. Continued support at that point is vital, as a weakend body really isn't ready for the rigorous demands of new-motherhood.

    Whew, what did I forget? Moral support! Cards, letters, scriptures. Remind her how important what she is doing is. Bring by a sweet newborn if you can. That was very motivating for me.

    Good luck! The good thing about bedrest is, it can't last more than 9 months! (per kid).
    posted by Blogger Our Forever Wilson Family Blogged at 9/18/2007 09:21:00 PM  

  • To all the commentors - thank you. Lots of good ideas and I will definitely make sure she reads the comments to see that people have gone through what she is going through and survived it all.

    To the last woman who commented-your moniker is way too long BTW- Boy I thought bedrest was bad until I read your comment and now I think it could possibly the worst thing ever! I had no idea about the side effects of those medications. I will have to find out if she is on anything.

    Man, what some women have to go through to bring their beautiful children into the world.
    posted by Blogger TftCarrie at 9/21/2007 02:12:00 PM  

  • just a side note--i know the comments about the meds were well meaning, so i'm not knocking that AT ALL. super info. just want to mention that i was on them all while on bedrest (terbutaline, procardia, magnesium multiple times and many more) and once i adjusted to the terb i was steady enough for stuff like cross stitching. when i was hospitalized on mag, i felt like such total CRAP that i did nothing (can't see straight, feel like you have the flu). so just like you said, ask her what's up and if it's something she might be able to do or want to do. anyway, that's all!

    i'm an L&D nurse too and that was my only risk factor! Hrmph!
    posted by Blogger Ashlee at 9/21/2007 08:07:00 PM  

  • I would like to add to the med discussion - Magnesium Sulfate is EVIL. I was on it for a week and I can honestly say it was THE WORST week of my life. My body felt like total crap and my mental state was so shaky - I was depressed and fearful and so emotional about everything. When my baby was born I was way more happy and excited to be off the mag than to hold my beautiful new daughter. I didn't really bond with her (or even care that she was here) until the next day when all the mag was out of my system. Awful stuff. I'm grateful it kept me pregnant for an extra week after my water broke to give M a chance to grow a bit more, but it was the most difficult week of my life by far.
    posted by Blogger rebecca at 9/22/2007 08:31:00 AM  

  • My mother was an invalid for a long time (not with pregnancy, tho) and what kept her sane was the Books for the Blind program -- you don't have to be blind to take advantage of it, either. If you are unable to read for other physical conditions (and it sounds as though some of the meds described here would count) and if you can get your doctor to certify that you are unable to read because of physical limitations, you may be eligible. See the Library of Congress website at http://www.loc.gov/nls/eligible.html for more information. It's all free, too, even the mailing of tapes back and forth.

    Anyway, I thought knowing about this might widen the reading material available to you mothers without breaking the bank to buy things you would listen to only once. Good luck. You're all amazing.
    posted by Anonymous Ardis Parshall at 9/22/2007 06:31:00 PM  

  • If she is able to cross stitch, this pattern makes a lovely gift for the grandparents-to-be. It's a pretty cross stitch that lists all of the grandchildren.

    I never had to do bedrest, but I did chemo. I actively looked for semi-productive things to do while feeling sick that were neither mentally or physically taxing. I wound up doing things like practicing handwriting (mine had always been pretty bad, and good handwriting is a nice skill for moms to have) and catching up the scrapbooks. If she has a laptop and wants to see if she can catch the genealogy bug, she might want to get a 2-week free trial subscription to Ancestry.com. It's amazing what you can do from the home computer nowadays. It's nice to find things to do that feel useful.
    posted by Blogger Sara at 9/22/2007 10:33:00 PM  

  • I am the Compassionate Service Leader in my ward and we currently have 3 women on bedrest. The first is a mother of 3 and completely independent. She hasn't required anything of us as of yet. The second has one other child, a husband who comes home at 4 everyday and is mostly independent. As a ward, we take in 2 meals each week and her family and friends do the rest.

    The third sister is a mother of 3 boys and is expecting triplets. Her mother passed away when she was a teenager and the remainder of the family who could help (by moving in, practically) work full time. So, we are doing quite a bit for her family. We provide babysitting 5 days per week for the youngest who isn't in school and meals 3 days per week. She is 26 weeks pregnant and has been in the hospital for 5 weeks. We have helped with cleaning the house, meals, babysitting and many other things. And we are all very happy to help out. Accepting help isn't easy, but when you are in a bed rest situation, there really isn't any other way. Don't be afraid to ask for help from your RS after family and friends have done all they can do.
    posted by Blogger Krista at 10/04/2007 07:38:00 PM  

  • I am looking for my memories through the stories, the narrative of people. I feel it is difficult but I will try.

    posted by Blogger Love Kpop at 2/06/2018 06:33:00 PM  

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