Wednesday, February 5, 2014

More Than You Ever Wanted To Know About Bed Rest

This post was originally published right after the crazy events unfolded. I've since updated it with more info, including the wonderful news that Stella was born healthy and nearly at-term. Bed rest was a weird time for me, so I wrote about it A LOT. I've included links to more stuff about bed rest at the bottom of the post, for anyone who is going through it or is just curious what it's really like to be told to lay down for three months. It's not as hard as some stuff, but it's harder than you think.

As they say, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. But what if the lemon life handed you was premature labor and you were stuck in a hospital all weekend? My doctor would have killed me if she saw me squeezing up a citrusy, sugary lemonade-y concoction instead of adhering to strict bed rest. So I passed the weekend relaxing in my hospital room as best I could.

Or hotel room as I inexplicably kept calling it. Power of positive thinking?

My "hotel" breakfast during my hospital stay for preterm labor
My "hotel" breakfast, complete with a note wishing me "bon appetit"

So what happened exactly? I'll keep the use of the word "cervix" to a minimum and give you the rundown:

Friday, 11:30 am: Show up for my monthly check-up. Realize I forgot to take a shower that morning because I was so busy trying to get work done before my appointment. Probably going to regret that.

12:00 pm: Exam is almost done, then the mid-wife notices I'm dilated "two fingers." I really would have preferred a less-graphic measurement, like millimeters, but there you go. She calmly says we're heading to the ER and I calmly ask if I should call my husband. She calmly says that's not a bad idea. This is the last bit of calm we see for a while.

12:30 pm: Waiting to be admitted to the ER, waiting for Hubby to arrive. I decide to disturb my dad by calling at the butt crack of dawn in sunny Florida. "Sorry honey, can't talk, about to go into surgery." Click. You have got to be kidding me. The day I go into premature labor my dad is having surgery? This is supposed to be all about MEEEEE!

1:00-4:00 pm: The fetal monitor shows what I already know--I'm having contractions. The rising and subsiding bulge in my tummy every few minutes is scary as hell. I'm only 25 weeks, 3 days pregnant and you have to pass 37 weeks to be out of the premature zone. Past 26 weeks and you're out of the gray zone. Thanks to modern medicine I get on an IV drip that eventually slows the contractions to a stop. Then I get transferred (via my first ambulance ride!) to a hospital that specializes in babies born before 26 weeks, just in case.

Over the next few days I stabilized, and was able to leave the hospital (hotel) after 4 days. I was placed on on strict bed rest until the baby came, which, incredibly, ended up not happening until 38 weeks and 5 days.

The upside was I was put on medical leave--three months off work!--and was subsequently able to write a book about it (Confessions of a Paris Potty Trainer), market my first book (Confessions of a Paris Party Girl), and write loads of blog posts.

One last note to end on: I love the French healthcare system. I was 100% cared for and comfortable from the onset and was 100% confident in their ability to help me keep that baby in. America is great for many things (Taco Bell, I'm talking to you) but I was glad to have been in France when all this went down. I gripe about France all the time but I have to give credit where credit is due, and their healthcare system, pregnancy/delivery/postnatal care in particular, is superb.

If you've ever been on bed rest or know someone currently on bed rest, then check out these related posts:

Vicki Lesage, Author