Between the time I was hospitalized after my water broke on April 3rd and when I was discharged after delivering our son Rawley 8 weeks later, my life on hospital bed rest was less boring than you might think!
7 Memorable Events During Bed Rest
- Hospital Baby Showers. In addition to the little “sprinkle” my college girl friends had for me at 23 weeks (pictured in a previous post), Courtney and some other friends hosted an amazing camping-themed shower for us in a private room at the hospital. I was so touched by all of the thoughtful details they added (see photos above). Later, my Phoenix girl friends, coordinated by another Courtney, surprised us with an enormous and generous Shower-in-a-Box stuffed with items from our registry. Having these showers despite the unusual circumstances meant so much to me and Nathan; they represented moments of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal pregnancy. Plus, since my water broke so early, we hadn’t done any baby shopping and were so grateful for the support of friends and family to help us get stocked up since I couldn’t shop myself.
- Bedside Makeover and Maternity Photos. Prior to rupturing, I booked Rachel Williams (Photographic Designs, Tulsa) for a maternity session. I envisioned a downtown OKC shoot at dusk, with the Devon Tower behind us. Needless to say, our plans changed…and Rachel kindly agreed to shoot our session on the hospital grounds. I assembled a beauty team, including Katherine for nails, hairstylist Tina Mosier who cut my hair in my hospital room on her day off, and makeup artist Cyndi Black whom I met while assisting on Ackerman McQueen shoots. Like the baby showers, being able to capture my pregnancy in portraits despite the crazy circumstances meant so much to me. I am so grateful to Rachel, Katherine, Tina, and Cyndi for their generosity and flexibility in making this happen. Watch for the professional results in a future post!
- Friday the 13th. Nothing makes a ruptured pregnant lady nervous like being in the hospital on Friday the 13th, which happened in April, only 10 days after my water broke. I am not normally superstitious, but I must say I did breathe a sigh of relief once this day ended!
- Tornado Evacuation. Oklahoma + spring = tornadoes. Oklahoma hospitals don’t skip a beat when the sirens go off; they calmly move patients into the inner hallways and carry on. All in a day’s work for them. The hospital was evacuated twice one weekend while I was hospitalized. The first time, I joined others in the hallway in my wheelchair (I was excited: I got to leave my room! Hurrah!); the second time fell during the middle of the night and I was happened to be hooked up to baby monitors, so the nurse and I agreed I would just stay in my room (I was happy: right back to sleep! Hurrah!).
- Super Moon. When the Super Moon rolled around this year, I was less than 26 weeks, and so during rounds the doctor gave me strict instructions not to go into labor. She was totally serious. 🙂 Ask them, and doctors and nurses will swear that whenever there’s a full moon, L&D has no vacancy. Like Friday the 13th, I breathed a sigh of relief after we made it through the super moon.
- OKC Thunder Advance in the NBA Playoffs. We passed many evenings (and still do, at time of writing) cheering on the OKC Thunder in the playoffs. My night nurses would even come into my room and loiter around to watch when they knew we had the game on. When the Thunder played the LA Lakers, whom I can’t stand, I tweeted “if I go into labor tonight, I blame Kobe.” I may have jinxed myself…I delivered 36 hours later.
- 2012 Presidential Field Narrows. If you know me, you know I am a political junkie and have a former career in public policy. So, the advantage of being woken up every morning for 2 months by a resident at 5:30 a.m. was catching up on the latest election year drama on my favorite show, Morning Joe. Mitt Romney became the official Republican nominee during my tenure on bed rest and President Obama launched his official campaign.
7 Things I Did On Bed Rest That I Never Do In Real Life
- Get flowers painted on my toes. In real life, I always get basically the same dark color on my toes and I never paint my finger nails. I am not super girly; plus, I am too active and too frugal – manicures only last 3 days. But, on bed rest, pedis and manis lasted…forever, since I was just laying there. Plus, no one really saw them, so I didn’t feel the need to be so conservative. So, when my sweet friend Katherine (pictured above) came to see me every week with a mani/pedi kit in tow, she painted bright colors and flowers and it made me feel prettier. She also made me Princess for a Day. Thanks, Katherine!
- Watch Wheel of Fortune every night. And look forward to it. Wheel of Fortune is a form of nerd crack, kind of like Words with Friends. While I refused to watch daytime television (especially soap operas) in the hospital, I did get my daily nerd crack fix every weeknight while I ate dinner and waited for Nathan to roll in after work. I am pretty sure I’d rock as a contestant.
- Shower every 3 days. During my first 8-10 days in the hospital at Integris Baptist right after my water broke, I was so afraid of going into labor and losing our baby that I spent almost 24 hours a day laying flat in my bed. I took only sponge baths. But as I approached the stage of viability with my pregnancy (about 23-24 weeks), and got transferred to OU Children’s Hospital, the doctors encouraged me to feel free to shower. They called it “bathroom priveleges,” which kind of reinforced the feeling that I was a prisoner. But even then, I was still fearful of being out of bed too often and so I limited myself to one about every three days. Thankfully, it turns out that just lying around in bed doesn’t really make me that dirty (with the exception noted below- see next bullet), so my visitors didn’t seem to mind. 🙂
- Eat pork chops for lunch. You’d think that hospitals, as a place one visits to become healthier, would be on the cutting edge of nutrition. Turns out, not so much. The food was generally greasy and heavy – even vegetables were soggily sauteed in too much butter – and good luck getting any greens other than iceberg lettuce. I remember asking the doctor and dietician once, “what can a girl do to get some spinach or blueberries or organic yogurt around here?” (Answer: Nothing. Have someone bring it in – which I did. Thanks Stephanie, Amanda, and Suzanne.) Then, compounding the situation, at about 26 weeks, I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and my menu choices became limited to mostly proteins (hence, the pork-chops-for-lunch phenomenon). I relied on Nathan and other kind friends for some relief via home cooked and restaurant meals. (Sadly, even fast food seemed like an improvement!) Maybe someday the food activist community will make improving hospital food part of their mission.
- Talk to strangers about my bowel movements. Nurses are amazing for many reasons, not the least of which is their completely unabashed approach to having conversations about their patients’ regularity while doling out Colace. Now I understand that this crash course in Poop Talk helped prepare me for motherhood.
- Drop food all over my shirt like my grandmother. Just a tip: after eating with a bedside tray for two months, I don’t recommend giving someone breakfast-in-bed as a gift. Turns out eating in bed isn’t very dainty or relaxing. Doing so reminded me of my Grandma Rose, who, later in life, was famous for always getting little food crumbs and stains on the chest of her colorful handmade dresses. I thought of her often, and smiled, as I tried, and failed, to keep food on my tray and out of my sheets. Most of the clothes I wore in the hospital are now stained beyond repair.
- Sleep with 6 pillows. Generally speaking I prefer to sleep on my belly with no pillow. As any pregnant lady can tell you, that arrangement goes out the window early in pregnancy. Add the narrow confines of an uncomfortable hospital mattress and you find yourself requiring two pillows under your head, a body pillow on your side, a pillow behind your back, a cushion for your IV arm, and another one or two between your knees. It took me five minutes just to get situated every night, and then I got to repeat that process throughout the night when I woke up because my hip was asleep, or to answer nature’s frequent calls. After two months though, I had mastered the art of pillow ensconcement.
“You have to laugh at yourself, because you’d cry out eyes out if you didn’t.” – Indigo Girls, 1200 Curfews