*This is the ninth piece in my surrogacy series. Thanks for following along!
The #1 response from people who found out I was on bedrest was, “Aren’t you so bored?” Bored was not at all the term I’d use to describe it. You know how your brain turns on as you settle in to bed each night? And everything you need to do the next day (or week or month) races through your mind? That was my brain on bedrest.
Each person’s bedrest instructions are a little different, according to their situation and doctor. Mine included lying flat as much as possible, drinking water around the clock, a quick shower every other day, and keeping my stress level down.
Even though I was in bed all day and night, there was never a moment I was “bored.” Wonderful friends brought over great books and movies, I found TV shows I’d never had the chance to watch, there were lots and lots of texts/phone calls for updates and for touching base with my babysitters, and Pinterest and Facebook were wonderful sources of middle-of-the-night brainless entertainment. But on top of all of that, my mind was constantly wandering.
Having a smartphone that lets you Google every tidbit of information out there on your particular situation (24/7!) is a little dangerous. I wanted to read about every single person I could find who’d been in my shoes. I wanted to know how far along each person had gotten and how the baby had fared with each delivery. I wanted to know their secrets for getting past each milestone with PPROM. It was my constant “project” to find as much information as possible, so I knew what was going on at that point and what would need to happen (to me or to baby) with each “what if” scenario.
I texted often with the bio parents to let them know how the days were going, and the bio dad sent baby growth updates from an app on his phone.We loved seeing how each day made such a difference in this little one’s development. It kept us thinking positively and being grateful for each day we crossed off the calendar. Our first goal was to reach 24 weeks gestation. SO MUCH changes for the baby at that point. There is SUCH a better chance of survival. So, we just had to keep on keeping on until we got there. 🙂
*My parents made a fun basket of goodies for Jeff and me to share while we watched the Gator game from bed. It was so strange not to be at the home games. This little guy was throwing wrenches in our plans left and right! 🙂
In order to keep stress at bay, I had to take a medical leave from my position as the managing editor of Giggle Magazine (a wonderful local parenting magazine) because that type of work is deadline-driven, and the stress level goes up as print day draws near. I felt horrible doing this because we were just days from going to print (which is when I normally edit like crazy), but as I’ve learned, your body doesn’t care what your plans are.
I desperately wanted to stay calm and keep the baby in a relaxed atmosphere. I talked to myself in my mind a lot (I know that sounds crazy but it helped!) and would remind myself to breathe deeply and slowly several times a day. It made me feel like I was doing something to help the situation. I guess we never know what’s going to happen next, but as someone who likes to plan and be organized, this “wait and see” thing felt so bizarre to me. My mind and body wanted to be doing something proactive all the time.
One of the hardest parts of bedrest was being secluded from my boys. We wanted to keep their routine as normal as possible, so the sitters still came each day and stayed until Jeff got home from work around 9-10 p.m. My parents and aunt also took turns spending several days/weeks at a time at our house caring for the boys. I stayed upstairs all day (to the boys it was like I was at work), and each evening they’d come up to “visit.” I could hear them downstairs, which was wonderful and painful at the same time. I loved hearing their sweet laughter, but hated being on the outside of what was going on. But, we had to limit their time upstairs because, as little ones do, they wanted to bounce on the bed and jump in my lap and have pillow fights … not good for my stress level (or Jeff’s as he’d watch me try to protect my belly). We knew it would be worth this odd, lonely arrangement when a healthy baby boy was born!
In my last post about the surrogacy, I shared our experience with our first perinatologist and that we were anxious to meet with a new specialist. Our appointment with Dr. Gregg couldn’t have gone better! He was welcoming and positive, and we left in happy tears this time! He had dealt with PPROM many times before, and even gave lectures at universities on the treatment for it. He never once said that the baby’s demise was inevitable, or anything along that line. We discussed what we’d done so far during home bedrest, and he shared his plan for us going forward under his care. That’s all we wanted. Someone to tell us they believed the baby could survive this, and what we needed to do to give him the best chance possible.
I checked in to the hospital on a Monday morning. I was 23 weeks and 5 days along. We had made it four weeks on bedrest at home! Now, we were going to be monitored around the clock until baby arrived.
Jeff dropped me off at the entrance so I didn’t have to walk from the parking garage. As I sat inside waiting for him to park the car, I looked up at this gorgeous display of paper cranes. They were created by friends and loved ones for Joey’s Wings Foundation, a charity formed here in Gainesville after a sweet, local 10-year-old lost his battle with kidney cancer. I snapped a picture just to remember the emotional (but beautiful) moment.
I had my first of many (MANY!) fetal stress tests in triage and then a PCA took me to my room. Jeff put my bag on a small cabinet and my toiletries in the bathroom. I carefully climbed (scooted/eased/flopped) into the bed and adjusted myself to get comfy. This was going to be my home for a while.
Love (and rest) more,