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Bed Rest – Really Necessary?

27 Jan

“Bed Rest”. I think that these are two of the most feared words of all pregnant women. Many of us joke about how nice it would be to be sentenced to bed 24 hours a day/7 days per week; one long, uninterrupted nap sounds great doesn’t it?   But the fact of the matter is that bed rest is not only boring as all heck, it can be detrimental to a woman’s emotional and physical health.

I was sentenced to bed rest when I was 26 weeks pregnant with my darling daughter, lovingly nicknamed “P.I.T.A.” during my pregnancy with her. I was 50% effaced at that time, and her head was resting comfortably on my cervix. I was experiencing an immense amount of pressure “down there” and it felt like I was sitting on her head when I sat straight up. Really odd feeling. During my time on bed rest, I also had some bleeding issues but the blood was never coming from my cervix or my uterus, it was coming from my kidneys. I developed kidney stones and passed several grains. Apparently this is quite common in bed resting women.  My cervix grew to only 25% effaced by 30 weeks but my doctors kept me on bed rest, insisting that if I were to get up and move around that I would deliver a VERY pre-term baby. I was convinced that my body just works this way because I was 100% effaced and 1cm dilated by the time my doctor began checking me at 36 weeks when I was pregnant with my son 8 years prior. My new doctors weren’t convinced and they scared me into submission. Luckily for me, my mother-in-law was unemployed at the time and came over to take care of our house, our 7 yr old, and me, every single day of the week. She really saved me during that time. She cleaned, did laundry, and fed me. She picked my son up from school, entertained him, and made sure dinner was lined up for us. What she couldn’t do, was be my emotional crutch every waking moment. My husband was opening a new hotel and was working ridiculous hours as well as finishing his last semester of college. He was gone, on average, about 18 hours per day. When she left, I would immediately begin crying and I would cry, and cry, and cry, and cry until Kyle got home. I sometimes spent 7 hours straight crying my eyes out. I couldn’t explain my crying fits. I just DID. It just WAS. Aside from my mother-in-law, I had maybe 3 visitors the entire three months I was on bed rest. Maybe that had something to do with my crying fits. It wasn’t that I didn’t have friends, I had some great friends in Orlando. The fact was that bed rest was MY life, not theirs. They had lives of their own; children to care for, jobs to work, new boyfriends to entertain, businesses to start-up, schools to attend. People said they’d come but they never did. I don’t fault them for it now, I know that as my life had come to a screeching halt, theirs had continued on as normal. And why shouldn’t they? Their lives were the same, it was mine that had changed so drastically. Knowing that deep down in my heart didn’t ease the pain. It didn’t erase the fact that I felt alone, rejected, and broken; physically and emotionally. I ended up carrying my daughter to term. Rejoice all you want for me, I was ticked. I spent all that time trying to keep her in and when I was taken off of strict bed rest and placed on modified bed rest at 36 weeks, I still didn’t have her until she was 40 weeks gestation. All that crying and time on my back for WHAT?

This pregnancy, I was concerned that the same thing would happen. I spent the first 26 weeks of my pregnancy constantly worrying that I’d wind up on bed rest again with positive FFN tests and short cervix problems. 26 weeks came and I was doing perfectly fine. My cervix was a solid 5cm thick, which is GREAT! I was SO excited when I realized that every pregnancy truly is different and that this time I was going to be fine. That is, until 2 weeks later I wound up in the doctor’s office having the tell-tale cervical pressure that landed me on bed rest with the previous pregnancy. Sure enough, I had thinned out to about 25% effaced and was already 1cm dilated. The news rocked my world before the doctor could even talk. I began to cry, slipping back into a dark, dark place. But when my doctor opened her mouth to tell me my fate, it didn’t include strict bed rest. What she said was that more recent research shows that bed rest really has NO effect on whether or not a baby is going to be born early or not. She admitted to me that my time on bed rest with Madilyn was likely all in vain. She said that she wanted me to “take it easy” and for the sake of not having anything else to call it, she termed it “Modified Pelvic Rest”. My sentence was less like a high-security federal prison and more like being on parole. She did throw out my trip to the National Championship game (which we couldn’t have afforded anyways). She nixed our nightlife. She vetoed my vacuuming. She forbade me from lifting anything over 20 lbs. And she denied any more trips to Disney – just TOO much walking for one day. But she didn’t confine me to my bed, or even my house. She told me strolls in the park were fine. She said that light housework was fine. She simply told me to listen to my body and to keep myself hydrated and rested. She said that if I were producing the enzymes necessary to start pre-term labor, that I would go into labor whether or not I was on bed rest. The ONLY thing she would have done differently had my FFN come back positive this time, would be to give me a shot of steroids for the baby’s lungs, but my sentence would have never included “bed rest”. As we talked further she confided that often bed rest can be more detrimental for the mom and baby than beneficial. Kidney infections are rampant in bed-ridden women (I can attest to that), they tend to not be as hydrated (check), they suffer from depression that can affect the fetus negatively (debatable for me – Madilyn was PAINFULLY needy after birth), they are at risk for atrophied muscles (yep, as my knees scream in pain from my non-existent quad muscles), and according to her it really won’t make or break an early term labor (aaaaannd check).

I am SO, SO, SO thankful that my new doctor is up to date on her research. I would have absolutely bucked a “bed rest” prescription this pregnancy either way, but I didn’t have to and I can’t say enough how glad I am that she is a new doctor who is willing to embrace new ideas. I am beyond grateful that she trusts me enough as a patient to listen to my own body and decide when I’ve done too much for one day. It feels fantastic and empowering to have a doctor listen to me and to allow me to keep my pregnancy, largely, in my own hands. And I’ll say it again: I’m SO very thankful that she is up to date on her research. Her knowledge and education have perhaps saved me emotionally AND physically. I feel blessed to have found her, and I tell her that every time I see her.

If you’re on bed rest, talk to your doctor about the “new” findings (one study I found was from 2005, not really NEW information if you ask me). Take your own pregnancy, emotional, and physical health into your own hands. Connect with your body. Learn to listen to it and know when you’ve done too much. And never, EVER take what your doctor has to say without getting a second opinion; especially when the effects could be so detrimental. “When Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy“, believe me. I have suffered for the past year and a half with pretty serious depression but didn’t face it until very recently, and it all began when I was on bed rest.  I’ve struggled with very weak knees that threatened to blow out every time I stood up due to extremely weakened quads.  I’ve had two pregnancies with very similar issues in each. I am now 34 weeks pregnant, NOT on bed rest, and thriving. I fully believe the same thing could have been said during my pregnancy with Madilyn but I’ll never know. I’m now left to deal with the depression I acquired while on bed rest, all the while trying to raise two other kids and maintain “good wife” status while adjusting to life in a new state. While I may not be a doctor, I am an advocate for taking your health into your own hands. I firmly believe doctors all-too-often try to cover their asses in situations without considering the real problems at hand, the latest research, or the ill-effects of their medical advice.

I’ve included a few websites with more information on the new bed rest recommendations. Print them out and take them to your doctor. Take the initiative in your health. If you don’t agree with your doctor’s opinion or want a second one, GET ONE! Your doctor isn’t going to advocate for you; you have to.

Bed Rest May Not Be Helpful for Threatened Miscarriage

Bed Rest to Prevent Preterm Labor

Bed Rest For Pregnant Women May Be Harmful

Placenta Previa: Mamas on Bedrest, what it means when the placenta presents first.

Bed Rest May Not Help and It May Actually be Harmful


I’d love to hear your own bed rest stories or your own triumphs with pregnancies that were deemed high risk and then carried to term. If you have no choice but to be on bed rest or you decide that it really is best for you, make sure you connect with Keep Em Cookin.  It’s a fantastic resource for women on bed rest with lots of information on the signs of pre-term labor.

Good luck and healthy pregnancies to ALL!



A Quickie

18 Jan

I was put on “Pelvic Rest” for this pregnancy about 6 weeks ago. For those of you who don’t know what pelvic rest means, it means no fun after dark. No playing “hide the salami”, no dancing the horizontal mambo, no mid-afternoon “naps”, no more practicing for more babies (so what I’m already pregnant?), you get the point yet? Basically the reason for this is so that no more trauma is being done to my cervix that began dilating and effacing at 27 weeks. BAH HUMBUG! So like this week, we tried busting doc’s orders and it resulted in the tell-tale soreness and pressure in my nether regions. No bueno.

Then today, The Stir posted a titillating post called 5 Ways to Have Sex Without Having Sex. Ok, so these ideas aren’t completely brand new but they definitely revved my engine. My doctor doesn’t really want me to even have any uterine contractions if you know what I mean, but it doesn’t mean I can’t get excited about something, right? Check out the website for some fun ideas on how to keep things fresh in your bedroom, whether you’re on bed rest or not.

I Want my Body Back! (whatever that means)

22 Nov

It all happened way too quickly.  I was not pregnant and not looking to get pregnant one minute and the next minute I was most definitely pregnant.  Two pink lines and BAM.  My body began to change.  I went from being the head chairwoman of the “Itty Bitty Titty Committee” to Pamela Anderson Lee’s chest double.  I was 19.  Then my hips began to spread (even more) and my thighs became even more thunderous.  I was thick to begin with (save the lack of anything up top), so this journey even farther into womanhood was no fun for me.  I was athletic and fit but as soon as I got pregnant I gave all of that up, at least for a little while.  I gained 59 lbs while pregnant with my son.  I weighed 206lbs the day I gave birth to him and I was DISGUSTED.  I breastfed him for 9 months before he went on nursing strike, and during that period I only lost about 20 lbs.  I couldn’t believe it.  I had gone from gross to even more disgusting.  It didn’t help that I never had high self esteem to begin with.  That’s what happens when your mom dubbs you “Bubble Butt”, your dad always comments on how much more weight you could lose, and you’re on a dance team with a bunch of skinny minnies and your own measurements are 34-25.5-41.  Yeah.  No joke.  In any event, as soon as I quit nursing, I dropped the baby weight and was back to my “normal” (albeit still not skinny) self.  I even got my little boobies AND perfectly flat stomach back, although I’m not sure my hips ever went quuuiiiiiiiite back to where they were prior to pregnancy.

My favorite tattoo, which hasn't seen the light of day in almost 2 years, situated on big hips and a flat stomach. 1 year before getting pregnant with M. (note huge stretch marks on hips acquired while pregnant with #1. I love those now too)

Life handed me its own sets of twists and turns in the years following.  A divorce and another big break up later, I found myself caring more for me, handling my body with more TLC, and wanting to look fantastical again.  I had been diagnosed with PCOS which is a syndrome largely controlled by wacky hormones.  My doctor immediately put me on a super-strict diet and I lost 30 lbs just by changing the way I ate.  I then started working out for 2 hours/day, 5 days/week and got down to a size 10 for the first time since elementary school.  (Note:  I have not grown one inch taller since sixth grade.  Puberty came early for me and I was massively tall at an early age, I’m quite average now.  And for those of you wondering, I was a 12 – 14 in high school, at my most fit.)  I kept that trim (for me), muscular body for about 2.5 years, until Kyle and I started dating.  Roll in the happy weight.  I gained about 20 lbs over the course of about 6 months when we started dating.  Once again, I had never been happy with the way that I looked, even when I was working out all the time and looked great, so once those 20 lbs came on, I felt even more undesirable.

Note small waist and thunder thighs (6 months before getting pregnant with M)

I got pregnant in December 2008 with our daughter.  I had that extra 20lbs hanging on and was determined to not gain much weight while pregnant this time.  I was on a roll until I got put on bed rest for nearly 3 months and like BAM, I gained 80lbs.  Count them.  Eighty.  I won’t tell you what I weighed the day I had her because to be honest, I don’t even know myself.  I could tell that I was gaining weight rapidly while on bed rest and I didn’t allow my doctor to tell me my weight.  My best friend had always been exercise (so that I could eat whatever I wanted to), and because I wasn’t allowed off of my back, I couldn’t very well get that extra cardio in every day.  Change the way I eat, you say?  Yeah.  Screw YOU!  You’d eat cookies all day long if you were on bed rest too.  By the time Madilyn was born, I was HA-UGE (for me), and my boobies had grown to enormous proportions.  40E’s.  FOURTY E’S!  Just hearing that makes me want to run screaming in a different direction, leaving my boobs behind me.  I hated the pups but loved nursing so I kept on keeping on.  Gone were the days of low-cut sundresses.  When you have cleavage, you can’t wear nice things like that because you look like a floozy.  Crap, I couldn’t find ANYTHING to go over my new “girls”.  I know that, that probably sounds insane to some of you.  I know plenty of girls who have big boobs (real and fake), and that’s great for them.  My mom has implants for goodness sake!  But I’ve never, EVER felt the need to have a big chest to prove myself.  As a matter of fact, I can honestly say (because I’ve been huge and super-small), that I feel my most sexy when I have a small chest.  Perhaps that’s because my booty more than makes up for what I’m lacking up top.  Boobs just make me look fat, even when I’m not.

Me (left) and my crazy curviness (B's enhanced by superior bra). 6 months before getting pregnant with M.

I had planned on losing weight while nursing this time but it didn’t happen, yet again.  I held onto every pound that I had gained.  I have very few clothes that fit and can’t even bring myself to wear skirts and dresses (once a wardrobe staple) because my THIGHS TOUCH.  You ladies know how irritating that is, right?  I knew that I wanted to nurse Madilyn for at least 2 years but I wasn’t planning on staying fat forever so I decided that around her first birthday we would reevaluate things so that I could lose some serious weight.  The really funny thing is that when Madilyn was 9 months old, I got pregnant again.  My first thought?  “I’m going to be fat for at least 2 more years.  Shit.”  My second thought?  “I want my B’s back.”

(un)Luckily, I was super sick during my first trimester this pregnancy.  I lost 16lbs which sounds tragic to most mothers but it was

I like big butts

You can thank my husband for his obsession with my butt & this picture.

quite an accomplishment for me.  Granted I spent my days lying by the toilet waiting to heave up every last drop of saliva that I swallowed.  But hey, I lost 16 lbs so there’s a bright side to everything, right?  I was miraculously able to nurse Madilyn through the first trimester of my pregnancy.  I’m still not sure how because I wasn’t eating or drinking anything.  Right around her 13th month, I dried up.  I blame it on 3 months of involuntarily starving myself.  In any event, in a week I went from a 40E to a 38D.  I haven’t been this happy in my LIFE.  I still hate these puppies, they’re way too big for my taste but I’m much happier with them.  Now my stomach is growing again and I’m still at a 9lb deficit.  As big as I feel when I look in the mirror, I have never been more comfortable with my body.  I’m not happy being chunky but I’m comfortable with who I am.  My husband adores me and reminds me several times daily how happy I make him, how attracted to me he is, and how sexy I am.  Seriously?  I don’t get it but I relish the compliments.

I still long every day for the moment I can have my 34B’s back but more than anything I’m looking forward to having my curves back.  I think for the first time in my life, I love my non-proportioned body and I MISS it.  My “bubble butt” and my flat chest are what make me, ME.  I can’t wait for the day I can slip back into my size 10 jeans and size small T-shirt or my low-cut sundresses that don’t show cleavage (because it doesn’t exist).  But for now I am going to enjoy being pregnant, savor every nursing moment, and do whatever it takes for my body to build babies and produce milk.  I am going to do my best to not loathe my lumpy thighs and hips, despite walking by the stick-thin mommies with perfect pregnant bodies or the rail-thin chicks with 3 day old infants.  And I will love my big ole’ booty (when I get my skinny, small waist back).  Take THAT, Cosmo!

What I'm workin' with NOW (24 weeks pregnant)

STELLAR Discount Site

19 Nov

I am all about discount sites such as ZulilyTotsy, & Green Baby Bargains (just to name a few).  But today I would specifically like to tell you about my experience today with Zulily.  About two weeks ago, I ordered a pair of maternity jeans and a maternity shirt for a ginormous discount.  I received the package today and was very disappointed to find that my shirt had been sent on the hanger, and said hanger had somehow punctured the thin cotton shirt during shipping.  I immediately called Zulily (after tearing up for a second) to [skeptically] see what they would do for me.  I was not on hold for even one second when a gentleman answered the phone.  I told him my problem and he apologized profusely before asking me 3 simple account questions to verify that it was actually me.  Because Zulily is a discount site, he explained that they do not usually have the same item in stock but that he would check and ship it to me if they did.  Unfortunately, they did not have my shirt in stock but he offered to refund me the cost of the shirt PLUS an additional $10 for the “inconvenience”.  He also explained that because Zulily does not accept returns, (most major-discount sites don’t), that I could also keep the shirt.  The hole is right in the bicep but I think that with my creative juices flowing, I will be able to find a cute “fix” for the hole.  Perhaps I’ll mend the hole (not on a seam) and sew some buttons on the mended portion.  The credit showed up in my account within 10 minutes and I was able to purchase 2 Charlie Banana cloth diapers and only had to pay $7.95  PLUS, I get to keep my shirt.

ANYWAYS, I just wanted to share what an awesome experience I had with Zulily today.  The products that they offer are always quality and their discounts are seriously stellar.  I only receive one email per day so they are not at all overwhelming.  I am still in awe of the superior customer service that I received today.  I hope that everyone reading this will check them out, if not already signed up.

Three-Cent Thursday: 2 (19) kids and counting…(?)

18 Nov

Please tell me you’ve heard of the Duggar family?  I first heard about them when I accidentally ran across their TLC TV show “18 Kids and Counting”.  They have since added another child to the mix making their show, “19 Kids and Counting”.  And counting?  Seriously?  Their last child, Josie was born seriously premature and fought for her life for 6 months before being allowed to go home.the 19th child She is now 11 months old but still has to be hooked up to oxygen at night to sleep.  Her siblings have to tiptoe around her and the family is constantly worried about germs.  During a chicken pox outbreak at the Duggar compound earlier this year, Josie and her mom had to spend a couple of weeks at a rental near the hospital where Josie was born so that she wouldn’t be exposed to the virus.  Soon after, the family shared a cold and hand sanitizer became a way of life.  I’m all for sanitary conditions but this just compounds the way that I feel about this family reproducing any more.

Who am I to judge, you ask?  I’m a mom who survived 3 months of bed rest with my second pregnancy due to a 50% effacement at 26 weeks.  After living on my sofa for 2 months, I began to go crazy.  I thought about taking myself off of bed rest and just living life as regularly as I could without doing too much (more) harm to my fragile cervix.  Luckily I have a very supportive husband and mother-in-law who both took care of me in their spare time and who also insisted that I stay off of my feet.  My doctor did let me have one hour on my feet a day at that point (for another month).  Sounds great, huh?  Nope.  I can equate it to giving a diabetic a 2-lb bag of their favorite candy and telling them they can have 1/2 a bite per day.  It sucked and I swore I’d never get pregnant again, despite the fact that bed rest was successful and my daughter was born full term.  I didn’t want to put myself through the hell that was bed rest again.  That might sound selfish to you but it’s not.  I also have an older son who was 7 years old while I was on bed rest.  I couldn’t spend any time with him other than watching television (yay) and even that wasn’t a fun pastime for me.  I couldn’t bring myself to smile, laugh, or even feign interest in…anything.  I slipped, very quickly, into a pretty dark place with which I was not familiar.  I cried all day, every day that I was alone.  On the days that my mother-in-law came over, I was fine until she left.  Upon her departure I would bawl my eyes out until my husband got home around midnight.  That depression hasn’t left me 14 months after giving birth to my daughter.  I still find myself crying over nothing when I’m alone.  I still have to (almost quite literally), wind myself up to do housework or even get myself out of the house.  I can’t find the drive to write anymore.  I don’t have any desire to go to school. The thought of going to a PTA meeting makes my skin crawl.  Hell, I don’t even want to spend time with my friends because I have some (paranoid, I’m sure) delusion that they all quietly hate me and don’t really want me around.  None of this is me.  NONE of it.  Not one single word of it.  My point?  I’m not as good of a mommy right now as I could be.  This whole bed rest situation put me in a really bad position to be able to raise my children with the love, care, and attention that I think they should be raised with.  And guess what?  I’m pregnant again and facing possible bed rest situations…again.

I will be 24 weeks pregnant on Saturday and as of today, my cervix has shortened 2cm in 4 weeks.  It’s not as grim as it sounds; I was 5cm thick 4 weeks ago and am only 3cm now.  My doctor is only concerned because I shrunk 2 cm in a matter of 4 weeks and I am feeling the same pelvic pressure that I felt with my daughter before going on bed rest with her.  I have options if it comes to that but I’d rather not even discuss those right  now.  I’d rather discuss the fact that Michelle Duggar had 18 successful pregnancies before she had her nearly-fatal 19th pregnancy.  How must have that experience left her?  I have a difficult time believing that she is perfectly fine after that.  I know she has her faith whereas mine is on more shaky ground but c’mon!  Let’s be real.  Having a child born weighing just over 1lb and having to spend 6 months in the hospital is enough to change any parent.  I know that I would be absolutely nuts and I would probably have my tubes tied immediately to prevent any further heartache and/or wrongdoing to my children.  I knew that getting pregnant again was a risk but the biggest risk that I face, is having to spend a few months on bed rest.  I don’t have to worry about the fact that my body has already weathered 19 previous pregnancies and is tired, worn out, and older.

This will be my last pregnancy.  Why?  Because I don’t want to go through this worry and concern again.  After this baby is born, I want to get myself “right” and become the Summer that I was before I was put on bed rest.  I owe it to myself but more than anyone, I owe it to my kids.  I owe it to them to be available to them at the drop of a hat when they need me and to not have to mentally prepare myself just to be in their presence.

And THAT’S why I have a problem with the Duggars wanting more children.  So that’s my 2 (3) cents for today.

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