Pregnancy, especially the first time around is a mixed bag of emotions. There are so many hormones doing all kinds of things and your body changing in ways you never imagined it could. Add to that being bed ridden for five months of your pregnancy, it is not easy but then again nothing good comes easily. This is a difficult topic for me to write about as it is personal and I am just thankful that I made through it. I write because I looked for something or someone to inspire me and push me onwards when I was lying in bed being a human incubator. I hope that my experience reaches someone who needs to read it for that tiny little positive encouragement.
- Get an emotional anchorMy emotional anchor was the belief that ‘ I wouldn’t be going through all this trouble in vain. There is a blessing at the end of this’. This positive belief of mine helped me deliver a full term baby while the doctors weren’t so sure. When any doctor came to us with negative news we knew somewhere in our hearts that this is just a minor obstacle. At the time though it did scare us a lot especially since we were in a foriegn land and didn’t actually have a house or family there.
- Ask for help and get your support systemMy heart goes out to the women who have to go through this on their own. I was lucky to have a wonderful husband who rose to the occasion and was my rock. I was lucky to have friends who housed us even though they were new parents themselves and had a small baby at home. I was lucky to have parents who dropped everything, got themselves passports and visas and flew across continents for us. I was lucky to have doctors and nursing staff who helped us every step of the way, sometimes went out of their way for us.
- Talk to your babyTalk to your baby every step of the way, it will keep you sane. It will also give you encouragement because now you know who you are doing this for. Talking to your unborn child is also considered good for the child. I believe when you have a tough pregnancy your child also has it tough with all the invasive procedures, hormones and antibiotics. Also when you are in pain some part of the emotion must reach the baby too. One of the reasons I could bear through it was because I thought that it is better I take the pain than my baby having to bear it .
- Educate yourselfThe hospital provided me videos on how to care for your baby and how it would be taking care of a premature baby. I read articles, books and all material on how to care for my baby. Somehow I never wanted to read anything about my condition though. But I benefitted from reading about other mothers who had gone through bed rest in different forums though there weren’t many.
- Convey your needs to your friends, they might helpOne of the main problems I had was boredom. A rare visit from a friend to the hospital would cheer me up and help me spend another day as I was busy trying to cross of weeks as each passed week brought us closer to our goal. Another thing I missed in the hospital was food that I craved for, my craving was for Indian food and food in the American hospital just didnt cut it. Once my mother was with us which was about two months later, it did get better.
- Keep negative thoughts and people awaySometimes members in the family or friends who worry for you can do more harm than good. I didnt like to discuss or worry about my problems. I steered clear off the topic of my hospitalization when chatting or talking to friends. We would talk about other things in life and that kept me sane. When well wishers told me ‘Oh! this is nothing, so and so had a tougher time, so you will be fine’. Part of me wanted to never speak to them again because what I am going through only I and those around me know and the other part realised that this is their way of trying to help.
- Support your support systemWhile being strong for you, your support system also needs to be looked after. They also have it tough emotionally. My husband had to be strong for me and my baby but there weren’t many people he could rely on for strength. Also financial worries, worrying about getting a place to stay, worrying about furnishing it and worries about balancing his job and being with me in the hospital took its toll on him. I am not sure I if was able to give him any consolance but he did all this with perfection. Let them take their breaks too. My husband finally took a break on New Years eve when my dad reached from India. I remember welcoming 2013 watching a lone firecracker light up the sky from my hospital bed with my dad beside me.
- Keep yourself busyFind a hobby if your condition allows you to. I mostly spent time watching sitcoms and reruns. Towards the end when I was allowed to sit up for a while, I made thank you cards for all the nurses who had kept us going. I didnt want to read or watch anything that would upset me so my reading was usually comics and fiction. I also watched a lot of movies, enough to last me a life time. Soon your body will adjust to this new way of life and new routine. Look forward to small things like a piece of cake or dinner in the evening.
- Modesty, hmmmm!I spent a lot a time in a hospital gown and using a bed pan for abulutions. So whatever illusions of modesty I had, I temporarily let it go. It is alright, this too shall pass! Though at times I did look longingly at my shoes and dresses.
- Learn from thisEach experience in life teaches us and makes us better human beings. It has definitaly changed me and helped me appreciate the small things in life. I has also taught me not to obssess about things that can be fixed and are small considering the problems so many people go through in a life time. Also sometimes whatever the doctors say, tiny miracles do happen. Mine was one such miracle and I am grateful.
‘Motherhood is tough. It is not a job for everyone’ wise words said by my peaditrician on the second day of being a mother. I was whining about my sore nipples and looking at him in bewilderment as I thought the tough part is behind me. But now when my Baboo looks at me and gives a conspiratory four toothed smile just before he throws a pendrive from the balcony. It becomes worth it. Oh, did I mention, mothers are also a little insane!