Six LDS Writers and A Frog

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bed Rest is Boring

by Sariah S. Wilson

Only ten days to go. Ten more days, and this pain stops. (To be replaced by new pain, but we will worry about that a week and a half from now. At least the new pain will be bringing fun drugs with it.)

The end of this pregnancy has been unlike any of my others (isn't that always the way of things?). Since I apparently didn't have to pay in the beginning with buckets of vomit, I must now make up for it by being in a constant amount of pain all the time. Loads of fun, that.

It started a couple of weeks ago. I have the typical about-to-have-a-baby discomfort that most women have: going to the bathroom more frequently, not sleeping well, hips and knees hurt when I'm in bed, lower back aches, etc.

But the new baby decided to mix it up a bit. In addition to the above, I have this unending pain in what feels like my bones. It isn't the muscles; the pain goes deeper than that. I told my doctor about it and he conjectured that either the baby is sitting on a nerve (yay!) or that the baby is positioned just so to be putting an intense amount of pressure on my pelvic bones (double yay!). I can barely walk. I move like Quasimodo through knee-deep mud.

And of course, the doctor informed me that there's nothing to be done about it except staying off my feet and being in bed as much as possible. I laughed. I reminded him about my almost-two-year-old, who the doctor knows about considering that he's the one who delivered her. And the older kids want to eat and stuff.

Probably one of the hardest things for me is here at the end is when I get ready. I get out those baby clothes and get my home prepared. I will be in the hospital for four days, and this time my mother will be staying here at the house to take care of my kids for me so that my husband will be able to stay at the hospital to help me there.

So I want the house to be nice for my mom's sake, and I want it to be nice for when I come home to it.

My mother keeps telling me to stop working. She says she'll need something to do when she's here and she's more than happy to clean up.

My husband says for once he will stop caring about the house because he just wants me to rest.

Why do I feel so compelled to clean? It's not like my mom didn't live with me for 17 years. She knows I'm a slob and an inept/lazy housekeeper. I won't be embarrassed. Maybe there's guilt that she would clean it while I'm gone, and since she is doing me such an enormous favor that the least I could do is have the house nice for her.

I don't know why I'm pushing myself so hard and doing stupid things like reorganizing the linen closet and the bookshelves or the garage freezer. Maybe it's a nesting instinct. I don't know why I can't just back away, keep my feet up and eat bon bons all day. I can do about one thing on the house a day, and it completely wipes me out. But I am feeling good about accomplishing something.

I also think church is going to be out of the question for now. I just can't get comfortable in the pews no matter what I do, so I sit there in horrible pain the entire Sacrament. Then the baby refuses to go to nursery alone, and as I'm the only one without a calling during those time periods (and I had to ask to be released because I feel like she needs to be in nursery and learning that this is where she goes each Sunday) I have to go with her. My seating choices there are the floor or little tiny nursery chairs, neither one of which does me any favors. Last week I was nearly crying when some of the nursery teachers had to help me get off the floor.

And our couches in the foyer aren't comfortable and I can't exactly bring pillows and lay down out there.

So I think I might be skipping the next couple of Sundays. That's hard for me to do - my father is one of those people that you go to church no matter what. He could be without limbs and bleeding like that "only a flesh wound" knight from Monty Python and would probably still go to church. So you have a lifetime of upbringing to contend with, and the fact that my dad is in bishopric in my ward and while he's being loving and supportive, I feel like I know what he's secretly thinking. (This is magnified by the fact that with my last pregnancy I was told to stay off my feet toward the end because of dangerous swelling that I had in my left foot, but I was the ward librarian. I thought I should probably be released seeing as how I wasn't supposed to be walking/standing around, but my dad's solution was for me to get a chair. How am I supposed to function as a librarian if I'm sitting in the chair? He never could give me a good answer to that one.)

Then you watch a movie like "The Two Towers" and Aragorn falls off a huge cliff, gets beat up and cut and bleeding and still manages to get on his horse, go to Helms Deep and annihilate the bad guys nearly single-handedly. It makes me feel like a total wuss.

So my question is, if you've been on bed rest, how do you deal with the rest of your life? I don't have help other than my husband in the evenings, and he doesn't get home until nearly 7:00. So dinner and any cleaning pretty much has to be done by me. (Plus, if I'm going to call the Relief Society, I want it to be after I've had the major abdominal surgery. I'm sure things will be worse then and I'll need them more.) I want to just let things go, but I feel like I can't. Help - I need some words of wisdom!


At 2/22/2009 12:32 AM, Blogger Sandra said...

It will be ok. I promise. The pregnancy with the last baby I gave birth to did not go well. I was on complete bed rest, the do not get out of this bed unless you are coming to the hospital, type of rest for 3 months. The baby was born 6 weeks early anyway. This is how I handled it.

Relief Society 100% of the way. The sisters came in in the mornings after my older children were at school and took my 15 month old and my 4 year old and kept them until the kids came home. Then I had all the kids at home. The oldest one was 10. The kids would do their homework on my bed, we would watch movies- on my bed. I would sort laundry to go downstairs to the washer, on my bed. I would fold laundry, on my bed. I even made halloween costumes out of poster board and crayons- you guessed it, on my bed.
The RS would bring in a meal. If I needed something else they would do that for me too.

Because the birth was an emergency C-section, and he was a 4 lb. preemie in the dead of winter, I still needed help for 6 weeks after the birth. The RS still brought us food and babysat and did whatever I needed.

It was hard to watch someone else do what I wanted to do, or see the things that did not get done. My hands itched to mop my floor or even clean my toilet, but I could not or risk death for both my baby and myself, but I look back at the wonderful bonds of friendship that were forged when I gave someone the opportunity to have the blessings of giving service.

So my advice- watch those movies you haven't had time to watch, read those books, knit those booties, whatever. And let someone else give of themselves to help you out. It is ok. You need them just as much now as you will after. Have them bring meals in every other day or twice a week for now. Let your visiting teachers take the two year old for an hour or two. It is ok, hard, but ok. Your family will thank you for it, your body will thank you for it, and your baby needs you to do it.

At 2/22/2009 1:52 AM, Blogger Stephanie Black said...

Um, let me get this straight. You feel like a wuss because you can't live your life like special-effect-ified Aragorn? :)

The Lord doesn't want us to run faster than we have strength. So listen to your mother and quit cleaning that house!

I think it's harder for most people to be served than to serve, but it's just as vital to know when to accept help as to know when to offer it.

At 2/22/2009 4:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Sandra and Stephanie are both very wise. I started having labor pains at 14 weeks and it went down hill from there which was very frightening since I'd had premature twins with one in the hospital for eight months after we lost the other at three days. Besides that, we were moving when I got to six months. Don't worry about asking the relief society for help. I asked and the pres. said some very hurtful things about my husband and I and what we could do to be more independent. I had to choose between doing what she said and loosing my baby. We got our own help from church members and that baby just graduated as valedictorian of her college at BYU. It was worth it all to have a healthy baby and to be able to take care of her when we came home from the hospital together even though she was 5 weeks early. And I eventually got over the hurt, and it helped me to realize how much I wanted the church in my life and my daughters lives. You are a daughter of Heavenly Father and He evidentally feels like you deserve some bed rest or He wouldn't have you stay in the situation you're in--and maybe part of that is so the others can learn.

You've got ten days plus sometime afterwards, but don't let those ten days put you in a position where you feel you have failed or the church has failed you. Get the help for what you really need and forget the other like house cleaning (if you did get it clean would it stay that way?)and "enjoy" the rest. Hey, here's your chance!

Marlene Austin

At 2/22/2009 9:21 AM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Sariah, I understand the pain. I had a blood clot at 28 weeks with my last child and was in intense pain until he was born at 36 weeks. It is ok to stay home from church once in a while. For me I tried to make it a spiritual time - listening to uplifting music was the best. It was not only spiritual but it lifted my spirits. And then listen to Sandra and Stephanie and use the Relief Society. They need the blessings of service. BTW that baby boy turned 9 last Tuesday and was worth all the pain.

At 2/22/2009 11:46 AM, Blogger Sariah S. Wilson said...

Thanks to everyone for the advice. It's like I know what I need to be doing, but I still feel so compelled to be doing something else, to be cleaning up something! I have to think it's some sort of crazy house cleaning hormone.

And I think you guys are very fortunate to have/had the RS situations that you mentioned. Here in our ward, only one or two meals are permitted to be brought in when a baby's born. The only time I've seen a full scale mobilization like what you guys are talking about was when a sister came from out of state to see a medical specialist - people drove her to all of her appointments and picked her up. It seemed strange to me that we could go so full out and do so much for someone not part of our ward, but aren't allowed to do it for people who are actually in it.

But I do recognize that there are so many babies born in this ward and so many various needs that they had to limit what could be done and how much of it could be done.

I also think there is something of an idea among ward members that because my parents are in the same ward that I'll be well taken care of. To a degree that's true, but my parents still have four children at home (and four not at home). Both work full-time. I'm not the only child in the family giving birth this year, and it makes it hard on them to try and divide up what little vacation time they have to take care of the various needs. I can't ask them to sacrifice their well being (the ability to support their family) because I need them. I feel like I've had to do that too much in the past year because of our various medical emergencies.

I will try harder to take it easy.

At 2/22/2009 12:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just remember - Viggo Mortnesen AND Python's Black Knight BOTH had STUNT MEN to do the hard parts for them!

Consider your mother and your friends your stunt men - let them do the hard parts for a while!

At 2/22/2009 2:37 PM, Blogger Anna said...

I had someone in the bishopric come over and see how we were doing. I expressed that I we needed to get going back to church (had a baby Jan 9th). He said that it was normal to take a little time off, get used to the new baby and schedule. He said not to worry, but they were looking forward to when we did start going again.

I also grew up in a family that went to church pretty much no matter what. I even went the day after I had all 4 wisdom teeth out. But it's not like you're not going because you don't believe. You need to take care of you too. Just listen to church music on Sundays and try to make it feel different than the rest of the week.

At 2/22/2009 7:05 PM, Blogger Tristi Pinkston said...

And may I point out that Aragorn was not pregnant?

I'm married to one of those men who would go to church if he had to carry his severed head in a bucket to do it. But I've been working on him with my wicked ways. He's softening up even if he does fear for my soul.

At 2/22/2009 9:23 PM, Blogger Heather B. Moore said...

This is a time in your life that you need to let others help YOU!

At 2/23/2009 9:31 AM, Blogger Kerry Blair said...

I think Weston, et al, have already given you all the best advice. For what it's worth -- if anything -- I'll just add that I share your psychosis.

Every time I threw up during chemo I cleaned the toilet afterwards so my mother wouldn't see the mess and feel sorry for me. I'd lay on the couch in so much pain that I wished I were dead. Then my eyes would light on the mantel and I'd think, "I wonder how long it's been since anybody dusted that stuff."

Then I'd close my eyes for maybe three minutes before dragging myself over to ever-so-carefully clean old antique-y stuff that some other woman threw away sixty years ago.

In my spare time in the two weeks between treatments I ran a pow wow and proposed Whitney auctions.

I think we were born this way, Sariah. Although otherwise intelligent and reasonably functional, we possess an odd obsessive/compulsive gene.

Hopefully, researchers are working 'round the clock for a cure. In the meantime, write a book while the kids watch a movie. The only thing that helps me (even a little) is keeping my mind fixed on something quiet but productive. Otherwise, I spend every "down" minute wondering what I "should" be doing instead of lying there being sane.

Good luck!

At 2/23/2009 11:00 AM, Blogger Karlene said...

Ditto to everyone. I had to do the bed rest thing with my last. Lots of pain and discomfort. Literally thought I would die before it was over. But we both lived through it.

Let the RS help. They'll be happy to help now and later.

And your push to clean is probably an amplified nesting instinct. Ignore it.

Wish you the best.

At 2/23/2009 6:29 PM, Blogger Kathi Oram Peterson said...

You don't know me, but I just have to chime in. Relax, enjoy your kids, and ignore the dust. This too will pass, though I know it doesn't seem like it will right now. Or write a fanciful story, something about a pregnant woman with superhuman abilities. ;)

At 2/23/2009 8:56 PM, Blogger Sariah said...

I need a stunt double. Badly. These are the days when you think there just might have been something to that whole polygamy thing. ;)

Kerry, thank you for making me feel normal.

Kathi, I actually know you in a way that you don't know I know you. I tried to help out with the cover art for your first book, but I suppose none of the pictures turned out the way they wanted. I own a macuahuitl, and they wanted a cool pic of that. Unfortunately, no one here at my house is a professional photographer.

At 2/25/2009 4:10 PM, Blogger Alison Palmer said...

Why is it so hard for women to just take time out and feel sorry for themselves when they need to? I spent 2 pregnancies in bed where even my husband could hear and wince and my pelvis popping loose every time I moved so I sympathize with you and your pain. My 2 biggest pieces of advice: Choose your battles carefully. It it bugs you and still bugs you after a nap find a way to get it taken care of. If it bugs you and you've moved on to another item on your never ending list of issues you'd like to be able to take care of, relax it will still be there when your unpregnant. Two- have the sacrament brought in and forget about the rest of it. The church will still be true when your unpregnant, too.
Give yourself more credit. "Nesting" is hard work and there really is nothing more important than that right now.


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