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Nov 26 2014

How 16 Weeks of Bed Rest Taught Me to Ask for Help–And Be Grateful When it Comes

By at 1:45 pm

How 16 Weeks of Bed Rest Taught Me to Ask for Help

My son turns 8 years old this Thanksgiving Day. The last time his birthday fell on Thanksgiving was when he turned 2. I wasn’t with him that day. I didn’t get to see him blow out the candles on his slice of pumpkin pie. I didn’t get to sing “Happy Birthday” to him and I wasn’t there for his birthday party.*

Instead, on that day, I was in the hospital, taking care of my daughter. The funny thing is that I hadn’t even met her yet. Nobody had. I didn’t even know she was a she. I was about 22 weeks pregnant and we were already fighting with one another. I was fighting to keep her in and she was fighting to get out. Little did I know that I was about to spend the next 16 weeks flat on my back in a high risk pregnancy unit.

About two weeks earlier, I was going about my business taking care of a toddler and teaching my students how to read, when I was diagnosed with incompetent cervix. The situation was so dire that I was immediately sent to the hospital and the doctors didn’t know what the outcome would be. Ultimately, I had to undergo an emergency cerclage procedure. It was a scary and uncertain time, but now, six years later, I continue to be thankful for what I have and for what I didn’t know I had at the time. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 23 2014

The Twins Are Turning One!

By at 10:18 am

Cara-twins-one

I walked into a baby mega-store the other day and passed the clothes section. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made me stop in my tracks…the tiniest onesie 3-pack on a hanger. I couldn’t believe how small it was and checked the size: Newborn. I immediately felt a lump in my throat. My babies, my little girls, almost one year ago swam in the enormity of newborn onesies. I was momentarily stunned at the recollection of how small they had been and got ferklempt as I realized how far they have come in the last year.

Almost a year ago, at 35 weeks, I was on bed rest with pre-eclampsia. My blood pressure flirted with dangerous territory, and after a few weeks of “wait and see,” the scales finally flipped–it was safer for the twins to come out than to stay in. To this day I don’t have the words to express how worried I was from the moment that decision was made until the I heard my babies cry just a mere two hours later. Terrified is too mild a word.

Pepper arrived first. They opened my womb and we could hear her shriek as soon as oxygen hit her lungs. We named her well, I thought to myself. Elora arrived a minute later, and her healthy cry allowed me to take a deep breath of relief, a breath I felt as though I had held for 35 weeks. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 8 2011

My 7th Time Giving Birth & Everything Was Different

By at 11:28 am

My last pregnancy was when I was 41--but I'd already had six babies before it.

Over the span of 20 years and six children, my birthing experiences had run the gamut from gurney-hopping in the bad old days before labor and delivery rooms, to an unplugged, unmedicated delivery with midwives. But a few constants remained: my belief in prenatal exercise, my categorical rejection of C-sections, and my disdain for those who bottle-fed. My babies were plump from mother’s milk!

I was delighted to become pregnant at 41; my two previous pregnancies had miscarried, one at 20 weeks, in a serious hemorrhage. I breathed a sigh of relief as we passed that mark, and walked every day and ate nutritiously.

The first bleeding episode happened at 23 weeks, the second at 28 weeks, and the third at 32 weeks. I was diagnosed with placenta previa–the placenta was covering the cervix. Which meant I was in danger of suddenly hemorrhaging, putting me and baby in mortal danger. On bed rest, I was to stay in the hospital until 36 weeks, when I’d be c-sectioned, since a vaginal delivery was impossible.

When the placenta previa resolved at 38 weeks, I rejoiced that I no longer faced a Cesarean and went home to enjoy a few weeks of freedom. We made it to full-term! Feeling accomplished, I arrived at the hospital to give birth-–naturally. But the baby was transverse (instead of its head being down, its shoulder or back was down). Read the rest of this entry →

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