My 83rd day of bedrest (June 27, 2017) was no different than the others but, as we were increasingly suspecting, life would be significantly changing again for us soon. So what did it look like then? What had I been doing for the 33 days I’d been in the hospital? Below, you’ll again find a loose schedule of my days, some notes that may help clarify how we made things work during this time and some tips for approaching people in our situation.
My typical schedule, on a good day, looked something like this:
5:00-6:00 am – Attending Physician/Resident’s rounds, IV flush, vitals, pills, attempts to sleep more.
7:45 am – “Officially get up”, call in my breakfast order, get dressed, brush my teeth, put on makeup and return to my bed. I noticed a lot of women on the OB Special Care floor wore hospital gowns and didn’t do their hair or makeup. While, really, it seems there is no point, I felt a lot better about myself on the days I was wearing actual clothes and had some mascara on.
8:00 am – Begin work. I remained working remotely for both part time jobs I held at the time. This very much kept me sane. It gave me purpose other than trying to remain pregnant. I would sit on my bed, chipping away at things that were being sent my way and trying to remain a part of the teams I was missing.
8:15 am – Breakfast. This was the one meal I didn’t mind ordering off the hospital menu. I quite often got scrambled eggs, toast, apple juice and a yogurt parfait (which I’d save for a snack later). I was, however, incredibly frustrated with the amount of time it took from order to delivery. Stating this happening at 8:15 is being nice. There were days my order was taken and my food would arrive an hour or more later. There were also days my order was taken and I received a completely different order. Did they not know they were dealing with a pregnant woman who needed to eat?!
10:00-11:00 am – Monitor time. For, ideally, only an hour each day, I was put on the monitor. This tracked contractions and baby’s heart rate, indicating whether all was well in there or not. I would typically be communicating, via text, with my husband each day what this time was looking like. Ideally the contraction line would be flat and the heart rate line would be fluctuating somewhere along the 150s. On days that were not going well, they’d keep me on the monitor until things settled down or I needed to be sent to Labor & Delivery.
11:30-1:30 – Lunch, IV flush, vitals, pills. Somewhere mid-day I’d put in my order for lunch. If you told me I had to eat off that menu tomorrow, I’d probably gag. For a place that’s supposed to be helping people get healthy, there were very few healthy meal options on the menu. I quite often would get an egg salad sandwich, baked chips and grapes. Grapes, bananas and apples were the only fruit you could get fresh. In fact, they were the only produce in general you could get fresh. All other fruits and all vegetables were clearly either from a can or frozen.
I also typically had a visitor somewhere around lunch time or in the early afternoon. I would sometimes do lunch or coffee with my visitors. Sometimes we’d go outside for a “walk” (a wheelchair ride for me). It’s a very humbling thing to be pushed in a wheelchair by a friend or family member – it made me feel helpless – and the stares you get when you’re in a wheelchair are sad. I’m in a hospital, for crying out loud, why are you wondering why I’m in a wheelchair? And a tip for those who have to push a friend or family member in the future… back into elevators. I can’t tell you how many times I faced the back wall while everyone else in the elevator followed proper elevator etiquette and faced the door.
1:30-5:30 pm – Work. I usually worked until my husband got there, which is later than I had prior to being a hospital patient, but with my visitors and nurse chats, I felt like I needed to make up some time.
6:00 pm – Dinner, IV flush, vitals, pills. Again, I was very disappointed in the hospital menu. When I had to eat off from it, my go-tos were quesadillas, macaroni and cheese with a side of broccoli I’d mix in or chicken tenders and fries. I eat none of these things regularly when I’m at home. In fact, after my hospital stay, I can’t even call myself a vegetarian anymore because I had to at least eat chicken in order to eat more than macaroni and cheese and egg salad for five weeks.
We were given several gift cards to the few restaurants we could get to with me in the wheelchair. These were so greatly appreciated. It was so nice to occasionally grab a meal that actually had flavor and eat on our own time, not needing to call in an order at least an hour in advance. We were also given several homemade meals. These were also a great change of pace for us.
7:00 pm – Outside time/Visitors. Typically in the evening we’d try to get outside. As I mentioned previously, I was only supposed to leave my room for an hour so I didn’t miss my meds/vitals/IV flushes. I soaked in every chance I got to be outside… until my water broke. At that point, I started second guessing whether I should be taking wheelchair rides or not. Every bump made me nervous. After a while, I preferred to only leave my room in the company of my husband who knew just how scared I was to ride in a wheelchair. We went from escaping whenever possible, to escaping only with my husband to, eventually, escaping only on smooth surfaces with my husband which meant no sidewalk which severely limited our areas of escape.
9:30 pm – TV/Read time. Ideally, my husband got to go home at night. He stayed each night that was questionable, but on good nights, he would go home and I would turn to either watching Parenthood on my laptop while crocheting/knitting or reading until my nurse’s last nightly round when I’d typically chat with her for a half hour or so. Praise the Lord for these nurses and their chats. Some were better than others of course, but I felt truly cared for by all of them. Not only did they deal with the nastiness that was my pregnancy with tact, but they talked with me like we were just getting to know each other – not like I was their patient or inferior.
10:00 pm – Nurse chat, IV flush, vitals, pills. I didn’t take every pill at every time noted. I also didn’t have vitals at every time noted – that depended more on my current stage. Regardless, below you’ll see what my wrist typically looked like, what my medicine cocktail often looked like and what my arms looked like the bulk of the time from IVs and failed attempts at IV starts.
11:00 pm – Bedtime. My bedtime became later once I was in the hospital since I could sleep in a bit after my numerous morning wake-ups by doctors and nurses.
Some seated hobbies I acquired/continued at the hospital were:
1 – Reading.
2 – Continuing to crochet dish scrubbies and knit dish cloths and then giving everybody and their brother a dish scrubbie or dish cloth.
3 – Making cards for people and/or writing thank you notes.
4 – Binge-watching Netflix.
5 – Chatting with my nurses.
Spoiler alert: This is the last post before things change significantly. Therefore, allow me to mention a few final stats that speak into this time.
I, myself, received 25 cards, 4 book deliveries, 1 balloon delivery, 5 flower deliveries, 2 donut deliveries, 4 Starbucks deliveries, 3 ice cream deliveries and 53 sets of visitors in my time as a hospital patient amongst several meals and gift cards provided for my husband and me. We had family mowing our lawn, taking care of our dog and even doing our laundry at times. Our village rallied something fierce. We will forever be grateful to know how loved we are – to know that in our weakest there is a strength surrounding us that’s far greater than you could even imagine. God blessed us with good ones. No, He blessed us with the best.
In the stats:
Gestational Age: 27 weeks, 3 days
Days of blood: 62
Days of bedrest: 83
Pre-Hospital Stay Doctor’s Appointments: 8
Days in the hospital: 33
IV starts: 6 (12 IV pokes)
Magnesium drips: 3
Trips to Labor & Delivery: 5
Sets of visitors: 53