Photo: Debra Cappadocia
“What are the chances you’ll go into labour this weekend?” asked my husband. He was weighing the risk of visiting his mom for a few days, who lives in a small town a couple of hours away. The plan was to take our three-year-old son with him.
“There’s, like, a two percent chance,” I replied. “Go for it!”
Real talk: I was 34 weeks pregnant and I had no clue what the odds actually were—but I sure knew that I wanted that time to myself. And with that reassurance, off they went.
After a Friday evening pedicure, I fell asleep early, but woke in the middle of the night in sleepy confusion. Suddenly, a contraction ripped through my belly...followed by another, and another, and another. This was my second pregnancy, so I knew the difference between Braxton-Hicks and real contractions—and these were definitely not Braxton-Hicks. These bad-boys hurt!
All alone and a bit scared, I called 911. At the instruction of the dispatcher, I unlocked the front door, put down towels and pillows, lay down, and took off my pants.
What followed was among the most embarrassing moments of my life, as the firefighters arrived first, then the paramedics, all apparently very confused as to why I was on the ground, pants-less and legs splayed, since the baby wasn’t actually crowning. I sputtered in confusion and mentioned something about following the instructions of the 911 dispatcher. A blanket was hastily thrown over me, and off we went to the hospital.
The doctors were able to stop the contractions, thankfully, and I was sent home. But after just one day back at work, I ended up back in the hospital with my lovely, lovely contractions. Diagnosis: Threatened preterm labour, aka prodromal labour. They recommended bedrest.
I'd hoped to be able to work right up until the day before giving birth, like I did with my son. But on the bright side, I figured I could at least gorge myself on my favourite things: sleep, books and Netflix. It sounded pretty good!
Spoiler: It wasn’t good.
Here’s what I learned in my weeks of pregnancy bedrest.
1. There is such a thing as too much rest. I love sleep. I could happily sleep 15+ hours a day. Somewhere in my ancestry is probably Rip Van Winkle and a cat. But apparently, even I can get tired of sleeping after just a few days of uninterrupted bed rest. Truly, bed rest seems like a dream to a sloth-human hybrid like myself, but I quickly learned that there really is too much of a good thing.
2. Bedrest is boring. I never would have believed it before, but there’s only so much sleep and binge-watching of Netflix a person can take before they start going stir crazy. I’m a bibliophile with a serious, almost obsessive passion for reading, but by the time I finished my fourth book, I was over it. No longer was I keen to peruse new releases and lists on my Goodreads account. In fact, it wasn’t long before I was actually looking forward to emails from work, just so I’d have a task to accomplish.
3. Bedrest + boredom = online shopping. Having a three-year-old means I rarely have opportunities to shop anywhere other than Loblaws (sob), so, like a lot of busy moms, online shopping has become my go-to source for retail therapy. But being on bed rest put my online shopping into overdrive. New earrings? Why not! New light fixture for the hallway? Go for it! New dress for my post-pregnancy body? Sure! But soon, boxes and packages were piling up on my doorstep at an alarming rate. My husband started complaining about my spending spree and joked that nothing was for him. So I ordered him a pricey craft beer subscription. Problem solved.
4. Bedrest didn’t eliminate my nesting urge. When I’m pregnant, my nesting urge is unbelievably powerful. I see opportunities to clean, organize and improve absolutely everywhere. Not being allowed to just get up and tidy that closet or donate that pile of old clothes was almost unbearable. So I convinced myself that I could revamp my small basement from the comfort of my upstairs bedroom. I ordered a bunch of stuff from Ikea’s website, then sent my mom to collect the order…and made her assemble and arrange everything. Yes, I’m a monster—but my basement looks fabulous now!
5. I. Am. A. Control. Freak. Bedrest really hammered home what a total control freak I am. I’m very lucky to have my husband and my mother available to help, but it was so, so hard for me to let them do things for me. Letting my husband grocery shop was huge. And when he bought the wrong grapes? My internal control freak cringed. When he chose an oval watermelon (I always choose round), I had to seriously fight the urge to say something. When someone is helping you, and all you want to do is fix how they’re doing it? Not my finest moment.
There’s nothing like bedrest to make you appreciate even the most banal parts of life. I missed work, grocery shopping and even cleaning my house. I missed taking my son to the park and gymnastics—heck, I even missed dropping him off at daycare and having to peel him off my legs like cling wrap. But it wasn’t long before my confinement was over. And now, when my sweet new baby wakes up crying for the fourth time in one night, I kind of miss bedrest, with all its boring peace and quiet.