Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tips & Tricks :: Surviving Hospitalized Bed Rest {A Guest Post}

Through an amazing Facebook Mom's Group, I met a fellow bed-rester when she posted a question to the group about her water breaking at 23 weeks pregnant. She and I connected through Facebook and began swapping stories and tips for surviving our (very different types of) bed rests. I asked Jess of Mama Drama to give everyone some tips for surviving a hospitalized bed rest. How difficult! I couldn't imagine being cooped up in the hospital for any period of time. But, Jess has some fabulous tips for survival - both for mama and for family!


Hi, I’m Jess from mamadramajess.blogspot.com. I’ve been sentenced to a slightly different form of bed rest than Lizzy- in the hospital, but with shower and bathroom privileges (so it could always be worse!) for up to 11 weeks. Currently completing week 2 of my sentence. While I am no expert, when you are away from home, there are a few things you need to figure out pretty quickly on how to survive in the hospital, so here is what I’ve come up with.

Managing Visitors
Most people can only visit on weekends, due to their work schedules. If it can be managed, having a few visitors on week days can help break up the monotony. If not, having visitors spaced out as much as possible is a great idea. Even though you might be bored and not doing anything all day, having a lot of people come visit can be exhausting- either emotionally or just because you aren’t used to so much stimulus. It can also put a real damper on the rest of your week, if you have 6 visitors Saturday and no one for the next 7 days. But pay attention to how you feel, some days too many visitors is better than none, and other days you may only want your partner with you. That said, always make sure you get alone time with your partner to connect and discuss things you may not be comfortable talking about in front of guests or other family members. Also, call the chaplain even if you just want to chat and not necessarily pray. They are very friendly and a new face always makes for a more interesting day.

Request food for your family. My husband has a demanding job, and just asking him to suddenly be the sole provider and daycare-picker-upper of our 3 year old is an intense change for him. Asking him to cook is almost out of the question. He and my son come every night to see me and after the first 2 nights of watching them eat fast food, the Mama Guilt set in. So, when well-meaning friends and family asked what I needed, I asked if they could put together some small freezer meals. The response was dramatic. Somehow, the entire school my husband and I both work at found out and there is a sign up list. We get 3 home-cooked, freezable meals a week. It’s insane how amazing our work family is. It has helped my husband, and it is great when he brings the food by, because after the first 3 meals, you figure out the only good food in the hospital is breakfast. (Bring Tabasco/Chulula/Sriracha/Tapatio ANYTHING to disguise the flavor of over-microwaved, prepackaged chicken breast… Btw, I’m from Texas, can you tell?)

You know, you could always make good friends with the nurses, MAs, and your doc so they can smuggle you left over food from office baby showers (that just happened, and it was the best bagel I ever had).

I do want to add, if you are on bed rest, studies have shown that you actually lose a lot of weight and this can increase the chances of your baby, who may be a preemie, being smaller. So I have tried to increase my protein intake. The only problem is, your appetite significantly decreases when you don’t do anything all day, so that has been a real challenge to eat more.

Talk to your doctor before you start any kind of physical activity. If you are on bed rest, clearly you are being asked to limit your mobility.

The internet is seriously lacking in variety on “bed rest exercises.” The main encouragement is avoid using abdominal muscles, and nothing too strenuous. After a week of doing nothing, 12 ankle rolls were exhausting. Also, bed rest can cause serious muscle loss after just 3 days, so any small amount of movement can be good!

Youtube and Netflix are my best friends. My hospital has good WiFi (videos never buffer) so I have a list of shows to watch. That said, I also have to have non-tech stuff to do while I watch. Those giant trivia/puzzle books are great, and I am currently trying to teach myself to knit/crochet on YouTube. There are also plenty of video tutorials on hair and makeup, and for Tomboys like me, this is like watching aliens learn to dance. Stick-on nails are fun, I don’t trust myself to not drop a bottle of nail polish in my bed (and I don’t want to guess how long it would take a nurse to come change my sheets). If you have a Nook or a Kindle, this is better than having a stack of books. Your bedside table can only hold so much, so very little is readily accessible. Friends who feel bad for you might lend you books, magazines, DVDs, or the best: their HBO Go password (Game of Thrones, anyone?) Also, every woman on bed rest I have met online has a blog. There’s a reason. We are bored and we have a lot to say! Try it, you might like it!

This is one I cannot figure out. Earplugs and eye mask have been requested and we will see if this helps. I sleep, I just can’t get to where I feel like I’m getting good sleep. Nurses come in every 3-4 hours to take my temperature and blood pressure and I am a light sleeper, so it takes a while to fall back asleep. I also think they check in on me in between since I had an incident on Wednesday where I nearly blacked out. It’s fun to scare nurses, that should be added to the entertainment section… joking! But seriously, I am trying to maintain a sense of normal schedule so I try not to nap more than 30-60 min a day, just in case that messes up my sleep more. I have been offered sleep drugs, but I am pretty sure that is not an addiction I need to start now with a preemie on the way.

The biggest thing you can do for yourself is keep your spirits up. Doctor Google is good for informing, but if you are feeling the doom and gloom set in, GET OFF THE INTERNET! Worrying and stressing and crying is ok for a little bit, but if you dwell on “what could happen,” you’re in for a really long, awful hospital stay. I have found that concentrating on the small good things helps- a food service operator that asks me why I don’t want more dessert, nurses that love to talk, family and friends who text me nonstop to keep me entertained, pooping… that’s a big one, eat your fiber, girls! Hopefully this post helps someone, and if not, it certainly was therapeutic for me! Thanks for the opportunity, Lizzy.


Thanks so much, Jess! I am so happy to hear that things are going well and that your little miss continues to grow!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for letting me write this! Things are a little different a week later, I did risk an open bottle of nail polish and survived it. :-)