Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Surviving the boredom of hospital bed rest

I'm currently completing my 6th week of hospital bed rest after my water broke early at 23 weeks.
The big question is, what are you supposed to DO all day?

Set a schedule
I think the first most important thing is to establish a schedule. My schedule revolves around eating and certain local TV shows (court TV, mostly). If you have regular visitors, scheduling around their visits can be good, but if they are late or early, you have to consider how much that will set you off. I find that not depending on people to keep a schedule makes things go more smoothly. The one day I expected a visitor at a certain time and they came a few hours later (for good reason), I found myself to feel extremely agitated and even a little depressed. Use something that you can control to set your schedule to. Clearly this will not be a strict schedule, as you will have vital signs taken, possible unexpected visitors, and hopefully the rare occasion where you find something to do that is so interesting you get lost in it.

Develop a support group
Hopefully, you have friends and family in the area that can bring you things from home or visit you with lunch.
In addition to real-life people, it helps a million times over to find a support group online for other women with the same or similar conditions as you. BabyCenter and Facebook are great places to start looking. The women (and some of their partners) in these groups can help point you towards resources, share stories of their experiences and give you an amazing amount of support. I don’t know what I would do if it weren't for the pPROM support groups I joined. Seeing pictures of their preemies that were born, comforting those whose babies didn't make it and just having a safe place in general to openly talk about bleeding, amniotic fluid leaks and not being able to poop is such a relief.

This has been the best time-consumer for me during my stay. I feel productive and I can educate my family on the different things I have learned while here. Topics to consider researching:
1)     Your condition. If you can manage to read a scientific paper, you might get new and useful info and if you are really lucky, let your OB in on something they didn't know about! Now, I have a degree in science, so published scientific research papers are probably a little easier for me to peruse than the general public. The best thing to do is use the official name of your condition and search it on Google Scholar. When you find a title of a paper that interests you, do not read anything but the Overview at the beginning, and the Results at the very end. Some data tables might be interesting, but the bulk of the info is in the first and last sections. *Warning: if you are still emotional and too freaked out, I would wait until you calm down to jump into the internet. Sometimes thing come up that are just too sad to deal with.
      2)     What to expect with a preemie/ baby in the NICU. The internet is a dangerous place for this. Micropreemies are some of the saddest pictures I saw and I could not deal with them for awhile. The BEST resource I have found for both preemies and your condition is the book Preemies: second edition by Dana Wechsler Linden, Emma Trenti Paroli and MiaWechsler Doron. It makes clear distinctions between conditions you or your baby may or may not have so that you can skip things that don’t apply to you, which the book encourages.
3)     Your insurance coverage. You now have time to wait on hold and ask your insurance what your deductible/ max out of pocket is. I recommend figuring this out and planning on paying the max out of pocket x2 (one for you, one for baby).
4)     First time mom stuff. Baby gear ratings/reviews/prices, breastfeeding (check out La Leche League and KellyMom), baby-wearing, cloth diapering, attachment parenting, other lifestyle choices.

Netflix has saved my life in here. I watch goofy comedies most of the time while I do crafts, and serious dramas when I am hooked up to the fetal heart-rate monitor or just want to zone out. (Favorite comedies: How I Met Your Mother, Parks & Rec, 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Dramas: Sherlock, Call the Midwife, Scandal, Walking Dead & Game of Thrones- FYI, last 2 not on Netflix)

Get permission from your doctor first. Bed rest exercises are few and far between online. However, Sit and Be Fit is on YouTube and in general you can do anything that doesn't use your ab muscles. Some insurances cover inpatient Physical Therapy, mine does not, so no idea how awesome THAT is. This is my YouTube playlist of bed rest exercise ideas, if you are interested.

Learn something new online!
YouTube is a great source of my favorite: crafting tutorials. I learned how to crochet baby hats from there with this video. It took me a long time to learn, I had to pause and take breaks from frustration, but I memorized how to do it now!
Also, Pinterest is amazing for craft ideas and tutorials. I order supplies from Amazon and have it shipped directly to the hospital. Note: Epoxy is a bad idea in a closed room like your hospital room (high fumes)

Create your own blog/vlog
You would not believe the number of people who start blogs or video diaries once put on bed rest. Ok, maybe you would… Try it, I do it mostly to keep family updated so I don’t have to deal with repeat questions.

Books and blogs are great. My favorite series of books is the historical fiction novels on England’s War of the Roses/Cousins from the women’s point of view. Phillipa Gregory’s series on the Cousins’ War. They are so entertaining (trigger warning: miscarriages are rampant in a few of the books). The Literate Housewife was so kind to a chronological order to read them, which I loosely follow.
Here are a few of my favorite blogs to read:
  • Pregnant Chicken: a hilarious, curse word- filled blog of funny and moving pregnancy and mommy stories and advice. Highly suggest for new/experienced moms.
  • Honest Toddler: funny posts from the perspective of an angry toddler
Most of these have Facebook pages, and Pregnant Chicken also has a closed group where you can seek advice. I love burning up time in Ask the Chicks answering questions. Because, who doesn't love giving your opinion on what the best stroller is?
Another FB page you should absolutely follow: Humans of New York

Online Giveaways
Google “giftcard giveaway,” or anything else you are interested in. The more specific the item being given away, the better chance you have of winning (I had a 0.12% chance of winning an Amazon giftcard, but one cloth diaper giveaway got me a 6% chance of winning). These are super time consuming. You have to like FB pages, follow Twitter & IG accounts, and comment on blogs. Here is one to get you started, ends on 4/15/2015.
 click to enter!

Online shopping
Yeah, be careful with this, your hospital stay is already going to be $$. I mostly buy craft supplies. If you haven’t bought baby items yet, I would say spend time price-watching. My FAVORITE website is CamelCamelCamel, where you can price watch Amazon items and set up an email to be sent to you when it goes down to a price you set (this can take months, but when it happens, it usually lasts less than 12 hours). I usually only do this for big ticket items like car seats and strollers.

Craft projects
Pace yourself! My goal every day is to do nothing for as long as possible. Otherwise, you end up spending $40 on craft supplies and end up finishing the project within 2 hours. THAT is the worst. And when you mess up, doing it over is the BEST, because now you get to kill twice as much time!
Yeah, don't do all the things. Hold off, there, cowgirl. (BTW, this is from a hilarious book I have been reading, thanks to a friend that lent it to me: Hyperbole and a Half. It is weird and goofy and I love it.)

How about you? Anyone have anything to add to the list? Does this help? There are always days where I just want to lay in bed and try to sleep, but it helps to have options.

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