Mamas on Bedrest: Meet Jennifer Spencer our May 2012 Mama of the Month!

May 4th, 2012

Incompetent Cervix is, unbelievably, the medical term for what put me on bed rest for nine weeks, which makes it sound like my cervix showed up to do the job and just couldn’t figure it out, like a terrible intern. I was irrationally terrified of any age-related complications that might come with having a baby at 34, not of having a short cervix. Because you never know how long your cervix is until you find out it’s too short.

Before bed rest, my husband and I were almost always “on.” Between networking events and political fundraisers and 14 kinds of tweetups every night, we were rarely home. Social media is my profession and my passion, and it’s pretty impossible to turn yourself off when you love what you’re doing. I knew we’d have to slow down for the baby, but never expected to have to come to a screeching halt. I thought I’d learn to appreciate the forced slow down and make the most of the time to reflect on my priorities, consider new strategies at work, and maybe even learn to knit. I had high hopes that I would handle bed rest with dignity and grace. Not exactly.

My husband prepared a day’s worth of healthy meals in a cooler and left it by the sofa for me every day. One day he forgot to pack a fork for me, and I tiraded for an hour. I would scream obscenities at the FedEx delivery driver who insisted on ringing the doorbell multiple times before dropping the package on the porch. I threw things at the TV when I’d see pregnant women in cute maternity workout clothes. I cried every single day.

But I did it. I stayed flat all the time, sitting up only to eat and walking only to the bathroom. And I checked in with other bed rest mamas online, cheering them on, letting their support carry me when I needed a boost. I reminded myself how lucky I was to have a job that restructured my duties so I could still work full time, to have a husband who learned to make incredible salads so I could keep eating healthy, and to stay pregnant week after week.

At 23 weeks, I went on bed rest. At 26 weeks my cervix hovered around 1.9 and stayed there until 32 weeks, when I was allowed to get up. I was weak, my belly was huge, but I was walking again and my baby was incredibly active and healthy. At 37 weeks, my water broke and Eli arrived at 7 pounds, 8 ounces, and happy, healthy, and strong. Now he’s almost 6 months old and I can’t believe how lucky we are to have such an easy going baby, and such a fun, amazing person in our lives.

Most people associate physical feats of the human body with activity, but bed rest is amazing, too. It’s an incredible sacrifice to make for someone you haven’t even met, and it is ridiculously difficult. But it’s survivable, and ultimately the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done.

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