incompetent cervix

Mamas on Bedrest: What to Do When You’re Not Really Sure What to Do

March 28th, 2014

Hello Mamas,

dreamstime_10202531Today’s Post is inspired by “Soon to be” Mama on Bedrest Cate. She wrote:

“I lost my first child at 23 weeks due to an icompetent cervix. I am now 6 weeks pregnant and will have a cerclage at 12 weeks, not sure how much bed rest the doctor will prescribe, but l am very hopeful that the cerclage will let me carry to 37+ weeks.”

I am always so excited for mamas when I get these messages. Having lost a pregnancy prior to having each of my children, I can hear the trepidation in Cate’s voice as she “hopes” she’ll make it to 37+ weeks (and most of all come home with a healthy baby!) But what’s a mama to do? At 6 weeks along and with a history of a miscarriage, you don’t really want to go broadcasting your pregnancy. Yet it is at this critical time that you need support to wait those long, agonizing, 6 weeks more to cerclage, then onto bed rest for what may be the bulk of your pregnancy.  This conundrum plagues many a mama. What’s a mama to do when she doesn’t know what to do? I say, take the situation in bite sized chunks. Here’s how.

Chunk #1-6 weeks to 12 weeks. In this first “chunk” you’re waiting to see if the pregnancy will hold on to the cerclage. On top of that, you may be dealing with morning (or all day!) sickness, fatigue and general malaise. During this chunk your mission (should you decide to accept it) is exquisite self care. This is the time to give your body all the rest that it needs. As your body forms and develops your baby, it is expending a tremendous amount of energy. Daily naps will be a must-whether you want to take them or not! Most mamas in this stage find that their bodies simply “clock out” mid-late afternoon, so if at all possible, see if you can somehow arrange at least an hour of rest during the day. If you have not already begun taking prenatal vitamins begin doing so (and I can recommend an awesome prenatal vitamin if you don’t already have one!). Pay super attention to your diet and do your best to eliminate the fatty, sugary and processed foods. (Your body may already be restricting what you can eat. If this is the case, get down what you can and do your best to make it as nutrient dense as possible!) And because this is such a stressful scenario, get support. I’m going for shameless self promotion here-Get thee to the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Facebook Community! It’s free, you don’t have to be invited and the community is full of mamas at all stages of pregnancy and bed rest who have gone before you, know exactly what you are going through and can offer better tips and support than any doctor or social worker! Visit often, chat it up, ask questions. Share your journey so that we can support you, cheer you on in the good times and lift you up when you’re down.

Chunk #2-12-approximately 20 weeks. In this chunk of time, you get your cerclage and have a few weeks of feeling pretty good before being prescribed bed rest. Typically the morning sickness has subsided and you are able to eat a more balanced, nutrient dense diet. The fatigue has mostly subsided as well. While you may not be showing, mamas who make it to this point often feel a real sense of accomplishment and begin telling friends, family members and co-workers that they are pregnant.

If you haven’t already, begin telling friends and family members your situation and start garnering support. If possible, set up a care and visitation calendar for when you are on bedrest so that you can not only have help for your family (partner) but also a regular stream of visitors to help pass the time and keep your spirits up. Talk with your employer’s human resources department as you may be eligible for some paid maternity leave. This will depend on the state you live in and the generosity of your employer! Learn what you are entitled to from your company and get any necessary documentation into the proper representatives. Get your affairs in order so that while you are temporarily “sidelined” your “life” will proceed as smoothly as possible. You may want to prepare some meals and put them in the freezer, pay up bills or at least get them onto online accounts, gather items you may want/need while on bed rest; extra pillows (a body pillow is a must!!), small bedside table, a small refrigerator or cooler for your bed room, a movie subscription, books or e-reader subscription, craft items and wifi so that you can keep up with the other Mamas on Bedrest!

Chunk #3-The Bedrest Prescription: 18-20 weeks. This usually comes somewhere around 18 -20 weeks, but I have seen women go as long as 22-24 weeks before being put to bed. The first few days to weeks are bearable, but for many women, as early as 2 weeks gets them feeling antsy. This is the time to put that care calendar to the test. Have that list of family members and friends handy and initiate that visitors schedule. Spend time online speaking with other women on bed rest. You may also want to start a blog or other memory marker to chronicle this journey and later share with your baby.

Chunk #4-20-26 weeks. This is the next big hurdle. If you can make it to 26 weeks, if you were to deliver, although small, your baby will have a fairly good chance of survival. He/she will spend a long time in the NICU, but they can survive. This is the first bed rest milestone to attain. How to get here? Great books, movies (netflicks or Amazon instant videos are lifesavers!), craft projects help pass the time. When you get to 26 weeks, be sure to celebrate with your mama friends online.

Chunk #5-26-28 weeks. 28 weeks is the next big marker.  28 weeks marks the onset of the third trimester. If you make it to 28 weeks, your baby is even stronger and more likely to survive should you go into preterm labor. Celebrate this important milestone-with your online community and with family and friends.

Chunk #6-28-32 weeks. The next big marker is 32 weeks. Again, the further along you go in the pregnancy, the better for the baby. Start winding up your projects as your bed rest time is drawing to a close.

Chunk #7-32-36 weeks 6 days. You may be thoroughly sick of bed rest by now, but getting this far along is a HUGE accomplishment! Your baby is growing and growing and his/her little organs are getting stronger and stronger. You may have your cerclage removed and the bedrest restriction lifted as most babies born after this point do well. But of course, The longer they stay in you, the less time they’ll need to spend in the NICU. If your baby is delivered during this time period, there are a few things you should know. If you are released from bed rest, “get your nesting on” as your little one will be coming any day!

Chunk #8-37+ weeks. Mama, you got this!! You have done an AMAZING FEAT!!! Your baby is “term” and has excellent chances of survival and excellent chances of having few if any complications. Barring any unforseen complications, all should be well! Congratulations Mama! Well done!!

If you found this “Bedrest in Chunks” approach helpful, tell us so in the comments section below. Did we miss something? Leave something out? Tell us that as well. Got a Question? Need more information about a great prenatal vitamin or other recommendation? e-mail us at info@mamasonbedrest.com.

Mamas on Bedrest: “Wherever I Am, I Will Love You Still”-A Book Review

October 25th, 2013

13473959522301251787406Bedrest is hard not only on mamas, but on entire families! No one is more upset and confused by bed rest than young children of Mamas on Bedrest. So I am thrilled to share with you, “Wherever I Am, I Will Love You Still”, by our own community member Rachel Blumenthal. Rachel spent roughly 20 weeks on hospital bed rest while pregnant with her daughter and had a young son at home. This book is a look at the bed rest experience through her son’s eyes.

I love having resources for explaining difficult things to our children. When I was pregnant with my son my daughter was 3 and I was prescribed “modified activity”. (I was actually prescribed bed rest, but since my husband was out of town most of the time and we had no family or other help, I bartered with my OB to rest as much as possible, but to be able to take my daughter back and forth to pre-school and to care for her when she came home.)  At first, she was excited when she learned that mommy had a baby in her tummy. But the excitement soon wore off as I got bigger and bigger and able to do less and less. One night when I simply couldn’t give her a bath and had to stand her in our master shower to bathe her she begrudgingly asked, “Mommy, when will you be done with this baby!?”

While Rachel’s son was far more tactful (at least in this story), it is sweet to see the things that were important to him and what made the bed rest journey bearable for him. This is a darling little book with sweet pictures and subtle details that really give parents a look at what a child thinks about this “bed rest thing”. While this book is written for children, I think every parent should take a good hard look at it (i.e. read and really think about it other than when reading it to your child!) and see what this experience really is like for a child. Rachel and her family really went the distance to make things flow for her son. I highly recommend utilizing some of her ideas for her son for your own children.

We can all attest to the reality that bed rest is a beast. It’s hard work and as much of an emotional toil as it is a physical struggle. I am really grateful for this book that comes from a mama who endured the struggle and now shares her wisdom “on the other side.” We need more voices sharing about the bed rest experience. Please support Rachel in the purchase of this book (available at Rocket Science Productions Launch Pad or at Amazon.com)

Rachel also wrote “One Recumbant Mommy” her personal journey through hospital bed rest. Look for this book review soon!

 

Mamas on Bedrest: Take a Look at the HealthTap App

June 5th, 2013

It’s Video Wednesday!

This week, I am taking a look at the HealthTap App. As you will recall from the last blog entry, HealthTap is a health information website that provides health information, tips and breaking health information. The site boasts some 40,000 physician experts from all 50 states and 128 specialties. HealthTap has just rolled out its new App and now consumers can have the convenience of health information at their fingertips.

The App is more than just an encyclopedia of health information. It is a way for consumers to store and track their own health information. This morning, I downloaded the app onto my iPad. The App then guided me through the registration process and enabled me to input personal information and preferences. I was able to “follow” doctors whose work I highly respect and often cite in my blogs and other educational information. I can contact my own gynecologist (who is a participating physician), ask questions of other physicians and get feedback on lab information, tests and other health inquiries.

I have to say that I barely scratched the surface of the HealthTap App. I am sure that it has many more functions that I have yet to discover. But I found it really easy to use, easy to read and easy to input and save my information. I think that this app may be a handy way for Mamas on Bedrest to chart their bed rest progress. In particular, when I think of mamas with cervical insufficiency, each time you go to the OB, you can chart your cervical measurements and keep track. If you have pregnancy induced hypertension or pre-eclampsia, you can track your blood pressures and/or urine proteins (if your OB has you doing urine dip sticks). And this tool is useful after your pregnancy as well; helping you to chart breastfeeding, weight loss, exercise, sleep, and other health indices.

Give it a shot. It’s free and fun (The Geek in Me was quite giddy playing with this!!).