Mamas on Bedrest: Support for those supporting Mamas on Bedrest

August 12th, 2013

One of the most difficult things to do is to watch someone you love in pain. So for those of us who are mamas, imagine watching your child in pain? Most of us would gladly suffer any sort of pain or difficulty to spare our child suffering. But the reality is that our children are here on this earth on their own journeys, and those journeys include periods of pain and suffering.

If you are a member of our Facebook community, you know that we have been praying for and virtually supporting a Mama on Bedrest named Amber. Amber is a first time mama pregnant with a baby boy she has already named Christian. Amber has developed a severe case of Pre-eclampsia and is in critical condition. Her doctors have been doing everything possible to lower Amber’s blood pressures and to stabilize her body (under major stress and strain) so that Amber can remain pregnant for as long as possible and give Baby Christian the best possible start.

At the current time, Amber’s body has endured about all that it can and her doctors are determining at what point it will be necessary to deliver Christian. In the meantime, Amber’s husband Brett has had to stand by and watch, helplessly, as his wife battles for her life and the life of their unborn child. Likewise, Amber’s mother Kelley is watching in agony as her(bold italics) baby fights to give birth to a baby of her own.

While it is clear that Amber needs our love, support and prayers, we cannot forget that those around her, her loved ones, need love and support too! Studies show that caring for caregivers and supporters of those who are ill is as important (or more so) as supporting the ill family member! One must always remember, ill family members have a whole team of medical professionals tending to their every bodily need; they are feed, hydrated, medicated and a much as possible, kept comfortable. This is NOT the case for family members and loved ones! They are often keeping constant vigil at the hospital, maybe eating maybe not, are typically sleep deprived and sometimes have not showered or tended to their own personal needs in days. So as we continue to pray for and send healing thoughts to Amber and Christian, what should be done for her husband, her mother and other loved ones keeping vigil?

1. Bring nurtritous meals and snacks to the family. We all know that hospital food is less than tasty. Healthy, nutritious meals and snacks that require no heating and if possible no utensils are a great help to those keeping vigil. Sandwiches, dips (such as hummus) fresh fruits and vegetables, crackers or other flat breads along with water and juices are often best. Bringing such a meal in a cooler will enable loved ones to graze as they so desire. (often loved ones have little to no appetite, so it is best to avoid heavy meals and snacks!)

2. Come, sit and listen. Sometimes the best support is simply your presence. It’s hard to imagine the fear, anxiety and physical stress that Brett and Kelley and other loved ones are facing. So don’t try to wax philosophical. Let family members share as they need to. Hug them, hold them, but mostly listen to them. Sit quitely beside them. It’s not about what you (bold italic) do and how you feel doing it, its about being present for whatever support the family needs.

3. Offer to tend to matters at home. With all the focus on Amber and her baby, if there is a pet at home, they too are pretty stressed due to all the tension and change in schedule. Offering to walk and care for the dog or cat-or perhaps getting the pet to a kennel takes added weight off the shoulders of the family. Bring in the newspaper, collect the mail. Offer to do a light cleaning and tidying to the house. (Or pay for a housekeeper to come in and tidy up!) With all eyes focused on events at the hospital, it would be a great help to have someone handling the home front.

4. Help care for the older children. Many mamas on bed rest have older children at home. Imagine how confusing it must be to a toddler if mama is suddenly gone, you can’t see her and all the adults in your world are frantic? Likewise, school aged children may feel anxious because tasks normally done by mama are being done by someone else or not at all? Older children often hold tremendous guilt and anxiety for not being able to help or to ease the situation. If you cannot help at the hospital, perhaps helping at the home is best.

UPDATE: Little Christian was born on August 9 at 2:42 pm. He weighed in at 1lb 9 oz. Please continue to pray for Amber, Christian, Amber’s husband Brett, her mother Kelley and the rest of her loved ones keeping vigil for her in your prayers.

Mamas on Bedrest: The Power of Community

July 31st, 2013

In this video blog post,  I emphasizes the importance of being in community while on bed rest. No woman should travel her Bedrest journey alone. Today I am sharing how the Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond Community have come together in support of a mama in crisis. Mamas, you don’t have to walk this road alone! There is support. There are people, women, who know exactly what you are going through. Won’t you join us??

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!!).