I’ve been working on this post for a while. I feel like when you’ve been through something as trying as bed rest (and especially hospital bed rest) you should share ways you survived with others who may find themselves in a similar situation. I am in no way an “expert” on this topic; I’m merely sharing my experiences and what helped me survive bed rest.
I was on bedrest (at home) starting just before Christmas and was put in the hospital on January 31st for the remainder of my pregnancy. I honestly had no idea what bedrest was all about before I was living it. It is exactly how it sounds, a lot of lying around. I did three months of bed rest before the quints decided to arrive at 29 weeks 1 day.
I believe a huge reason I was able to make it to 29 weeks with quintuplets is due to being on bed rest. Not all moms are put on bed rest and some do just fine without it, but I don’t think my body would have held up as long with the extra weight of five babies if I’d been up and walking around all the time. So as boring as it was, I’m thankful my doctors were proactive and put me on bed rest.
Here are some things that helped me survive bedrest plus a few other suggestions.
- Blogging– blogging isn’t for everyone but I love it. I’ve had my blog for several years (way before we ever became parents to quints) so blogging about my quint pregnancy was a no brainer. Plus, since I was on bed rest, I wasn’t able to really socialize with my friends or family, blogging about my pregnancy kept everyone updated on how things were going. I also would blog about specific prayer requests and I know that’s one of the many reasons we have five healthy and thriving little blessings.
- Reading– reading isn’t something I enjoy doing but if it is something you enjoy doing, bedrest is the best time to read. You have nothing but time on your hands; the perfect opportunity to read several good books.
- Watching a TV series– I watched 3 seasons of Downton Abbey while in the hospital. It was so nice to put the DVD in and just watch it for hours and hours. There were very few distractions or interruptions so that made it even better. If you’ve ever wanted to bing watch tv, bed rest is the perfect opportunity.
- Company– I was so blessed to have so many people visit me while I was in the hospital. I delivered my quints in Dallas (3 hours from our home) so it was a pleasant surprise when so many of my friends and loved ones made the 3 hour drive to visit me. And usually when my friends visited, they brought food, which was such a blessing because after about a week or two of hospital food, I was ready to gag every time they delivered my food to my room.
- Crafting– I tried making Christmas stockings for the quints while I was on bed rest, but that didn’t last long. Laying down made crafting 100 times harder so I stopped, but it’s a great time to crochet or knit.
- Shop– It might come to a surprise to many, but I did very little shopping while on bed rest, but if shopping is your thing, you will definitely have plenty of time to do some online shopping.
- Work– If you have a job where you sit in front of a computer all day long, you may be able to work while you’re on bed rest. Unfortunately for me, I was a teacher, so I couldn’t work from home/hospital. But for some moms, this would be a great way to pass time, work your brain, and make money.
- Puzzles– I can’t tell you how many books of puzzles I had in my hospital room. Several people brought me puzzles to work on while I was lying around all day.
- Paint your nails– I hardly ever painted my nails before bed rest, but while I was on bed rest, painting my nails became something I enjoyed.
- Put make-up on– Make-up isn’t for everyone but for me it made me feel somewhat normal. I put my make-up on every single day, even though I knew I wasn’t going anywhere or doing anything, I put my make-up on every morning.
- Journal– I didn’t keep a journal when I was on bed rest, and I really regret it. You have so much time on your hands and you think you won’t forget things, but you will. There’s so much I wish I could remember when certain things happened with my pregnancy, but I just don’t. Write stuff down mamas….I promise you won’t regret it!
- Pictures– Take lots of pictures of yourself. I have a weekly belly picture but I wish I would have taken more. Also, record your belly when the baby/babies are moving. I never recorded my belly moving and I wish I had.
- Get Organized– Now is the time to get organized. You may not can do things yourself, but find someone you trust and give them the job of organizing things.
- Rest– Listen to me mama, I know you’re tired of laying around. You feel like you have plenty of rest to last you a lifetime, but you don’t! Trust me, when your little bundle of joy/joys arrives, you are going to be beyond exhausted and wish you were back in that uncomfortable bed again. Rest! Rest! Rest!
- Stretch– My entire body hurt while on bed rest, and not just from growing 5 babies in my tummy, I hurt from laying around all day every day for almost 3 months. Try stretching and moving as much as you can in the bed. There are ways you can work your muscles while laying down. I had an occupational therapist that worked with me while on bed rest and I loved her.
- Stay Connected– Bed rest is so alienating. I remember thinking how crazy it was that life just goes on without you…and it really does. While you’re laying around, everyone else is working, shopping, going to ballgames, going to church, going to school, going out to eat, attending parties and weddings, etc. My life felt like it had stopped and everyone else was carrying along as usual. It was quiet a humbling experience. But thanks to technology, you can stay connected. FaceTime is a wonderful way to spend time with others. Maybe you aren’t there physically but its so nice to see someone while you’re talking to them, especially when you’ve been stuck inside for a long time.
There are many other things that you can do to help pass the time while you’re on bed rest, I just thought I’d share a few that helped me.
Things to take/have at the hospital.
- Pillows…lots and lots of pillows. Let’s go one step further, you need body pillows. I had two body pillows while on bedrest and they helped me stay comfortable, or as comfortable as I could be after laying around 3 months and growing five babies in my belly.
- Fan – I was on bedrest from December until the middle of March…..even when it was freezing and snowing outside, I was still hot, blame it on the hormones. My hospital provided a box fan. Find out if your hospital provides a fan, if not, get one!
- Refrigerator – When you live in a hospital room for 6 weeks, you are going to need a refrigerator. Again, my hospital provided a refrigerator so check on that too.
- Quarters – The hospital I delivered at was 3 hours from our home. So Steven had to wash my clothes on the weekends at the hospital laundry mat.
- Electronic devices – You are going to get soooo bored sitting/laying around all day every single day, so take your cell phone, computer, whatever else you have to keep you busy and occupied. Don’t forget your chargers!
- Comfy clothes – I was not making any kind of fashion statement while on bedrest; I found the most comfortable clothes I could find and that’s what I wore.
- Bathroom items – You need to pack like you’re going on an extended vacation. Everything you’d take on vacation, take with you to the hospital, especially if you are a long ways from home.
- Shower chair– Again, the hospital provided this for me, but I loved my shower chair. I couldn’t stand for very long periods of time because my muscles were so weak from laying around for so long. The shower chair was a lifesaver. Plus I felt saver sitting in the shower rather than standing.
- Food – Hospital food gets old fast! Have some of your favorite foods on hand. After a few weeks in the hospital, I literally got to the point that I could hardly eat anything they brought to my room, so the nutritionist got special permission for me to get to order from a special menu. I was SO thankful for that!
- Movies – While on bedrest, I had a few friends suggest that I watch Downton Abbey. I watched 3 seasons and loved it! Bedrest is the perfect time to bing watch as much tv as you want!
- Thank you cards – People were so generous to us during my quint pregnancy. Take time during the day and stay caught up on your thank you notes before the baby/babies arrive.
- Heating pad – My hospital provided a heating pad and it was so nice for those aching areas like my back and shoulders.
- Moisturizers/chapstick – Take lots of lotion and chapstick to have on hand.
- Cheap house shoes – Hospital floors gross me out. Buy you so cheap house shoes and wear them around your room, then throw them away when you get released from the hospital.
- Going home outfit – Don’t forget to pack your going home outfit once the baby/babies are born.
- Camera – Take lots of pictures of your pregnancy and the birth of your baby/babies.
Best gift during bed rest:
Wondering what you can do for a mom who is on bed rest? Here’s a few things people did for me that I loved….
- Pedicure – I had a friend pay to have a lady come to the hospital and give me a pedicure! Talk about heaven on earth! Y’all it was so nice! Especially since I was big and pregnant with quintuplets!!!!
- Food – Let me tell you….not much can top a friend/loved one who walks in your hospital door carrying your favorite food! Hospital food gets old fast y’all! It’s not good to start with. So if you don’t know what to take, text the mom and ask what she wants for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! And don’t forget the dessert! She’s growing another human being…..or in my case…. FIVE humans! Feed her some good food and she’ll love you forever!
- Visit – Just a short visit with a friend or loved one can make someone’s day or week! Of course, a visit with food is better, but if you can’t take food, at least go say hi, say a prayer together, and let her know she’s loved and in your thoughts. If you can’t physically visit, text or call!
- Feed/care for her family – I can’t tell you how thankful I was to know people at home were taking care of Steven and Brady while I was 3 hours away in the hospital.
- Gift cards/money – You can never go wrong with a gift card or money. Steven was driving 300 miles a week to see me on the weekends, gas money got expensive, but thankfully we had so many wonderful people want to help us out and gave money or gift cards to help out with gas and food.
Bed rest is a slow, boring, and sometimes very scary time in a mom’s life so if you know someone who is on bed rest, visit them. Don’t get busy and forget about them. It’s such an isolating time, even if it is just for a short period of time. Just a simple text or phone call will brighten someone’s day.
One bit of advice I think everyone needs to keep in mind, especially when on hospital bed rest is be nice to your nurses! I had the absolute best nurses in the world while on bed rest. I loved every single one of them. They were so good to me. They would answer my questions and take the time to get to know me and chat when they had time. I learned during that time just how hard nurses work and my whole perspective of the field of nursing changed after 6 weeks on bed rest. Nurses are angels in scrubs. Treat them with respect and be nice to them. They are there to help you, so do your job to make their job as easy as possible.