Hello Dear Ones,
I'm writing this little update for you because so many of you care for us and have asked how things are going - and the easiest way to catch you up all at once is to come here. :)
Today will be bed rest day 4. We made it through the weekend without incident and it actually went really well... Rob was home the whole time (even yesterday since MLK Jr is a holiday his office observes). If you want to know what a hard-working husband looks like, stop by our house. Similar to the way he made me look bad when I was in London, our home this morning has never looked cleaner or more picked up! I'm not sure he sat down the entire time, and we even found ways to keep up on his daily runs when kids were gone or napping or someone else was here with me. I'm exhausted FOR him.
Since Friday I have paid very close attention to the signals my body is sending, and have used an app on my phone to track contractions. Bed rest is doing the trick - when I'm faithfully parked on the couch, I have gotten down to one contraction every hour (by yesterday afternoon the pattern was like clockwork, almost to the minute, if you can believe it). When I get up to grab food, or do something else for more than a brief amount of time, they pick right back up and I have a cluster of them. It depends on how long I stay on my feet, how much energy I exert, how quickly I walk around, and how calm or tense I am in general while I'm up, but regardless... they start to come more frequently and the longer I stay up and about, the harder it is to slow them down. So...
Our plan this week is for me to continue to rest as much as possible. We don't want to push it, obviously. I really don't want to land back in the hospital and endure more contraction-stopping techniques. My mom is coming over each day early in the morning and staying until Rob comes home from work so that I have a lot of help with the kids. And I have my next OB appointment on Thursday morning.
I feel good about the plan for the week, and where I am physically at this point. Bed rest is really awkward, and feels indulgent and also maddening at first. But as I've given it my best try and noticed how much it helps, it's easier to accept. Knowing that it's helping provide a safe environment for the baby to continue to grow and develop in is something I have to consciously remember.
Bed rest is a very interesting teacher. It has forced me to come face to face with the natural instincts I have at this time, since many of them conflict with what I NEED to do (rest). The instinct to take care of myself, to take care of the 3 kids under our care and under our noses, the instinct to reach out and care for others/my friends who have needs, the instinct to continue to be involved in ministry and in my son's classroom, the instinct to keep up with commitments I've made and relationships that are important to me that I love to develop by spending time... all of these things are pretty much coming to a grinding halt. It's hard to say 'no', or 'I can't right now', or 'this isn't what I thought would be happening yet'. It's humbling to have to scale back, to refuse to worry about what others think or how they will respond, to accept all the help you need when you're in this position, and to not feel guilty.
I had felt that strong urge to get my house in order, to nest and to take care of some things that needed tending to before the end of this pregnancy. And I was able to get most of it done just before last Friday, for which I'm so thankful. This process is always so fascinating to me, but one of the most frustrating parts that I've repeatedly found is how preoccupied I get with the pregnancy and impending birth and the months afterwards, throughout the last trimester. I think it's natural, and the way God wired us as women. When you're the one carrying the baby, there's a very strong natural instinct to prepare for this little one. Not just physically but mentally, and also within your family, schedule, etc. Maybe it's just me, being wired to forever be a 'planner'. But my thoughts are consumed for now with thoughts of the daughter we will meet and fold into our family. Thoughts about what her birth story will be, dreams about what she will look like and who she will favor as far as personality and quirks go, if she'll have the same milk allergy as her sisters... Thoughts about how in the world I will juggle the end of the school year with a newborn (HA, let me warn you, it's going to look messy). Thoughts about whether or not I'll ever be able to do a sit up or wear a bathing suit again (HAHA).
It's frustrating to know that these consuming thoughts are keeping me from being more thoughtful about other things. At first it's an unconscious shift. But now, I'm fully aware of how little I'm thinking about and doing for others. That feels uncomfortable. And with bed rest smacking me in the face with the complete inability to actually DO anything for others (much less myself) I have just surrendered to this place that I find myself in. I'm trusting that it's the way God designed it to be. For the care of the unborn baby, for the good of our family, for my own sake even...
So please don't feel badly if I don't respond or interact in the usual ways for a little while. I don't ever mean to be rude, but I am realizing how it might come across as such. The gradual pulling-inward that is happening is meant to stabilize and protect the vulnerable places and people I'm responsible for. :) I have felt so deeply appreciative of the love and care so many of you have shown me and my family lately, that it brings me to tears often. To be cared for when you have no hope of reciprocation is very powerful and deeply encouraging. Thank you so much!
Fun Facts About Bed Rest & the Pregnancy so far:
Currently reading: The Book Thief & Reconstructing Amelia
Currently studying: A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place (this session's bible study)
Currently entertaining myself by: becoming an expert Rainbow Loomer. I'm not especially proud of this fact. My kids suddenly have dozens of bracelets. I know which color bands are weaker on the loom, are more prone to breakage, and when they do snap I have gotten really good at weaving a new band back into the most intricate loom patterns. If you have a new bed rest hobby, I'm desperate for suggestions.
Currently eating: not a whole lot. Suddenly the appetite is nonexistent & food doesn't taste as good - that's probably for the best since I can't get up and grab whatever I want whenever I want it! My coffee is back to tasting funky again, too. This has to be the coolest part about observing the natural cadence of pregnancy - I don't need a lot of calories at this point but I do need a lot of water - and that's what I end up with for most of the day. (And if you know me, you know I hate water.)
Currently watching: Downton Abby & The Blacklist. Thank goodness for new episodes. Although 2 hours of TV each week is about all I can stay awake for at this point. Most nights I can't keep my eyes open long enough.
Current pregnancy side effects: swollen hands/knuckles/joints, especially in the morning. Lots of muscle pain at the top of my stomach (where the muscles continue to tear, perhaps?) and ligament pain under my stomach. Headaches. Difficulty falling asleep / staying asleep. Middle of the night trips to the bathroom are getting more frequent. Sleeping sitting up now. Forgetfulness. Emotional and sappy about the small things. Increased desire to circle the wagons, have everyone near to me. Fiercely protective, fear of something bad happening to someone I love, and very uncomfortable with loved ones traveling or being far from me. (This happens every single pregnancy, to the point that I find myself praying for friends taking spring break trips, and get sad and scared when family gets on a plane! It's kind of funny but also not.)
Currently obsessed with: trying NOT to pack my hospital bag. It's the last thing left on the to-do list, and it's way too early (plus I don't want to 'encourage' labor anytime soon). Oh how good it would feel to have that bag all nice and packed up in the corner, ready to go. To be that close to delivery... aahh!
48 minutes ago