So you are going to bed for a few months, probably to give your baby or babies the best chance at being healthy.
Here are suggestions for how to spend those long horizontal days.
1. Memorize Scripture (see below for suggestions)
3. Listen to sermons:
4. Write notes of encouragement to others who are ill, grieving, or lonely.
6. Find an old hymn book and sing praises to the Lord.
7. Read books on parenting. Shepherding a Child's Heart is a good place to start.
8. Watch Pastor Ted Tripp's parenting videos.
with great thanks to my dear cousin Sara!
ps. on the left is the result of her completing the hard work of bedrest...and don't let anyone tell you any differently, bedrest is HARD WORK!
Since the very beginning of my twin pregnancy, I was prepared for the possibility of delivering early. Though this is not always the case with multiples, it is common enough that you are prepared for it ahead of time. However, I NEVER expected to be put on hospital bedrest at 23 weeks. During my 3 month stay, I did everything I could possibly imagine to pass the time. Here are some things that helped me survive 3 months of captivity…
I kept my own routine. The one thing I never changed was my routine. Since I was working fulltime prior to bedrest, I was used to getting up early. During my hospital stay, I would wake up at about 6:30am to order breakfast, take a shower, put on a little makeup and fix my hair. Continuing my morning routine made me feel better mentally. I also felt less like a patient because I was keeping my OWN schedule, not theirs. In addition to doing my own routine, I also refused to wear hospital gowns. Again, this is about trying to keep things as normal as you can. From the very beginning, I always wore my own pajamas and clothes and stayed comfortable during my entire stay.
I set a long term goal and focused on it daily. In an effort to remain in a positive state as much as possible, I began to change my way of thinking in order to survive. Like most moms-to-be on the high risk floor, we had one common long term goal…stay as long as you possibly can. Now why in the world would we have a desire to do that you ask?? It’s simple…the longer you stay the less time your baby has to stay after birth. Everyone in the NICU will tell you that babies typically go home when they were originally due. That means if Jr. was born 3 months early, chances are, his stay in the NICU after birth will be 3 months long (if he has problems, it can be even longer). When you think about it that way, your entire outlook on bedrest is MUCH more positive.
I savored the word of God. God’s word is amazing!! I’ve always enjoyed reading the bible and find it inspiring during every season of my life. Here are some of the scriptures I especially held close while I was pregnant:
I prayed for this child, and the Lord has granted me what I asked of Him.
-1 Samuel 1:27
“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
Fear not, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, I am your God. I will strengthen you; I will help you, I will uphold you with My victorious Right Hand.
In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.
I sought the Lord, and He answered me; He delivered me from all my fears.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him.
Let everything that has breath and every breath of life praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- Philippians 4:13
I did whatever it took to stay calm and centered. Each week, my high risk OB would visit to let me know how the boys were doing and to update me on the things they were doing on their end to ensure the pregnancy remained uneventful. Occasionally, the NICU staff would come and give me a “pep talk”. For example, they would often say…”Do everything you can to make it to 28 weeks. By week 28, this and this is developed, so the risk of this condition or this disease is much less.” So each week I did whatever it took to stay calm and centered. First and foremost, I prayed daily for God to surround my children with his protection. I called friends and family to help me stay motivated or to schedule a day when they could come visit me. I even began writing my feelings and expectations in a journal. Basically, I just worked on staying emotionally, physically and spiritually healthy.
I brought books, magazines, my iPod, a laptop and a journal. You will not survive bed rest without these essentials. Bring some books you love, ask your friends to bring magazines they are finished with, bring an iPod full of your favorite music, pack your laptop and most importantly…bring a journal!! The first four are self explanatory, but the last is something many people may not remember. Journaling is an excellent way to get your feelings out on paper. If you have to be there for the long haul (like me), having a journal is a must. I honestly did not realize how much I was stuffing inside in order to be strong for the two lives growing inside me. Journaling gave me a way to express my feelings instead of weighing myself down with them.
I LOVED daily visitors!! Everyone knows that hospital food is YUCKY!! For me, it really wasn’t about not wanting to eat what they prepared but rather the fact that I didn’t have an appetite at all. My body was being pumped with magnesium sulfate 24/7. Mag is basically a smooth muscle relaxant which slowed my digestion and made me feel fuller longer. When I did manage to eat something, I wanted the food I really liked. So every day, my mom would visit me at the hospital and bring me a homemade peanut butter sandwich, fruit and whatever else I felt I could get down. It was nice because I knew that every day I would at least have one visitor. After our hour was up, I was able to relax a bit before my husband came back from work and could join me for dinner. My husband also lived with me at the hospital which was super nice!!
I stayed busy. Ok, so you’re stuck at the hospital and can’t leave for days, weeks and sometimes months. Guess what?! It’s the perfect time to catch up on those thank you notes!! I sent out dozens of thank you notes from my hospital bed. I also re-routed one of my baby showers to be held on site at the hospital. Of course it wasn’t the best of locations, but the hospital staff helped set up a private party room to make things cozy and everything worked out quite well. When all of that was finished, I moved on to planning the nursery. I was able to have a laptop in my room which made it much easier to shop online. Though I would have preferred to actually GO shopping, online shopping became a wonderful blessing for me!!
I made a to-do list and assigned everyone a job. Did you end up on bed rest before the house was clean and ready for baby? No problem. While you’re planning your new nursery or shopping online, make a to-do list as well. Write down EVERYTHING that needs to be done and then ask for help. Family, friends and people from church offered to help me in any way they could. By the time I arrived home, everything was in order again.
We ordered out occasionally. Like I said before, hospital food is yucky. Treat yourself when you can by ordering out from your favorite restaurant! As a matter of fact, I even went on “dates” with my hubby while I was on bed rest!! My husband would order pizza and have it delivered to the hospital and then we would sit back and enjoy a movie on TV. Hey, who says you can’t have fun while living in the hospital?!
I had spa day!! In every pregnancy there comes a time when your belly is so big you can no longer see your toes. So what’s a girl to do? My advice is to ask a friend or even your hubby to help out. If you have a good relationship with your stylist, maybe they can even bring their services to you! This is exactly what happened with me. I’ve been going to the same stylist for so long that she offered to come up to the hospital to help me out! I simply put a note on the door of my room asking for privacy for about an hour and voila! Not only did that hour recharge me, but it helped relieve some stress and allowed me to have a little me time, which I really needed. Meditation is also a good way to pamper your mind, soul and body.
Extra extras, read all about it!! Some additional things you might want in your room are: pictures of family and friends, plants from home, your own slippers (the floors are cold and yucky), extra pillows, all of your personal care items, headphones (especially if you have to share a room).
Psalm 94:19 When my anxious thoughts multiply within me, Your consolations delight my soul.
Psalm 56:3-4 When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You. In God, whose word I praise, In God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.
The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge. He is my shield and the hornof my salvation, my stronghold.
For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help.
One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit
God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.
Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you;he will never let the righteous fall.
Though you have made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me.
Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him,
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. 5For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God
Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
1 Peter 5:6-7
Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.
Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.