Bedrest My Way

photoWhen my doctor told me that I needed to go out on bed rest, my whole world collapsed around me. Not that I wasn’t already aware that this was inevitable, but I was so proud of how far a long I had come in this pregnancy without having to go out. With Little Miss A, I was out just shy of 12 weeks. With my little man, around 15 weeks it was declared that I settle down for the long haul. In both previous pregnancies, it was a lot easier of a decision, if even at all a decision. I simply had the luxury to do so.

With pubis symphysis separation, once you have it, you’re pretty much guaranteed to have it with every pregnancy. As the weeks crept by, I actually believed for a little bit, that I just might have gotten lucky this time. I was even able to do Disney with little trouble!  Unfortunately, it was already written in the stars for me. At 23 weeks, I dismissed what I wanted to call ligament pains, but it quickly progressed to excruciating pain. While I wasn’t keen on taking any medications, even safe over the counter medications with my previous pregnancies, I also wasn’t working a very labor (pardon the pun) intensive physical job like I am now. Popping high dose Tylenol around the clock was all that got me through the day. I thought it would be relatively safe since my prior OB had generously prescribed Percocet, a narcotic, to deal with the pain.  Unfortunately with new guidelines and research, I could only do that for a week before doing serious damage to my liver according to my doctor. It simply wasn’t a solution for the long term.

So you may ask why I am so stubbornly opposed to being on bed rest. Quite frankly because it sucks. It sucks physically, mentally and emotionally. Physically because I will be bound to my bed, doing nothing but eating and getting fat. Also because of my heart complications with this pregnancy, it makes it so much more physically taxing. My symptoms tend to heighten when I am resting and since I will be resting all of the time, I pretty much will feel like I am dying every minute of the remainder of the pregnancy, as opposed to only at night.  Not to mention being pregnant, comfortable sleep already alludes most of all.  I struggle nightly to find a comfortable position that doesn’t aggravate my pelvic bone.

Mentally because I need to be doing things, other than watching soap operas all day and surfing the internet until the sun comes up.  As everyone knows, I always have about 50 things going on at any given time and being forced to put some of that on hold is driving me crazy!

Emotionally because I will feel bad for letting everyone in my house do everything I usually do and them resenting me for it too. Yep, I said it. My being on bed rest sucks for my family. Of course they want me to have a healthy pregnancy, but it does increase their workload and stress level having to deal with two children and working full time. My husband, who recently snapped under the stress of two overly active children, actually called me a lazy ass who lies in bed all day or sits in front of the computer, not lifting her fingers at all. This is me, not on bed rest yet and imposing my own version of modified bed rest to ward off the inevitable diagnosis. Can you imagine the wrath when I actually go out on bed rest and really will be a complete lazy ass doing nothing but lying in bed and sitting in front of a computer all day? I know a bunch of you are already calling him a douche bag. But it was a bad day and I’ve already given him hell for it.  You are absolutely right, he has no idea what a split pelvis feels like and never will. He would never be able to physically handle the pain, but I also don’t even let on to exactly how painful it really is for me.   I am trying my best to put on a brave face.  Grin and bear it and make the best of a very difficult situation.  But its inevitable. My being on bed rest also means additional financial strain on the family. I couldn’t even begin to explain the very complicated medical leave I have at my job, but losing a substantial paycheck is hardest on him.

So what is one to do with this very complicated conundrum of being told to go on bed rest when really it’s not the best situation in any light? You compromise! One of the things I love most about my job is its flexibility. Already ideal in its 3 day (sometimes 4 day) work week, where I can bang out the equivalent of a 40 hour work week, I also have an interesting paid time off structure. My goal is to work as long as I can without tapping into my FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) and not jeopardizing my job security at the same time. My goal is to take it week by week and utilizing intermittent family leave when necessary, I am not using my short term disability leave, rather I am securing my job and taking days off when I need to without fear of losing my job for too many sick days. Also in my favor is flexible scheduling where I will still continue to do 12.5 hour days, but I will not be scheduled for any consecutive days, allowing me time to recover. This is especially important after a very physical day on the labor & delivery unit where it can take me up to 24 hours to recover in bed. On days when I can barely walk, I will take an intermittent leave day using my Paid Time Off. Hopefully with no consecutive work days I can avoid this as much as possible, but it is nice having the option if need be. My promise is to try and be on bed rest every day I’m not working and promise if the itch occurs that any “trips” will be less than 50 steps from a car or form of transportation to a seat or resting spot.  Yes even my family knows me too well.  I can’t sit still for long.  I get cabin fever pretty easily.  If I ever feel like I can no longer keep my patients safe, I will recuse myself and go on permanent bed rest for the remainder of my pregnancy.

Medically speaking, the one good thing about PSS is that the condition does not affect the welfare of my baby in any way. It is only physically taxing on me, PSS is extremely painful, some comparing it to worse than childbirth, but will likely not cause anything like preterm labor if I am careful.

I don’t know what the coming remainder of my pregnancy will bring, and we ce can only foresee that my condition will worsen as I get closer to my due date, but the goal is to get as close to my due date without exhausting my Paid Time Off and maximizing my FMLA benefits to 12 weeks post delivery. So while this isn’t bed rest per-say. This is bed rest my way.  I’m crossing my fingers that this will stave off full bed rest at least for another month.  Wish me luck!