Monday, February 28, 2011

I Caught a Case of the Crazies!

I am a total wreck today--and let me just specify--I don't feel like any ordinary, fender-bender collision, but more like a commercial jet plane catastrophe.  Imagine a pregnant woman, in solitary confinement, two night's sleep deprived, completely dependent on everyone else for her physical and emotional survival.  Today, I am envious of those women.

Now imagine Yours Truly--this is my third attempt at being released on probation and I am anxiously still awaiting my doctor's interpretation of my test results from this morning.  I am simultaneously crashing, hallucinating, and twitching from all of the sugar I have ingested since 6 am this morning (my 5 month glucose tolerance test does not hold a flame to the present situation at hand).  If you still can't conjure my Night of the Living Dead reference, add the following components: crazy sugar high bed rest preggers on steroids+possibly false illusion of hope+anxiety ridden with intermittent hot flashes from pg hormones+staring at the same four walls for three weeks.  The outcome equals a not-so-pretty picture.  

Everything is making me cry today: I sobbed when I didn't receive the nurse I requested and started a mini-revolt with the nursing staff; tears erupted when I did not receive my whole wheat French toast as requested, and after I received a less-than perfect score on my ultrasound, the crazies were finally unleashed (how did I not receive a grade A?)  After I cried on the phone to my mom, she consolingly suggested that I request to the nurse (who by then decided to ignore my calls) a soothing cup of chamomile tea.  Chamomile tea was not gonna cut it...

So, I am armed, ready, and dangerous to confront Doctor Conservative that at 33.3 weeks, it is totally normal for a baby to fail the four-minute breathing section of the test.  However, like always, his professional rationale will ultimately conquer my feeble, twenty-minute Google attempt.  I am trying to anticipate his daily visit, in which he will tell me yet again to hang in there, pat my feet, and bid adieu until tomorrow.  As I try and try to imagine this scenario over a celebratory I-get-to-go-home-victory-bed dance, I know that there is nothing that I can do to prepare myself for the inevitable tears once again.  

My only hope is that this time around, the nurses won't transfer me to a padded room, revoke my good patient privileges, and I will eventually find a cure for the crazies....

Another Jail Break Attempt?

Why have I been up since 4am downing water, coffee, and every processed sugary item in my jail cell?  Why is my IPhone strategically positioned on my tummy, blaring 80's rock music?  I have another ultrasound scheduled at 7am and this baby needs to be up and moving.  He doesn't just need to be awake, he needs to be training for the baby Olympics, because this morning's ultrasound could possibly be his poor mother's last chance at FREEDOM!!

I am beginning to despise that damn proverbial carrot that has been looming over my head for the past week.  Is it healthier to just accept the fact that I will be hospitalized indefinitely until the arrival of Baby J or to have constant glimmers of hope every few days that I may possibly be released on house arrest?  

On Friday, my hopes and dreams were viciously shattered as baby J absolutely refused to cooperate and is already displaying acts of defiance (shouldn't he wait until he is a teenager for that phase?)  In a nutshell, my AFI (amniotic fluid level index) have been stable, since I have been admitted.  Because of this, my doctor thinks that my premature rupture sealed over (which is great news, but a pretty rare occurrence once the water breaks). On Friday, if my AFI had again been stable, I was to be released.  However, as many of you know, that was not the case.

Three days ago, I woke up ten minutes before the arrival of the sonographer and was probably a little dehydrated, with no food or sugar in my system (maybe I am rationalizing the outcome?) .  When she measured my AFI, she could not get a good read because Baby J was fast asleep and REFUSED to move out of the way.  In last-minute desperation, I devoured five tootsie rolls, blasted my IPhone in hopes that he would start dancing, and the US tech even administered a bit of shock therapy with her mini-buzzer.  I watched in both horror and fascination as his only response was a languorous opening of his mouth, expressing an I-couldn't-care-less yawn, ending with sticking his tongue out rebelliously (both the sonographer and tech laughed hysterically but I did not share their humor).  Needless to say, my AFI levels (9% compared to a stable 12%) were not up to par and doc ordered a repeat of the tests for this morning.

This morning, I am already feeling him perform somersaults and cartwheels--this baby is wide awake and the sonographer needs to arrive ASAP before he is fast asleep again!  Keep your fingers crossed!!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Other Incarcerated Incubators Unveiled!

Well, it certainly took me long enough to discover how to use the internet and reach out to other hospital incubation mommas (I will refer to them as IMs from this point forward).  Before this experience, I minimally used the computer for non-work related issues and am embarrassed to admit, had little knowledge of searches that didn't involve Google.  Finally, after relocating my thinking cap since it was lost on my elementary school's playground, I came up with the ingenious idea of reaching out to other IMs through popular baby websites and the responses were a bit overwhelming.  I have finally uncovered other pockets of this underground society! 

I was contacted by another IM, (I still don't know her name or where she is incubating) who is having a very similar experience and is also humorously blogging away about all of her hospital escapades (her blog is  She also experienced PROM (again, not the celebratory prom that is the culmination of high school) at twenty-three weeks, was being poisoned from high levels of magnesium sulfate, and lives in constant fear of having her bathroom/shower privileges revoked for negligent behavior.  Unlike my experience, she has been incarcerated for eight weeks (after reading about her trials and tribulations, I am thoroughly inspired by her spirit, character, and humor).  

She sardonically describes occupying a cell near the emergency room and learning to interpret the different codes, which are blared daily on the hospital intercom (still trying to investigate the mystery behind Dr. Red?), describes a weekly socialization hour, in which her antepartum buddies are all invited to a conference room to discuss different subjects (I would love a socialization hour here!), and quips about her Christmas tree still being up at home and her house being in shambles (I can totally relate!!)

I still have yet to follow up with a few other IMs who have responded to my post.  However, one of them wrote about her hospital providing an "antepartum services booklet", which lists an array of mobile service providers such as hair stylists, masseuses, and nail salons (I feel another project coming on!). This same IM also related to my blog about giving up control and even compared her pre-incubator-self to Meg Ryan's character on Harry Met Sally, who neurotically takes fifteen minutes to request a very specific lunch order.  Another respondent shared a quote which pretty much sums up this whole experience:  "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning how to dance in the rain."

So, in between my bouts of visitors today, I plan on gathering more information on these IMs and discovering their secrets to how they have coped thus far.  Also, I have finally connected with a fellow hospital incubator, who is renting space three doors down the corridor, third cell on the right.  I request wheelchair visits to her room, where we swap stories and ooh and ahh over the knifty knitter, like cave women discovering fire for the first time.  Will keep you all posted on my fellow Best-Rest Buddies!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Botched Jail Break

Warning--this blog will lack cheeriness, wittiness, and will probably be devoid of humor.  Nonetheless, I feel the need to write about my day yesterday and express via blog just how utterly hopeless I felt...

Yesterday was the second time this week that I was almost discharged and able to continue bed rest from home.  The first time that my hopes were destroyed, of course I cried but then quickly realized that the doctor's decision was the most beneficial one for me and Baby J.  Yesterday, when my expectations were shattered yet again, the nurse tentatively entered my room, hating to be the bearer of bad news (all of the nurses thought that I had a very high probability of being discharged).  After I was initially hit with this shock wave, the faucets were on in full regale and turned into a marathon-meltdown that probably woke up every sleeping baby within the hospital.

Prior to the news, Jon and I had our entire weekend planned from the confines of our house (and happily ending our long distance relationship that didn't even permit conjugal visits).  We already selected a movie to watch from our comfy, chaise-lounge couch, decided on a food delivery feast, and were so excited about the prospect of falling asleep next to each other in our bed.  He had planned on finally retrieving the lounge chairs I'd been asking him to pick up for months (so I could lay in the sunshine in our backyard), and continuing our happy little hubbie and wifey home-life.  I was thrilled at the idea of resuming my daily routine of waking up in my own environment, showering in my bathroom, and selecting what I wanted to eat from my kitchen.   I wouldn't have the nurses constantly checking my vitals every few hours, dealing with the hit-or-miss hospital food, and I would have escaped institutionalized life.   

So, yesterday morning, as I eagerly anticipated my discharge, I allowed what I thought to be my final series of tests to conclude without a single complaint.  At 6am, I gingerly allowed the nurse four needle-poke-attempts to find a non-disrupted vein without one squeal of protest,  patiently sat through the hour-long ultra-sound, as the sonographer trained a new tech, distributed magazines and candy to the other inmates, and packed up my hospital room.  I have remained in this very space, in bed, for eighteen days and am now thirty-three weeks pregnant.  I am so ready to be home!

While I know that home bed rest would have presented its own challenges, I would have diligently followed my doctor's orders to move around as little as possible--I would have even crawled to the bathroom in an effort to stay off my feet.  Also, I would have abstained from cleaning, cooking, or even trying to boss my husband around (although he is slowly realizing that our house is not a self-cleaning oven).  OK, I know that I am begging to a non-existent panel of jurors-but I was desperate!

After receiving the news that I would not be going home, I turned off the lights, silenced my ringing phones, cancelled my well-wishing visitors, and sobbed to the point of dehydration somewhere close to three hours (it has been about five years since I have cried for that duration).  When my mom offered to visit after work I turned her down, but she insisted on showing up anyway and did her best to cheer me up.  

Even though I have repeatedly joked about the comparisons to being an inmate in a minimal security prison, I actually began to feel a tad envious of those incarcerated.  I disclosed to my mom that at least in jail, inmates are allowed to venture outside for a few hours a day, have opportunities at socialization with other inmates, and are allowed to leave their cells to day-trip to the cafeteria, library, take classes, etc.  I don't even have those privileges!   

I know that this is the best place to be and they wouldn't keep me here if it was not necessary for the well-being of Baby J.  However, if one more person points out this rather-obvious fact and tells me yet again to keep my spirits up, they will be black-listed from my jail cell.  Despite my occasional mini, sometimes not-so-mini meltdowns, I think that I have been doing a pretty good job of staying positive and recognizing that this is not a life-threatening condition for me or baby.  There will indeed, be a happy, storybook ending in which a perfectly groomed white stork will deliver an adorable blue-blanket-wrapped-bundle-of-joy.  However, until that ending, I will be exposed to periods of solitary confinement, institutionalized hospital life, and something akin to purgatory in which I am viewing my life progress from afar minus the main character.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A Greek Salad Tragedy

Two weeks ago, I encountered a hospital lunch delivery of a beautifully prepared Greek salad, adorned with romaine lettuce, feta cheese, tomatoes, onions, olives, and of course Greek dressing on top.  Since consuming this mini-masterpiece, I began requesting it on my meal card on a daily basis.  As the days progressed, my Greek salad hopefuls resembled little of the original and the impostor salads frustrated me to no avail.  Finally, over the weekend, I decided to express my aggravation (in a nice, but assertive way of course) to the meal services department and was a little shocked to discover that the concept of a Greek salad was completely Greek to the woman on the other end of the line.

My inability to prepare my own meals is just one example of many that have been completely and utterly out of my control since being in confinement.  During my pregnancy and even before, I would ardently discuss my concerns about having a baby with my friends.  My friend, Jessica and I would ruminate about our biggest anxieties having a baby would entail.  Jessica admitted to a fear of sleep deprivation while I feared having to let go of some of my controlling, neurotic tendencies.  I often wondered:  Would my house remain perfectly spotless?  How would I find the time to exercise?  Would I still have the time to cook wholesome meals?

My daily schedule, life, and ritualistic behavior was based on a carefully collaborated model, in which I was the solitary enforcer.  During times when I felt out-of-control, the full fledged OCD would kick into overdrive, and I would diligently clean everything within my personal radius; cook and bake until my kitchen literally kicked me out, due to overuse of equipment, smoke, and heat; and exercise for no less than an hour at the gym (think: Courtney Cox's character, Monica, from friends).  I would then have anxiety that I had unhealthy behaviors and fanatically try to balance these unhealthy tendencies with healthy ones such as eating well, trying to get enough sleep, etc.  Like I have blogged before, I am the first to admit that yes, I have issues!

The first few days of being chained to the bed, I was pained both physically as well as emotionally. I had no other choice but to wave my white flag of defeat and surrender complete control of my life in order to guarantee the well-being of incubation Baby.  This initial defeat was accompanied by a tumultuous tsunami of anxiety, as I thought about every facet of my now-abandoned life that had either been taken for granted or overly controlled.

Eventually, after I succumbed to my situation, my anxiety significantly lessened, and now, it is almost nonexistent for the first time in my life.  I began to realize that the more control I believed I could exert over my life, the more of an out-of-control spiral I weaved.  Now, that I have absolutely no control, I have minimal anxiety. My daily schedule lies in the hands of the hospital staff, including the time of day I take my medications, my good-patient privileges, and even when and how the meals are served.  My house, bills, and errands are now managed by my husband; the responsibilities of my job have now been dispersed among my boss and colleagues; and my mom helps pick up the other scattered pieces of my life.  The one thing that I still  can minimally control is that I am feeding Baby J good nutrients and following the Doctor's orders to remain in bed the majority of the time.

As the days passed by, I eventually came to accept the fact that my coffee may sometimes arrive lukewarm with sugar, instead of Splenda; my French toast may arrive on white bread, despite my bold, obnoxious letters, which scream FRENCH TOAST ON WHEAT BREAD ONLY; and my turkey sandwich request may be mistaken for ham (of course all of these casualties are much preferable to ice chips!).  However, after I sat on the phone with the food services department and patiently explained the intricacies in making a Greek salad, she delivered and it was delicious! And, if I never received my perfectly fantasized salad, I would have eventually gotten over it.  To my amazement, my complete rendering of control does not signify that it is the end of the world, but quite the opposite, the beginning of a new life....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Taking a "Sick" Day

To all of my loyal Blog-lovers: No, I have not extracted my baby and yes, I am still stable.  I had quite an eventful morning/afternoon and the incubation chamber is in need of a little R&R.  Since writing my blog, it has captured the attention of the some of the hospital staff, including the Public Relations Department.  They decided to contact Channel 10 news to ask if they would be interested in covering a story about life in the antepartum unit, my blog, and some of the trials and tribulations both patients as well as nurses face while being in this state of purgatory.  So, late in the morning, I had the pleasure of having an interview with Kristi Krueger about these very topics (I never thought that I would be making my TV debut in a hospital bed!). The segment will air in late March, and I promise to keep  everyone posted.


For the rest of the rest of the day, I plan on tuning out and tuning in to some good old-fashioned tube time.  I plan to eat my chocolate, watch the Doctors, Oprah, and Ellen (and of course Channel 10 news).  Adieu until tomorrow’s blog!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bed-Rest Exercises, Arts and Crafts, and Other Activities

To all of my fellow best-rest preggers out there--pull your hair into a ponytail, turn up the Black-Eyed Peas on your I-Phone, and let’s get this bed-party started!  Of course, please refrain from moving an ounce of your body off the hospital bed while performing any of these activities!

Disclaimer: I must strongly advise against doing any of these exercises without the consent of your doctor and a physical therapist.  Also, if you feel fatigued, discomfort, or contractions, immediately stop, lay on your left side, and drink plenty of water.   

I.  Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Oh My! 
Ask the nurse for two water bottles, weighing approximately one pound each.  If water bottles are not available, ask the housekeeper for two full bottles of the hospital’s antibacterial hand sanitizers (these are usually placed in holders throughout the hospital).  If you still strike out, be creative and look around your hospital room and even ask the nurses for suggestions.  Also, you can use a resistance band (from home) and tie it to the edge of your bed.
1  Baby-Holder Biceps: In a reclined or even upright position (again if you are allowed) perform simple bicep curls while holding a water bottle in each hand.  Perform about 20 reps  or stop if your arms start feeling fatigued.  Just be in touch with your body and DO NOT push yourself!

2.  Tough-Momma Triceps: With a water bottle in each hand, extend arms over your head and hold upward, then extend back, bending at the elbow.  These are simple triceps extensions you have probably seen people perform at the gym numerous times.  Again, perform about 20 reps, or, if you are an experienced gym-rat, do more, but just pace yourself. According to the hospital's physical therapist, triceps are more important to develop than biceps.  

3.  Spud-Sprouting Shoulders: With a water bottle in each hand, position arms over your head, on each side of shoulders, and slightly in front of head.  Then, lower to sides of shoulders.  Try to repeat 20 times.  This is a simple, shoulder press exercise that again, can be performed either in a reclined position or sitting upright.  

II.  Derrier Do’s

1.  Bed-Bridge:  Lie flat on your back (lower your hospital bed so it is level) and bend your knees so they are in a bridge position.  Be very careful not to put any pressure on your beautiful bump as you lift your butt from the bed and gently squeeze your glutes together.  Perform about 10 of these, paying careful attention to just use the muscles in your quads and glutes.

2.  Little-Lamb Leg-Lifts:  With a couple pillows supporting your head and neck, slightly bend your left leg while keeping your right leg straight.  Raise your right leg and lower, completing about 15 reps.  Then, switch legs and repeat on left leg.

3.  Stripling-Thighs Side Lifts: Lie on right side (please turn onto side gently!) Bend right leg and straighten left leg.  Lift leg up and then down for about 15 reps.

4. Cutie-Pie Clam Shells: While still lying on right side, bend both legs, creating a clamshell image.  Keeping both legs bent, lift left leg (opening clamshell) and then close (closing clamshell) Perform about 10 reps.  Then you can gently fold left leg over right and pat it out, giving your tush and thigh a little massage/stretch

5.  Repeat #3 and #4 on left side but exercise extreme caution when turning over!

III.  Kegels

I was advised to do these throughout my pregnancy but now on bed rest, the hospital physical therapist said that it is totally safe to continue these exercises.  They help strengthen the walls of your vagina and will aid in delivery as well as possibly prevent accidents after delivery.  I am not sure if your doc will advise to do kegels if your baby is breached or if you need a c-sec—so with all of these activities, again, PLEASE ask first.

If you don’t already know how to do kegels, shame on you!  You should have begun doing these at the beginning of your pregnancy. You basically squeeze your vaginal muscles together, like you are stopping the flow of urine.  Release and squeeze throughout the day—try to do these in increments of 10 a few times daily.

IV: Arts and Crafts

My friend, Heather, introduced me to the Knifty Knitter which is the best invention ever for never-knitted-before-novices.  With Heather’s help and a little instruction booklet, I began knitting little baby hats that are amazingly adorable! Although, I had an ulterior motive (baby shower cake) for gifting the first hat I knitted to a fellow inmate, I plan to knit hats for all of the other women (and promise not to barter services).  Any other kinds of arts and crafts activities would be a wonderful diversion.  
V: Other Activities

I recommended the development of a book, and DVD library (also a hospital Netflix subscription would be ideal if a system were developed to monitor that the DVDs are safely returned).  At Regional, each room comes equipped with a DVD player, and while the hospital does have a few DVDs, the reacquisition of the movies from the patients' rooms are not carefully monitored and the supply has now dwindled.

Also, another wonderful technical advancement is the development of Skype (my husband recently set this up on my laptop). Not all of the patients have their own lap top and, of course can only use Skype if their family at home has Skype access.  But, if so, it would be wonderful if the hospital could provide a loaner-laptop that could be circulated among the patients, allowing them video and auditory access to their loved ones at home.  

While the nurses are well-intentioned at their attempts to scrounge for magazines that are freely distributed to the women, magazine quantities as well as quantities are limited.  Eye candy magazines like In Style, Cosmo, or even People would be extremely appreciated!  Girly-girl novels, (I’m talking Sophie Kinsella, Candice Bushnell, Stephenie Meyer) not anything dark or depressing, would also be a wonderful distraction if acquired (when I am discharged I plan on rifling through my book collection and am donating all of my old books to the antepartum unit—if any of you blog followers have light-hearted books to donate, send them my way and I will distribute).
While my well-wishers have sent much-appreciated gifts of sweets and chocolates, many of the women in the unit have developed gestational diabetes as a result of inactivity, medication, and eating too much sugar. Of course when on bed rest, a comforting activity is to watch TV and eat bon-bons, but instead of refined sugared concoctions, I would recommend gifts of different flavored sugar free gum, sugar free mints, sugar-free jello, and even fresh fruit.    

As I have noted in previous blogs, some women have been here for months and are completely severed from their lives, spouses, jobs, and children at home.  This long lasting detachment can have major psychological and emotional implications.  I recommended that a weekly support group be arranged, so the patients can have the option to meet one another, develop relationships, and share stories.  I was lucky enough to be wheeled into another patients' room yesterday and we bonded by swapping stories.  Also, I would recommend that a hospital social worker visit the long-term patients on a weekly basis to offer counseling services. 

If anyone else has any other ideas or fun activities for bed-rest-lock-down, or even house arrest lock-down, for that matter, please comment under this blog and I will be happy to make suggestions or attempt on my own!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Is One the Loneliest Number?

After this experience and hopefully producing Baby J al dente, my uterus plans on taking an early retirement.  Imagine being confined to hospital bed rest and having one, possibly even more small children at home, while their mother is absent for weeks, or months.  If Jon and I had additional children at home, he would undoubtedly also wind up in the cardiac unit of the hospital.  And, my poor mom would probably lose her eyesight altogether from her eye twitch.

Jon and I have had many conversations about the implications of producing only one offspring.  Jon, unlike me, is a complete natural with children and effortlessly plays and bonds with all of our friends' kids.  However, in the presence of children, I feel awkward, uncomfortable, and don't know if I should converse with them as little adults or the way that I talk to my cat.   Even though I am undoubtedly inexperienced in my dealings with children, I do know that whenever I develop a bond with another person, my care-taking and protective nature is unleashed.

My husband and I both feel that middle-class families in our culture can sometimes struggle harder in comparison to upper-class or lower-class families.  With both parents working, it is often a challenge to pay for child care, in which the annual cost can equate to a quarter of a couple's salary.  Also, as both parents are constantly shuffling the 9-5 routine, an additional challenge is scheduling the time to pick-up, drop-off, leave work early if baby becomes sick or contaminated, etc.  Along with child care, there are numerous other expenses involved in producing a mini-me.  The cost of furniture, baby gear, pre-paid college funds, health care, all weigh heavily on parents who strive to provide an optimal life for their little one(s).  While I can't fathom the idea of sacrificing our brand-new baby furniture, Jon's granny spent the first few months in a dresser drawer because her parents couldn't afford a crib.  While it is true that many baby items we think we need are just a brainwashing ploy of commercialized consumerism, imagine the horrors if our friends and family discovered Baby J living in the bottom of our dresser!

I do feel a little badly depriving Baby J the chance at having a sibling (I am already experiencing Jewish-mom guilt).  Many of my friends experienced these same emotions when they were pregnant but eventually sent their hubbies to the snip-snip Doctor.  While many of my girlfriends have confessed that they inevitably recognize the difficulty in balancing parenthood and marriage, I think that a by-product of my generation is that we also want to continue to enjoy our lives, without sacrificing our precious vacations,  401Ks, and retirement savings. Some people think that this may be a selfish concept, and while that may be true, I am all about preserving my happy marriage and life.

My friend Jessica once pointed out the fact that your sibling is the one person in your life whom you will have the longest relationship with.  Sadly, your parents will eventually pass away, your friendships develop at different stages, and most people do not meet their spouse until they have already survived a couple decades of dating.  Among my friends and sister-in-law, I plan on forging a surrogate brother relationship with Baby J and one of their sons.

Even though I have a brother, I also have a part-time sister, Heather, whom was literally in the hospital while I was being born (our moms have been a best friend power couple-duo since their twenties).  This weekend, when she came to visit me in my hospital room, we jovially recalled how we used to fight like sisters--we dug our nails into each others' skin, locked one another out of our bedrooms, I even ran away from my house--suitcase in tow--to escape her unbearable presence on one occasion.  I have known her longer than I have known my own brother and although we grew up both loving and hating each other at different times, she will forever be my lifelong best friend.

So, for now, my uterus is fried, burnt out, and the oven will most likely be out of commission indefinitely.  After I present my little bundle of joy to the world, Jon will be the next in line for the torture treatment.  I apologize to my mother (actually she is probably singing from the mountaintops after what I have put her through and is probably thrilled not to have to endure this again--especially with another child in the picture) and my in-laws in advance for this decision.  So, unless we suddenly come into a vast fortune, or have an immaculate conception,  Jon and I plan on maintaining a minuscule semblance of sanity, allotted vacation time, and savings in our matrimonial endeavors.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Pregnant Pity-Shower in lieu of Baby-Shower

Yesterday was supposed to be my baby shower and ironically enough, one of my fellow inmates had her baby shower in her own solitary, incubation room.  After my visitors left for the day, my room suddenly became very quiet and I overheard women laughing, gifts being opened, and games being played in the room next door. Without fully comprehending my sudden emotional overload, the water works began a full force crusade down my cheeks.  Once the faucets were on, the tears spewed outward, eventually turning into loud hiccuping sobs.  The dripping rivulets were actually quite cathartic and I sat, upright, in my bed, allowing my pity party of one to begin the forlorn-festivities.

I think what initially triggered my sorrow-shower was a combination of the weather and my mother's snide comment.  When the entire side of my mom's family suddenly bombarded my hospital room yesterday morning (of course I told them that even though I was in a public setting, I needed to maintain some semblance of privacy and to please call ahead in the future), they had all just returned from brunch on the beach.  Their pink cheeks were aglow from the sun and ocean salt and they all commented on the beautiful weather.  After trying to live vicariously through them and visualizing fresh air and sunlight, I asked my uncle to try to open my window, which of course, was pried shut (apparently the hospital doesn't want to risk any baby mommas jumping out).

To add salt to my open hep-lock wounds, my mom asked quite derogatorily if I still wanted a shower after all of this.  I frowned and caustically responded, well, since you put it that way....don't worry about it.  She then admitted that she has been really stressed out since I have been in the hospital and her recurrent eye twitch is at it yet again.  We have since discussed this incident, she apologized, now feels guilty, etc.

When I heard that there would be a baby shower yesterday, I tried to barter one of my knifty-knitter baby hats for a slice of cake.  At 5:30 PM, I still had not received my much anticipated cake, and as I continued to listen to the celebration next door, I indulged my thoughts in all of the poor-me scenarios I could muster.

The only independence I have is being able to use the bathroom (I am still thrilled over this freedom, believe it or not)  and am completely dependent on other people to bring me food,water, and items from home.  While I love my husband dearly, he is clueless when it comes to my clothing and the very thought of rifling through my closet terrifies him.  Last week, when I needed clean clothes, he almost brought me two two cocktail dresses before my mom intercepted this pending tragedy.  Yesterday, I asked him to bring clean underwear and he showed up with one pair of underwear and three bikini bathing suit bottoms.  This was after I explained to him, over the phone, the difference between thongs and cotton panties and carefully instructed him not to bring my thongs (he understood the full bottom idea, but apparently didn't comprehend the cotton/lycra difference).  Also, I asked him to bring my Sex and the City DVD set and he showed up instead with Sex and the City, the movie.  Not a huge mistake but I was so looking forward to my DVD set!

In the midst of my emotional breakdown, my husband skyped me from home, for the first time, and lifted my cat up to the camera.  Of course, when I saw my cat's little squished in face, the crying further intensified.  After our skype session, a nurse entered my room and consolingly hugged me, encouraging me to page her anytime I become upset (apparently these emotional breakdowns are quite common among us incarcerated preggers).  So, after she left, I quieted down, consoled myself with a little chocolate binge and my knifty knitter, and eventually had two women from next door bring me a slice of cake (please-no more sweets!).

This morning, as I sit here in my bathing suit bottoms, typing this blog, I am fully recovered from my sob-fest. Along with the tumultuous roller-coaster of emotions, experienced by numerous other pregnant women, the bed rest preggers are also dealing with a cornucopia of other issues, including hospital claustrophobia and a brief loss of independence.  I keep reminding myself of the bigger picture at hand--Baby J needs to stay put for now.  Also, this situation is temporary and neither my life, nor my baby's life is in any kind of imminent danger (I am now 32 weeks, going on 33!).  Although inherently I understand the absolute necessity of the situation, I still pine to have my baby shower cake and eat it too!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Confinement throughout History

According to my new B.F.F., the internet, the practice of confinement before (and even after) pregnancy is not such a radical concept.  It seems as though throughout history, various practices of pregnancy hibernation were widely utilized throughout Europe and even in other areas of the world, as a way for historical preggers to gear up for the big delivery day.

At the beginning of Medieval times, confinement was the terminology which pertained to the last month(s) of pregnancy in which a woman spent the final duration of her pregnancy in bed.  Popular among the upper-class and royal families, the practice of confinement was a measure taken to reduce the risk of premature delivery.  Today, confinement is synonymous with bed-rest (AKA pregnancy incarceration).

If you have ever read any Phillipa Gregory novels (holler if you're as obsessed with The Other Boleyn Girl as I am), you have probably wondered why all of the wives of Henry Tudor were sanctioned to bed rest the final weeks of their pregnancy. While this could have been an ideal opportunity for Henry the Eighth to man-whore the castle behind his wives' backs, it was practiced to ensure that King Player received a healthy heir to the throne.  However, as most of you history-buffs know, he failed to produce a male successor, even after royally exhausting five wives.

Nonetheless, wealthy women throughout this time period and leading up to the Seventeenth century were literally severed from the outside world, including their families, husbands, and older children, and attended to by a myriad of other women, including mid-wives (Doctors during that time period didn't believe in dirtying their hands with unhygienic womanly issues), ladies-in-waiting, and female family members.  Curtains were drawn, permitting women no view of the outside world (I thank God for my hospital room window with a view of palm trees and the blue Florida sky); candles were lit; wine and ale was served to ease nerves (can I please place an order for a nice, Argentinean Malbec?); and women were succumbed to a dark, warm room (my pregnant hormones cannot even handle the thermostat being above 70 degrees) to protect from evil spirits. 

During the Victorian Era, women disappeared from the social scene when pregnant.  Adorable baby-bump displays of the pregnant belly were a forbidden no-no and were tantamount to committing social suicide.  Or, maybe it was considered faux pas if your water suddenly broke in the middle of an elegant, fifteen course dinner party.  In my opinion, this practice was unnecessary, even stuck-up (but what can you expect from an era in which it was trendy, yet asphyxiating to wear corsets and powdered wigs), depriving women the final opportunity to gossip, shop, and hang with her gal-pals before childbirth. 

In modern times, different cultures still practice confinement, but this is usually after the baby is born (post-baby-lock-down).  Supposedly, Chinese, Malay, and Indian communities have their own, unique rituals which aim to help the woman's body recover after childbirth (if I could have chosen, this sounds like a much preferable option than serving pre-baby jail time).  In the Chinese community, grand-mothers, or even "confinement nannies", will cook the new mother's food (mom--can I please place an order for eggplant parmesan--and don't tell me to hire a confinement nanny!), help with the laundry, and feed the newborn.  

So, for the next three months of my life, I will be secluded from the outside world (both pre and post baby).  I am protecting me and baby J from evil spirits (in present-day Florida, evil spirits consist of the crazy Miami drivers, strangers in public who become overwhelmed with the urge to touch my belly, and my favorite clothing shops which haunt me with images of cute clothes that no longer fit my expanding body).  Gratefully, I can still enjoy this time with my girlfriends, who loyally sit next to my bed and teach me to knit (thank you Heather!!), divulge the latest gossip, and decorate my room with beautiful bouquets of flowers (thank you Shelley, Betsey, Jessica, Sandra, Barbara and Sandy!!!).  

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Celebrating a New Life while Grieving the Old

Of course I thought that I would have an extra two month's of pregnancy to wish my old life goodbye.  The life I was used to living for thirty-two years, in which I was responsible solely for myself; allowed to make plans with whomever, whenever; and able to rush out of my house on a whim.  As my last trimester arrived, I thought about all of the unprecedented changes having a baby would bring and began a simultaneous process of grieving as well as celebrating the anticipated emergence of a new being.

One of my best friends told me that she and her husband had experienced this phenomenon a couple of months before her baby was born.  Together for eleven years, they reflected on their conjoint life, while also experiencing nervousness about adding a third person to their content matrimony.   As my own due date lingered somewhere off a three month's horizon, I thought back to what she had said and took special care to appreciate and wish farewell to a life before Baby J.

Every  morning I leisurely awoke, drank my coffee, and took a shower without having intermittent pauses to feed, change, or calm a crying baby.  Each evening, I would walk into a house of tranquility and appreciate the silence of the walls.  When my husband arrived home from work, I played a good little wifey and had dinner ready for him.  Then,we would usually relax into a pleasant conversation, and eventually ease into the couch to catch a movie or a TV show, before drifting to sleep.  Again, no other person infringed on our attention or our time together.

Jon and I have been together for five years, married for three, and we tried to do as much as possible before getting knocked up.  We traveled, enjoyed wonderful moments with our friends, and even bought a house.  Throughout our five years together, I tried to envision how he would be as a father and attempted to predict how our relationship would change if we did have a baby.  I always knew that he would be a great dad, but continue to wonder how our compatible, meticulous team of two will operate as a new player is drafted (Jon-you better give me credit for throwing a sports analogy into MY blog).

I also tried to see my girlfriends as much as possible and began the process of realizing that I would have fewer, though not extinct, chances of rendezvous with the gals.  Throughout my pregnancy, I attempted to schedule as many movies, dinners, and brunch-on-the-beach encounters with them.  Of course, I had to wish any bars or dancing venues sayonara before my pregnancy ever began but relished the fond memories of all of my girls' trips, nights on the town, and happy hours.  While always being a conservative, social drinker, occasionally in my pregnancy, I did experience a strong urge to jump across the table and down one of my girlfriends' glasses of wine or martinis.  And, I am really looking forward to my first girls' night out on the town post-baby.

When I left my house at 1am a week and a half ago, I didn't think that was the last time I would see my house, my cat, my job and all familiar surroundings before bringing the baby home.  But for now, I patiently wait, realizing that with Baby J, I will re-enter my life with a pair of new eyes, new ears, and an entirely new perspective.  So, I continue to lay in my hospital bed, in suspended animation, until the delivery of (keep your fingers crossed) a happy and healthy little boy.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Humor Therapy and Other Distractions

My anxiety-of-the-morning is that when I am finally released, my derrier will resemble a flattened pancake appearance of an eighty year old man's behind.   All of my countless hours at the gym performing circuits of squats, lunges, and leg presses will have been for naught.  My highly ritualized, daily exercise routine in order to keep my pregnancy weight gain at a minimum, has completely left the building.  I know that this worry is trivial and insignificant compared to the bigger picture of keeping baby happily incubating, but still--a girl has to take some pride in her rear assets!

I am not the ideal candidate for bed rest.  Most of my life progresses in a dizzying, whirlwind of activities, as I am constantly fluttering about, lacking the ability to sit still.  At home, my OCD and anal-retentive behavior is usually full fledged, I am constantly cooking, cleaning, organizing everything.  My husband often implies that I have a physical impairment, which only allows me to be sedentary in five minute increments, max.

When my Doctor first informed me of the possibility of being on bed rest for months, I felt as though I had lost a limb.  How could I, a ridiculously proactive, energetic person be confined to a bed for two months??

My friends and family, all familiar with my inability to sit still, empathized with my prognosis.  Through modern technology, my girlfriends utilized different avenues to present me with opportunities for humor and distractions.  Barbara-in Denver-continues to text me random, fun facts of the day and finds a way to relate them to my present condition; Amy-in Chicago-entertains me with escapades of Gina--her Seaside Heights, New Jersey alter-ego, who is looking for her Italian Stallion and has an obsession with all things Ed Hardy (view our exchange under the comment section in blog); Heather-in Denver-suggested that I find nooks and crannies within my hospital bed and tie up little arts and crafts activities easily accessible.  When my mom arrived on day three with a journal, I devised a way to tie it to my bed with a ribbon.

Also, my uncle suggested that I pull a Martha Stewart and redecorate my hospital room as she did her jail cell (any tips for easily redecorating a hospital room are welcome).  The nurses have encouraged me to feel as comfortable here as possible, as long as I refrain from having candles for fear of burning down the hospital.  My mom's boyfriend, Sheldon, caustically jokes if I have had the time yet to hire a secretary so he can be penciled in for a visit.

My other friends and family are continuously bombarding me with technical stimulation as my cell phone, text messages,and email in-box are constantly filled with words of encouragement.  Additionally, I have discovered  the tremendous support of the nursing staff and as thanks, have tried to barter my counseling services, offered to paint their nails (no takers yet), and have tried unsuccessfully to expedite information on the going-ons of the other inmates (I think I have inherited a tad of my mother's yenta-prowess).  I have also suggested to the nursing manager an online, support group for the eleven women under confinement.  However, not all of the women have computers and because of HIPPA regulations, the nurses are not allowed to disclose information among patients.

I have also discovered that being labeled as a "patient" affords me the opportunity to fully exercise my anxiety-induced hypochondria, without being judged.  Instead of sitting at home and googling to death something weird happening to my pregnant body, I can simply press the unassuming nurse call button on my bed and ask: "is this normal?"

So, it seems that even though I will remain on bed-rest-lock down, my days are still filled with productivity.  Instead of expediting physical energy, my brain is getting a major, mental makeover. I was definitely due for a tune-up in that department.  Of course, I may still try to sneak in a bit of room cleaning and sterilization at 3am, when I can't sleep, but old habits do die hard....

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pregnancy Without Prozac

I am the first to admit that I have an excruciatingly lengthy laundry list of highly neurotic behavior.  As many people close to me know, the insanity began in the aftermath of my 9/11 trauma and a slew of hyper-vigilance, anxiety, and insomnia spiraled out of control.  While I will save that story for another blog entirely, after 9/11, it seemed that my only respite was to remain on a low dose of an SSRI.  For years, I have been on and off Prozac, constantly struggling with the social stigma as well as any unknown side effects.

Discontinuing my medication has been a hot topic since the very beginning of my pregnancy.  While always prescribed under the care of my doctor, my ob/gyn advised that I discontinue the Prozac five weeks prior to my due date, which could potentially cause a small risk of fetal hemoglobin binding.  Daunting to my husband and instilling fear within me, I tee-tottered back and forth, carefully weighing the pros and cons of how I would handle motherhood without my daily dose of Vitamin P.  

Of course, I did everything else--AND I MEAN EVERYTHING-within my power to ensure that the health of my little pea-pod was in pristine condition.  I ate healthy, swallowed prenatal vitamins, walked about two miles a day, did squats, lunges, kegels,--if I read or heard about something beneficial for pregnancy, I was on it ASAP.  So, I braced myself for the impact of experiencing Prozac withdrawal, tried to quell my fears as well as my husband's.  And repeatedly told myself that this was just another small sacrifice I was making, initiating me into the life of motherhood.  

Of course, all of my planning and anticipating rapidly disintegrated the second that I was admitted to Labor and Delivery at 1:30 am over a week ago.  I quickly surrendered my body and allowed the nurses to hook me up to IVS, shoot me up with steroids for baby J's lungs to quickly develop, pump me full of Magnesium Sulfate to stop the contractions, and abstained from food and bathroom privileges for days.  My 10 mg of Prozac was unequivocally the least of my worries.  

With the exception of a couple of mini-meltdowns the first few nights in the hospital,  I don't think that I ever experienced Prozac withdrawal.  And of course, the mini-meltdowns could easily have been attributed to the high quantities of other medications in my bloodstream, the fact that I was starving, was strapped to the bed, etc.  I think that would probably cause even the most stable person to break down into tears...I have decided to cut myself a little slack on this one...

The first few days were definitely my lowest points here....I woke up throughout the first two nights, trembling, and my husband held my hand, locked eyes with mine, and coached me to practice deep breathing.  The third night,  my mom encouraged me to "let it all out" and even put my aunt, the family therapist, on the phone for moral support.  They non-judgmentally listened to me to cry and fully express my fears and worries about delivering a premature baby as well as becoming a mother earlier than anticipated.  And believe me, I let it all out.  I even admitted that I really did want a girl and of course a boy would give me this much trouble.  

Now, my antepartum lock-down is slowly transforming into a minimum security prison.  Every day that I am here, I am granted another good patient privilege.  Yesterday, the hep-lock was removed, the last porthole allowing others access to my insides.   My body feels like my own once again, along with my bulging baby bump housing the little trouble-maker.  I can also admit that it took me over a week to get my vanity mojo back.  I have sequestered my beauty products and have them tucked away in little alcoves in my room.  My nails are painted, hair is blown straight, and am planning on wearing make-up for the first time today since I have been here.  Of course, every time I ask Jon to bring me another item from home, he expresses anxiety that I am slowly having him move me out of our house and permanently into the hospital.  

So, in concluding this rather serious blog, being pregnant without Prozac really isn't as bad as once anticipated.  As I have experienced many times in life, the anxiety is oftentimes worse than the event itself.  Also, as new parents, we can write lists, plan, take classes, ask questions to other moms until we are literally dying from information overload.  However, we can never truly prepare for life's many deviations and have to expect the unexpected.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Good Ole' College Days are Here Again

One of my best friends said that she knew of a friend of a friend who was also tied to her hospital bed after experiencing PROM (premature rupture of the membranes--AKA water breaking--I swear the longer that I am here the more labor and delivery lingo I learn).  Supposedly, this young woman described her hospital stay as hibernating in a cave "with a wolf pack of two", whereas the mommy wolf does everything in her capacity to embrace her little wolf pup, defenseless to the big, bag world.  Each morning, as I wake up in the hospital and feel Baby J's kicks, I congratulate him on making it through another night in utero--the best protection until he is ready to emerge from hibernation.

I have started picking up a daily routine of activities so the time progresses quickly.  Firstly, the nurses here are amazing.  Even in the middle of the night, when I have trouble sleeping, I can page the nurse and if she is not too busy, will offer a few minutes of companionship.  In this regard, I like to pretend that I am back in college, in a sorority house.  It never gets so lonely that there is not a sorority sister lurking the halls, ready and willing to provide a sense of empathy and support.  At times, I feel even too inundated by the supportive nature of the staff, as they are constantly coming into my room, just to check in on me.  Between their constant attentions, both my cell phone and hospital phone and text message constantly beeping, I feel like I am once again the social butterfly I was once in college.  I am even losing my voice from too much talking!

 I have also come to think of my hospital room as a dorm room in many ways.  Minus the cinder block walls, the hospital depicts the same institutional vibe that my dorm room proudly adorned.  Paneled ceilings, easy-to-clean, yet outdated tile, and industrial furniture are just a few of the same amenities that I was provided with back in college.  I am even free to decorate my hospital room as I once decorated my dorm room.  I hung pictures and cards on the walls, was granted the privilege of a mini-fridge, and was allowed to bring in my own blanket for the motorized bed (one extra point for the hospital versus the lumpy mattress of my college days).

Also, in college I was often paired with roommates whom I could have easily lived without.  <OMG--I have to momentarily interrupt this blog to report that I just received a pizza delivery from my colleagues--it goes without saying the irony of receiving a pizza delivery while comparing my stay here to college--who didn't order pizza 24/7 from their college dorm room??!!>  Anyway, as I was blogging, the roommate situation here really isn't too different from college.  You know that it is only a matter of time before you are assigned a roommate and only hope that your roommate isn't too mentally deranged/dysfunctional.  Especially with all of the pregnancy hormones coursing through our bodies just to add another layer of fear...Hopefully she will be decent, clean up after using the bathroom,and  won't steal your belongings or your man.  So far, I have had only one roommate and spent the entire night anxious that the crazies would escape from the other side of the room, infringing on my territory.  Luckily, for both of us, she was induced, akin to a roommate transfer back in the college days.

Also, I am astonished to report that the food here is even better than my college meal plan (score another point for hospital life vs. college!)  I have been eating exceedingly well, enjoying food such as lobster, salmon, and jalapeno-crusted tilapia.  I can call the dining room any time day or night requesting a snack or a sandwich.  Also, there is a lounge on the maternity floor that is always stocked with munchies if a late night snack-attack hits.  I have already gained thirty pregnancy pounds, but am in the process of racking up another freshman fifteen.

While sharing the hospital bed with the opposite sex is strictly prohibited (especially for bed-rest preggers) I did manage to have two blonde beauties in my bed earlier today, named Charlie and Storme.  In college, therapy was extremely helpful but this was the first time I was visited by therapy dogs!  If you guessed correctly, Charlie and Storme are two certified, golden retrievers who proudly cheer up the patients.  And if you thought that I really had men in my hospital bed, let it be known that I am too nervous to even kiss my husband, for fear of going into labor again.

Lastly, let's not forget that the dizzying whirlwind of pregnancy hormones can also be compared to post teen, hormonal mood fluctuations.  Instead of agonizing over the correct job path to take after graduation, I find myself worrying about how well of a job I will do as I graduate into motherhood.  Will I be a calm, organic mom, who exudes peacefulness and love or, will I be a frazzled, anxious, fly-by-the-seat-of her- pants mom who doesn't know what to do with a colicky baby?  In college, my biggest fear was would I be able to support myself after graduation and now, its will my family be able to financially sustain itself with an additional member?

So, during the duration of my confinement, I will just pretend that I am back in college....accepting that the mood swings will ebb and flow, living the resident life, eating the student food, dealing with unwanted roommates, trying to keep men out of my bed, and most importantly, protecting my little, lone wolf pup.

An Ode To Tiger the Cat

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but since my incarceration, I have probably shed the most tears over my cat than any other person.  Most humans have the capacity to understand that I am in the hospital because of a reason that is beyond my control and are sympathetic to the fact that I would much rather be living my regular life.  However, my cat, although I would like to think of him as a person, has a minute, feline brain that prevents him from even partially understanding why I have not been home in over a week.  That being said, I  have met humans whose brains are probably less developed than my cat's, but for argument's sake, let's say that my cat has a fair disadvantage over the average person.

So, from my cat's perspective, he is lonely and doesn't understand why his mommy has not been home to play with him.  He is even lonelier because my husband has hardly been home to give him any attention.  So, for now, he sits and sleeps most of the day away, not understanding why loads of laundry have been piling up, his house is probably a mess, and his toys are most likely trapped under the furniture.  To make matters even worse, this is a cat who has a history of abandonment issues.

Although my husband and I know little about Tiger's first life before he came to us, he already had experienced his fair share of kitty trauma.  Let me enlighten you with a fluffy tale (no pun intended) of Tiger the Cat...

As a stork would deliver a baby, Tiger was presented at our door step cocooned in a soft, dowry of white fur and a squished-in Oscar-the-Grouch face.  With little explanation, our neighbors informed us that he needed a home and asked if we were interested in adopting him.  In literally two seconds flat, my husband and I looked at each other and enthusiastically nodded our heads in unison.  We actually had intended to adopt a cat and this cat was way too cute to pass up! Our neighbors, surprised at our instantaneous decision, eyed us skeptically.  "Really??" they asked, suddenly suspicious of our intentions with the purebred Persian, "Well, we just had him neutered..." they quickly added, just in case we were secret, purebred breeders.

Our neighbors later provided us with Tiger's origins and how he came to be in their lives: Tiger, two years old, was abandoned at the groomer.  When his owner no-showed, the groomer called the local vet who quickly retrieved him and examined him in his office.  The vet discovered that Tiger had ring worm, ear problems, eye problems, and a slew of kitty issues.  Having my neighbors as clients and knowing their compassion to care for Persians, he called them to adopt Tiger.  Sadly, when Tiger was brought home and introduced to their three other Persian balls of fluff, it was soon discovered that Tiger didn't play nicely with one and was soon sequestered to a cage.  Feeling guilty, our neighbors decided that Tiger needed a good home, where he could roam freely and be an only-cat child.

Oddly enough, during my last night at home, Tiger had been snuggling in bed, squished up against my body for warmth.  I awoke to a humid, not-so-fresh breath in my face and am extremely poignant MEOW.  Twenty minutes later, when I emerged out of bed, I noticed that my water broke.

I have never been a lover of animals, much less cats in particular.  When my husband and I first met, I had an extremely traumatic experience with his cat, Smokey, whom I am sure was the devil incognito.  The Spawn of Satan hated a woman infringing on his territory and hissed, growled, and punched me whenever I so much as breathed.  Sadly, my husband eventually realized that it was either me or the cat and we parted ways with Smokey.

During our year with Tiger, I have become much more maternal than ever before.  I feel guilty when he is left alone for to long, guilty if I don't play with him long enough, guilty for not being able to fully cure his recurrent eye infections.  Before my arrested state, I had been dealing with taking Tiger to a vet for frequent conjunctivitis and had been in the process of scheduling an appointment with a feline ENT specialist.  Now, that I am in jail, I am too afraid to ask my husband if Tiger's eye infection has returned.  I know that if it did return, my husband and mom would refrain from telling me, knowing how much it upsets me.

So, in conclusion, my lock-down state affects other people and animals other than just myself.....My poor cat is probably re-traumatized; Every time I see my husband he appears another pound thinner and haggard;  My mom, stressed from frequent hospital runs and my demands, has an eye twitch (the single most horrific, debilitating, oppressive condition ever!!)

Can't wait until I am outta here and will have two little boys to care for at home (three if you count my husband).  So, maybe I should just try to enjoy my bed rest while it lasts??

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Finally Granted Bathroom Privileges--a cause for celebration

I feel liberated!!  After an entire week of laying in a complete, horizontal position, I was finally granted a teeny, tiny little piece of emancipation!  Although it may seem trivial, this is actually quite a momentous occasion.  Imagine not being able to lift your legs out of bed for an entire week!  Imagine everything I have thus far described in what my experience has been like using a bed pan, constantly dependent on the nurses each and every time I have to use the bathroom!  Now, looking back five minutes in retrospect, using a bed pan wasn't even as bad as using a catheter, my first couple of days in the hospital .

So, it appears as though I have graduated from catheter, to bed pan, to now being able to emerge out of bed and walk the three steps to the bathroom.  I just had my first bathroom experience in a week and I can't even describe how euphoric I was--sometimes it really is the little things, or even not realizing how much we take for granted on a day-day basis.

As I gently eased my muscle-atrophied body off the bed, my legs wobbled, my head felt dizzy, I felt like a 90 year old woman!!  I even glanced at the nurses' station on my way to the bathroom--feeling as though I was breaking some rule or at any second my privileges would suddenly be reneged.  The nurse looked away, uninterested and I closed the bathroom door--my first privacy all week!  Relief!

I was even able to wash my hands, look in the mirror (not that I was so happy with my disheveled appearance) and use toilet paper instead of wipes!  This has opened up so many new possibilities--I can now drink all of the water I want without feeling guilty for calling the nurses in every twenty minutes, can stop at my min-fridge on my return trip from the bathroom, and don't have to worry about people constantly coming into the room while doing my business!

I would never have thought that I would be this happy over using the bathroom....but for now, I must go...have to pee again!

Welcome to Sam's World

Welcome to my Blog!  For the duration of my hospital stay, this will be a  place for me to share my uncensored stories of what life is like on complete hospital bed rest until my baby is fully cooked.  

For now, if my baby were to be removed from my oven, he would be served to the world on a premature platter.   I am sure that you can all relate to that feeling, when you first cut into what would have been a perfectly good piece of chicken, only to discover that you didn't quite cook it long enough.  The skin isn't yet crispy, the marinade didn't have time to absorb, traces of the flesh are still pink... And, this is no ordinary, fast food, Kentucky fried piece of meat, but a high quality, organic, farm-raised, grade A piece of chicken that you probably bought at a fancy grocery chain like Whole Foods market.  You invested your time, money, and have the highest of expectations that your chicken will emerge from the oven in mouth-watering condition.  Although you most likely cooked it long enough to avoid food poisoning, you are taking a gamble with each bite you take...

This is how my baby would be if he were to be born right now.  For that reason, and that reason alone, I am strapped to a hospital bed keeping my legs tightly closed.  Hoping to make it through each and every day gives me more confidence that I will eventually produce a happy and healthy baby, who will hopefully have minimal time in the NICU unit.  So far, I have made it to 31 weeks and 4 days.  The first sacrifice of many, my body is no longer my own.  For now, its sole purpose is to shelter the little boy growing inside me so that he continues to remain in the healthiest incubator possible.

Uncut Stories from the Antepartum Unit 2.14.11

Just to give you all a little idea of what life has been like for almost 
a week while in the antepartum unit....

Firstly, although bed rest may sound like a vacation, it is vastly 
different from any vacation I have ever been on in my life. I will be 
the first person to admit the difficulty of putting yourself in 
another's shoes until one has experienced things from one's own 
perspective but in order to provide you with a miniscule snap shot, 
imagine this:

You are completely, undeniably unable to get out of bed no matter how 
much you beg the nurses and your dr to just let you use the bathroom. 
You are denied again after you plead, bribe, and even offer your soul 
just to be able to go number 2 in the bathroom, already accepting the 
fact that number 1 has to be in a bed pan. You apologize over and over 
to the nurses as you are constantly paging them to change your bed 
pan, clean you, wipe you, refill your water, pick up whatever item has 
fallen on the floor....

 I never fathomed the intricacies that are involved in complete bed 
rest and the thought process that has been put into expediting these 

Would you imagine that there is a blow -up contraption called the hair 
genie that attatches to your hospital bed so a nurse can wash your 
hair? This miraculous invention involves a lot of towels, five basins 
of water, and a nurse with a heart of gold. I had my second hair 
washing this morning as well as bed-sponge bath. She also 
simultaneously changed my bed sheets without me ever leaving the bed-- 
pretty cool stuff!! 

 According to this same nurse, who assists the patients in personal 
grooming services and re-humanizing, many patients contrive their own, 
unique rituals for surviving bed-rest lock-down. For instance, she 
informed me that one patient commandeered a labor mirror which 
attaches to the end of her bed. Every morning, she uses the mirror to 
expertly apply make-up and straighten her hair. Another patient keeps 
weekly appointments with her hair dresser. Patients will even attempt 
to do their nails, shave their legs, and wear cute clothes.

 I am willing to put vanity aside during my stay here but give me 
another couple of weeks and I too may be scheduling salon appointments 
from my hospital bed.

I can't wait for the day until I am able to feel the ground with my 
feet again but until then, am trying to keep my spirits as high as 
possible. Although there will be tears as well as other unmentionable 
bodily fluids, i know that this is temporary and for the time being 
both me and baby j are healthy. Of course, I don't know if I will want 
to hug him or strangle him for putting me through this ordeal, but I do 
know that some day it will be a distant memory and I will be fully 
capacitated, with my family. 

Thank you all for your love and support and I will continue to keep 
you informed of uncut stories from the antepartum unit...


Jon's Update 2.12.11

Good morning all. I hope that this email finds everyone well.

I wanted to give you all the latest update from this end.    As most of you already know, Sam and I have been expecting our first child in April 2011.  Needless to say we are extremely excited and are looking forward to welcoming baby Jordan Tyler Silverman into the family.   However, this past Tuesday night we suffered a setback in the pregnancy.

Sam had woken up in the middle of the night and her water broke and she was bleeding.  We rushed her to the emergency room, in which they immediately began running all kinds of tests on her and the baby.  Since the baby is only 30 1/2 weeks old, there was the obvious concerns of any baby being born prematurely and lots of uncertainty.   Thankfully, they were able to administer medicines that were able to slow down the contractions enough so that they could inject Sam over the past several days with steroid shots so that they can help develop the baby's premature lungs.  In addition, they have been able to give Sam antibiotics to help ward off any infections susceptible since her water has already broken.  

The first 48 hours were the scariest, as we were being told that the baby would have to come out in as soon as 24-48 hours via emergency c section and would be in NICU for the next 8 weeks, to now a possibility to have baby remain inside Sam as long as he can in order to further develop.

The good news is that both Sam and baby are doing ok and all is stable.  They finally were able to get Sam on a regular eating diet (hospital food has been pretty good), and unhook several of the tubes that they had placed in her.  Unfortunately, she will be in the hospital on bed rest for anywhere up to the next 8 weeks!   Her spirits are improving, as we continue to visit her everyday and hope and pray for the best for her and baby.

Based on the prenatal physician, he said that there is a 95% chance of baby recovery if he was delivered prematurely, and at this point, as long as they can keep the baby inside, he has an even greater chance of growth and development.

Thank you all who have given their calls, texts and wishes and have shared many personal stories of babies they have known that have been delivered prematurely and have successfully survived and developed normally over the years. 

Sam is staying at Memorial Regional Hospital - 3501 Johnson Street, Hollywood, Fl 3302.  Feel free to give Sam a call on her cell 954-253-1072 or call her room 954-987-2000  Room 244 bed 2, or email her at

We will continue to give updates, but we are feeling more confident each day and realize that we have to take it day by day at this point.

Talk to you all soon

Jon and Sam and baby Jordan