Sunday, January 30, 2011
Bed Rest- An Honest Opionion
Look at this face. This is the face of my sweet baby who almost wasn't. I strongly feel that the only reason that he is still here with us is because my OB had placed me on bed rest starting at 13 weeks pregnant and ending at 36 weeks (when full lung development is achieved) after I hemorrhaged, had clots, blood pooling in the lining of my uterus and Placenta Previa.
I was recently interviewed for an article on bed rest that the Chicago Tribune was doing ( http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/ct-met-bed-rest-20110129,0,6131409.story). The reporter read my blog ("My Book's Cover") about the financial aftermath of bed rest and got in touch with me through a few of the amazing bed rest support sites that knew of me and my story(Keepemcookin.com & BetterBedRest.org).
I was excited because this could be my chance to help the bed rest community and spread some awareness about the trials of bed rest but also the rewards. Now, I'm not naive and I went into the interview knowing that they may just use one sentence of our interview. (Margaret says "Bed rest sucks". The end) But when I read the article I was really displeased. Despite the things we spoke about and despite the reporter interviewing the amazing people at KeepEmCookin.com & BetterBedRest.org, she chose to steer the article towards information she accumulated that stated that bed rest was an archaic practice and that it really doesn't help mothers stay pregnant.
I beg to differ. Do I believe it should be "systematically" prescribed as it alluded to in her article? No. But when needed, it is the difference between life and death for a child. In my case, several of the conditions I was dealing with could have proved fatal to my baby (and potentially me) had I not been in bed. Placenta Previa is where the placenta attaches on top of the cervix and can cause preterm delivery due to the pressure the baby puts on the placenta & cervix as it grows. The blood pooling in the lining of my uterus could have caused premature rupture of the membranes (water to break) before 24 weeks. This would have been a death sentence for my baby.
Bed rest was vital to my son's survival. Was it hard on me as a mother? Absolutely. It was, in fact, the worst time of my life. But as mothers it's the choice we make for our children and our families. I think the best thing we can do for bed rest mommies is put resources in their hands. There is support out there. My OB did an excellent job taking care of me and my baby through weekly visits and regular ultrasounds. But the one thing he could have done to make bed rest easier would have been to put resources in my hand. To tell me about support groups like KeepEmCookin.com & Sidelines. To get me in touch with BetterBedRest.org which helps women attain grants to help with bills & such while they are out of work. Having these resources right away would have saved me some tears!
Now, I understand that these articles are meant to stir up debate and reporters look for the controversy in each story. But my concern is that articles like this will discourage women from following their doctor's orders and will result in dire consequences for the pregnancy. It may also discourage moms from looking for these resources. The truth is that bed rest works. I and my son are proof as are thousands of women out there each year. And to even insinuate that bed rest is not needed is dangerous. Since prenatal medicine has evolved, and that includes the prescription of bed rest, the infant and mother mortality rates have dropped drastically. We know how to take care of expectant mothers and their children. And as a mother who had to make the choice to be on bed rest (And it is a choice. No one can force bed rest.) even though it meant that I would lose my job, not be able to care for my other children, and my overall health would be under scrutiny for the next 6-7 months- I can say that I wouldn't change it. The reporter asked me if I think that things would have turned out fine if I hadn't stayed on bed rest and I told her I don't even let my mind go there. In my time on bed rest I met many mothers who never met their babies or only got to hold them for a few hours or days. So I won't question it. Because my son is here. He is healthy and he is alive.