At Home on Modified Rest

Well, I’ve been home since Monday and today’s only Friday.  Not even a full week at home and the learning curve to this new temporary life is steep.  I was sent home on “moderately reduced activity” which is a drastic difference to how I was living before being hospitalized, but still has enough freedom that I’m not just laying down all day long.  The guidelines are: resting 3x3hrs/day, 10 minutes or less of walking, less than 20 minutes on feet at one time, light house duties (nothing that involves any type of strain so no lifting laundry or vacuuming etc), limited stair climbing, no looking after toddlers.

Here’s the thing though, although I try my best to follow these guidelines sometimes I find myself wandering the house just “tidying” up and before I know it 45 minutes have passed.  Then I pay for it the rest of the day, I get crampy and start contracting and generally feel terrible.  Even leaving the house is a feat.  On Wednesday I had to drop off some papers for my short term disability, then we went to the library to return some books and let Ezekiel play, then we picked up some groceries (I order online and they shop, bag and deliver to my car while I sit in the car).  Total time on my feet was less than 15 minutes, and total time out of the house was about 1.5hrs and by the time I got home I felt terrible.  It’s discouraging that I no longer am just doing things to be cautious, I’m actually on these restrictions because without them I’d have a micro-premie in the NICU for months.  Earlier in my pregnancy I went off 12 hr shifts and night shifts extremely early (relative to the “norm” on the unit) because it was hard on my body and I was being cautious.  I then went on modified duties and sat at a desk (less than two weeks before being hospitalized), again because I was being cautious but now it’s just plain necessary to be resting for almost the entire day.  A hard pill to swallow.   I think it’s taken this long for me to figure it out.  Of course I knew it but I just had to “get it,” you know?  It’s amazing that 12 days ago I was living normally, cleaning my house, cooking, doing laundry and grocery shopping all in the same day and today I literally can’t do any of those things for more than a few minutes and I’m out for the day.

I’m doing my best to stay out of the hospital, and I’ll have to become more rigid with my time on my feet.  Maybe I’ll have to set a timer every time I get up to do something.  I’m trying to keep myself busy with projects that can be done while sitting.  I’ll write a post about that later on.  Honestly though the days seem to fly, when Ezekiel’s awake it’s all about him.  We read, build with blocks, play music and he dances, we do puzzles, colour and then it’s nap time.  I can’t imagine doing this without my mom here though, she’s doing all the cooking, cleaning, lifting, laundering and anything that’s just too much for me.  Some people don’t have that luxury and it would be a thousand times harder than it is for me.  So I’m trying to stay positive and count my blessings.  It’s really not all that bad, I get an extra 3 months (fingers crossed) at home with my little guy before we have a new addition and his world is turned upside down.  I’m doing my best to make the most of it because I won’t get these days back.

I’ll take all the suggestions for things to do while resting! Also all the prayers that I get to rest for 3 more months!

Going Home

Well, it’s been a week since I presented to labor and delivery triage with the worst abdominal pain I’d ever felt in my life.  I’ve had ultrasounds, EKG’s, bloodwork and other tests trying to figure things out without ever coming up with a definitive diagnosis. The best we’ve got is a most probable and likely.  Doctors don’t like saying things definitively unless they have 150% proof that it’s true (drives me nuts).

Here’s the thing – I’m not a textbook case – welcome to my whole life! I’ve never been a textbook case, and the problem with not being a textbook case is that you have several practitioners theorizing on the issue (or to some – the lack-there-of).  This is where healthcare is very grey.  Depending on a physicians experience and comfort level (and/or arrogance) they will treat or not treat, theorize that your symptoms are exaggerated, nothing to worry about – because they can’t find an answer.  Then there’s the other side of the spectrum, the physician who knows you, who takes time to understand you, taps into you beyond just physical symptoms.  They are the ones that trust the patient and at the same time trust their clinical judgement and make the best possible decision by marrying those two factors – those are my people.  I’m not one to run to a hospital or physician at every ache and pain, in fact I will suffer, until I have done my own theorizing and waiting it out just to be certain that I am neither wasting my own time nor the time of the practitioner.  When I choose a physician (in the case of a GP) I take my time and make sure that I can trust that physician, but also that they are acting like they can trust me.  In the case of a specialist you don’t always have that luxury, however I have been so so so lucky to have been referred to only the top of the top when it comes to specialties and I’ve never been disappointed.

Then came this hospital stay.  I see doctors left right and centre all through out the days, more if it’s an “exciting day” and less if it’s a boring day but not often do I know all of them.  I’m left to the mercy of whoever happens to see me that day, and for the most part I can’t really complain about it.  I’ve been very well taken care of, in the beginning things were very cautious and everyone was sort of tip toeing around wondering what was going to happen, but things are becoming more stable and they are becoming more and more comfortable with my “symptoms.”  Yesterday, though I had one physician who came in here, clearly not doing a great review of my chart or history and making clinical judgements based on a 30 second conversation and poking my belly a few times.  Then declared I was just having abdominal muscle pain and I should prepare to leave the next day.  To say I was floored and upset would be an understatement, in the moment I was shocked and not prepared to rebuttal anything (not that I had time anyways, he was out of here in two minutes), but it took a good 2 hours just to calm myself down.  In the end I reminded myself that 1) he was not my physician and would not be making any final decisions in my care and 2) regardless of his opinion I am the best expert on my body and “muscle pain” is not even close to what was happening (I should know, I also have had terrible joint and muscle pain since 8 weeks pregnant!).

However, going home is looking more and more likely, and no I’m not entirely comfortable given my history with Ezekiel.  The menstrual like cramping with irritable uterus is how I presented just hours before going into labor with him.  I actually didn’t have a single contraction when I began dilating (rapidly) so going home with crampiness as well as an irritable uterus that turns into contractions coming every 2 minutes and a shortened cervix that can be defined as “incompetent”  is not my idea of a fun time at home.  Given that I don’t know what the classical labor feels or looks like because it’s never happened to me, when will I know that it’s the real thing versus just irritability? How long do I wait? Will I wait too long? At this rate if I’d be in labor and delivery being checked out several times a day.  The uncertainty makes me extremely uncomfortable – here’s the thing, pregnancy? It’s ALL uncertain.  No matter how many tools you use, no matter how much experience you have the best you will ever do is an educated guess.

The bottom line is that in the end it’s not these Doctors I need to ultimately trust, it’s not even myself.  In the end I have to trust that God has it all taken care of, that He has orchestrated every move and decision made by the physicians.  That He has placed me in the care of the best and He is guiding them.  That He is protecting me and this babe and things will work out regardless.  Honestly, I think it wouldn’t matter if they sent me home today or 5 weeks from now, I would still be uncomfortable so I’m trusting with everything in me that my discomfort is just me being over cautious and not me being intuitive.  I’d love your prayers for the protection of this pregnancy for the next 13 weeks and for peace for me.