Surviving Bed Rest

Weeks 12 to 19 1/2

Week 12

The Eastern seaboard is shrouded in darkness due to a blackout. I'm sitting here alone in the dark on the top floor of a high-rise. I have no idea where candles or a flashlight are and can't look for them. I walk to my next-door neighbor's; she has everything from junk food to a battery-operated CD player. Soon the whole floor is in her apartment partying by candlelight. It's the most fun I've had in weeks.

Week 13

My building decides to put on a new roof. Lucky me -- I live on the top floor. Jackhammers pummel my ceiling, and I seriously think I'm going to lose my mind. Though I'm not really supposed to, I make plans to have brunch with a friend because I just don't know what else to do...stay inside and deafen myself, or go out and invite my cervix to open even more.

But brunch was great. It was fabulous to not eat the same lousy food, to feel the sun, to watch my friend's toddler run around a restaurant shrieking with glee. I tell myself that this is what I've been waiting for.

Week 14

My doctor tells me that if all is well, I can go back to work at the end of week 17. I can barely contain myself. In the meantime, my friends offer to host a baby shower for me. It can't be a surprise, considering I can't go anywhere. However, they appeal to my anal sensibilities and let me go nuts planning the thing. To someone on bed rest, nagging caterers is actually fun. When I have the shower, I set out a vase and ask guests to throw in a few dollars for the March of Dimes. Maybe we can help someone else on bed rest.

Week 17

I'm off bed rest and back at work. Things are pretty normal. I haven't had any trouble walking or doing anything else, so the exercise paid off. Now all I have to do is wait.

Week 19 1/2

I'm back in bed again, but this time, I'm happy to be there. After a very easy labor and delivery, my daughter -- fullterm, healthy, and utterly perfect -- has arrived. Looking into her sweet face, I realize that all that time in bed was well spent.

Originally published in American Baby magazine, July 2004.

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