First topic: bed rest. Because, what else is there to talk about?
I know what you're thinking. "I would love to be on bed rest. Sounds like a vacation!" Or perhaps, "Enjoy it while you can, because once the baby gets here, you won't get any more rest - ever!"
During my first trimester when I was queasy and exhausted, completely burned out on linguistics, and preparing for the move to Illinois, I did fantasize about being placed on bed rest, imagining it as some kind of serene extended spa visit with attendants to fan me with peacock plumes and feed me seedless grapes and bon-bons.
On the other hand, many of my fellow bed rest prisoners make their sentence out to be worse than death. The languishing, the muscle atrophy, the insidious bowel irregularities! Oh, to be free from our chains and allowed to do pilates and bake cookies like in the days of our pre-gestation! Once we walked like carefree vagabonds through retail stores and ate like emperors at greasy spoon restaurants on every street corner! Yada, yada, yada.
The honest truth is, as in most cases, between these two extremes, and my subjective opinion of my predicament varies from hour to hour. Here's a run-down of the pros and cons:
1. The no-pressure (or at least low-pressure) aspect is truly nice. I was so worn out by the end of grad school that the first few weeks of bed rest were a welcome reprieve.
2. I really do have people waiting on me hand and foot, and I fully recognize that this may never happen again. Tim and my Mom take turns being at my beck and call, bringing me apple slices, rubbing my sore back, and setting up our incomprehensible entertainment system to play Little House on the Prairie episodes.
3. People write, call, and sometimes even visit me to give me encouragement. I didn't know how many prayer warriors I had until this little setback, but they're everywhere. I might not have known how many people cared about us and our baby otherwise.
4. I get to spend lots of time appreciating the experience of being pregnant. It's easier to feel baby's every move when I'm completely still. I can write in the baby's journal whenever I have the notion. And I have all the time I could wish for to explore baby names and read up on things like childbirth and infant care.
1. Sometimes I really am bored to tears. It's not that I don't have anything to do; it's just that sometimes I really want to do something different! Like sew baby clothes or make macaroni and cheese or go to Wal-Mart and buy shampoo.
2. I'm missing out on a lot. Tim is taking our big trip without me, and getting to see so many of our friends one last time before we leave the country for three years. It tears me up that I am missing that opportunity. Next week is Homecoming at JBC - our five-year class reunion, no less - and I wanted so badly to see everyone.
3. They're not kidding about the insidious bowel irregularities, not to mention heartburn and indigestion. Combine the already sluggish peristalsis of pregnancy with the effects of being horizontal 24/7; add to that the need to cram as many calories as possible (because, like many bed-resters, I'm not gaining enough weight) into an ever-shrinking stomach space, and you have a recipe for digestive disaster.
4. It's not always as relaxing as it sounds. There's nothing calming about timing contractions when you are only halfway through your pregnancy. When they get worse, there's the agonizing back-and-forth about whether it's bad enough to go back to the hospital. All I want is to keep my baby safe, and my worst fear is that I'll fail to do that and she will have to suffer as a result.
So that's how it is. It's not the way I would have chosen to spend the next three months, but with every change in plans, there are unexpected blessings. Besides those listed above, I get to spend this time with my parents, which is really special. And I think that every challenge we've faced in starting a family has helped us to realize how blessed we are to have this baby; despite numerous problems that have plagued us almost since the day we found out we were expecting (and even before), she's still there, kicking and rolling and growing strong inside me. And when all is said and done, that's the only thing that really matters to me.