After a week of being stuck in bed, the solitude is already starting to get to me. I went from being extremely social and interacting face to face with several people a day to having a small amount of human contact since most of my interactions these days are by phone, text, email, Facebook, and now this blog. Even in this technological day and age, absolutely nothing compares to in-person interactions/communication. I don't think I will ever take this for granted again. I had a breakdown the morning of my week anniversary here at The BirthPlace because it was the first day that was very quiet. The nurses were concerned about my sad state so they sent in the social worker and hospital chaplain to offer some guidance. Since arriving, I have had a good amount of visitors for the holidays and my birthday because most of my family and friends were off of work. Now, work has started back up for most and the number of visitors are down to a slow trickle. This leaves long stretches of time where the only human interaction I have is with my nurses when they come in to feed me various drugs. Not only is loneliness setting in, but the loss of independence and freedom is equally as frustrating. Since I can only get out of bed to use the bathroom, all other normal activities must be modified versions which are to be done while in bed. For instance, I am not able to take a shower, wash my hair, brush my teeth, etc. unless I am lying down. Sponge baths are my new best friend. Washing my hair is also a challenge because the nurse has to do it in the sink and transfer me to a special gurney which lines up with the counter. Plus, the nurse can only do this in a moment of downtime since it is a little time consuming. This means that my hair is getting washed about once a week if I am lucky. Dry shampoo is another new best friend I have made. Not being able to leave my room or go outside is getting very claustrophobic so I am now leaving my door wide open so I can at least listen for signs of human life in the hallway and sometimes I even get to see one of these humans walk by!
The one thing that really helps keep my sanity in check is this new Facebook group I started shortly after arriving here. I quickly asked the nurses about other women in my same situation who are staying at the hospital too. They were able to confirm that there were a handful of others just like me but they could not give me their information because of patient confidentiality. Instead, I gave permission to the nurses to distribute my information in order for these women to friend me on Facebook. I added them to a private group where we could chat and share our stories with each other. Within a matter of a couple of days, we were all in the group and sharing up a storm. It was so refreshing to know that we all have such similar stories and experiences which helped make things a little less isolating and foreign. In addition, some of the women have either done this before or have been here long enough to give really helpful and supportive advice. On my week anniversary when the tears could not stop falling, I quickly turned to the group to let them know what was going on with me. Immediately, they were all responding to my post and telling me that they have been through the same exact thing and described what they did to make themselves feel better. This strange new sorority has truly been my saving grace and will continue to make this experience more bearable. As we all come and go, I hope that this group will keep going in order to continue to help future bed rest moms who are in need of support and friendship.
In addition to the new friends I have made, I received a very nice surprise from one of the nurses which has helped cheer me up. She arrived with a very large decorative sunflower to hang on my wall and a truly inspiring story to go with it. About three years ago, a mom on bed rest who was pregnant with twins bought this sunflower to hang in her room. Her twins were able to be delivered at full term and were very healthy so she suspected that this sunflower had something to do with the positive outcome. Before she left the hospital, she gave the sunflower to the nurses with specific instructions that this sunflower should continue to hang in patients' rooms for other moms on bed rest, specifically moms with twins on the way. On the back of the sunflower, everyone who has kept the sunflower in their room has their name listed and each and every one of them had the same positive outcome with their own twins. Not only does it brighten up my room but it has magical powers...just like those jeans in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Yeah, I know you're jealous of my magical flower. But seriously, this flower helps remind me that even though I have had a drastic change in my day-to-day life, the reason for me being here and making this huge sacrifice is to ensure that these babies stay alive and are born healthy and happy.
*The song "I Miss the Mountains" is from the 2009 Broadway musical Next to Normal which is about a mother named Diana who struggling with bipolar disorder. Not the happiest of subjects, but the show is amazing with great music...plus it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I obviously don't have bipolar disorder or any mental illness for that matter, but this one song really describes what I have been feeling over the past week. In the song itself, Diana describes how she misses her life before her illness and that she yearns for normal again. Now I have a new version of normal which I am slowly getting used to but it is encouraging to remind myself how temporary this is. There is an end in sight where I will be rewarded with two beautiful angels in my arms and then the sunflower will be passed on.