Stitch in Time
13 Oct

A Stitch in Time: Part 1

How many of you enjoyed being pregnant? The massages, going to yoga, shopping for maternity jeans, going to the baby shops to grin inanely at little clothes, sharing a secret smile with other mums as they passed by with their prams, feeling happy when someone gives you a seat on the Tube, and just generally indulging in the experience. 

What if you couldn’t do any of that because you had to spend your entire pregnancy in bed?

One of my dearest friends is at the beginning of a very difficult time. She’ll be writing about her ordeal for us here as it happens to her, mostly just to keep herself sane, but also because I promised her that the readers of this blog would be a lifeline for her. She needs support, encouragement and positive comments. I hope you can help.

I bring you part one in the story of Jane*, an amazing tale of a mother’s love and strength.

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This is the first day of the rest of my life. True for everyone, but very fitting for me on this specific occasion.

Today begins my pregnancy bed rest. I will effectively be on house arrest for at least the next 9 weeks and 1 day, and probably much longer. I have been advised that I am allowed to be on my feet for no more than 4 hours a day. That includes going to the toilet, showering, getting lunch etc, so basically not very much. The rest of the time I have to have my feet up.

What brings me here? Well, I am 14 weeks and 6 days pregnant. On Monday I had an operation that put a stitch in my cervix. You see, when I was 23, I had stage 1ai cervical cancer that was treated by removing some of my cervix, unfortunately not leaving enough to naturally carry a baby full term. Along with the stitch I have to help relieve pressure on the cervix by effectively sitting on my bum for the next 9 weeks.

To many women the excuse to put your feet up and get other people to do the chores sounds like bliss, but I already know it’s not going to be that easy. I am someone that relishes being busy and being under pressure by trying to fit everything into my life, and I do everything I do to the best of my ability. Now I have to learn how to do nothing to the best of my ability.

I work in finance for a global organisation and I LOVE my job. I work 50-60 hours a week, and thrive on the pressure. I am very social with a large friendship group. I love to run and do yoga, and most importantly, I have a great relationship with my husband, which until now has consisted of lots of socialising, eating out, holidays etc. So as you can probably tell this is the biggest change of my life.

You might think that all that would have to change anyway if we were planning a baby, and you’re right. But when the baby comes I will definitely not be complaining of not being busy, it’s just how to fill the 25 weeks between now and then…

So this is how I plan to do it. Today, I am going to do the following:
- start this journal
- write a list of everything I can do over the next few weeks to fill my time
- finish watching Black Swan which I started in hospital
- spend time with my mother-in-law who is here for the next few days looking after me and one of my best friends, Zoe, who is popping round to visit later
- buy a tray table online for my bed
- complete my maternity exemption form
- plan the next few weeks out in terms of who will be around and when, so I understand which days will be the loneliest and hardest
- let those people I’ve not contacted yet know that I am out of hospital and open for visitors!

So, I’ve started my house arrest as I start my workday: planning what I’m going to do for the next 12 hours. Maybe if I approach the next 9 weeks this way, it won’t be so bad. What is critical for me is to keep a positive frame of mind. I want to look back on this time and to think, “Wow, wasn’t I strong!”

Unfortunately, that didn’t start so well yesterday when my husband and I had a row about how we were going to manage the next few weeks. My husband is a Director of a company and works incredibly hard. On a good day he leaves the house at 7.30am and returns at 7.30pm, but if there is anything going on after work or he goes to the gym, this means getting home at 9pm or later. I thought we’d agreed that he would try and work from home twice a week in order to help me and keep me company. He said only 1 day was realistic AND he didn’t want to stop going to the gym (normally 2 nights a week), meaning on those days I’d be on my own until 9pm when he’d come in and flake out.

I feel like I am sacrificing everything, so it seemed incredibly harsh. From his point of view, he was just trying to keep some ‘normal’, ensure he was still doing his job to the best of his ability and keep sane. It took three discussions before we could each see the other’s side; the first two ended in my tears of frustration as we couldn’t agree. We compromised that he would work from home once a week, and on that day go to the gym, and try and leave early once a week to go to the gym and be home no later than 7.30pm each day. This still leaves me on my own 4 days a week, 12 hours a day… Gulp.

I get it. If I am off on sick leave for longer than 12 weeks, I won’t get paid and we have a huge mortgage. We can’t risk my Husband not putting in 110% into his job. It’s more crucial than ever that he succeeds and keeps bringing in the bonuses, etc. I am going to try my hardest not to get frustrated with him wanting to put the bread on the table.

Also, I  understand he wants to keep going to the gym to keep some sanity and I won’t begrudge him that. I just know how difficult I would find being on my own from the time I get up until 9pm each evening. I know it will be worth it all in the end, when we have a little person who is half of both of us.

But the immediate future seems very daunting at the moment. I need to keep smiling and keep positive thoughts. I’ll keep you posted on how I get on…

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*Jane is a pseudonym.

4 Comments

  1. 13 Oct

    Jenny AKA Mrs O

    Jane you will be amazed at the strength you can muster up to get through this! I found being pregnant quite lonely at times, also having a husband that works hard and long hours, who also loves the gym, and going out on gay ‘boys nights’ (ugh, really? 32 years old NOT 18).

    I had painful SPD which limited my mobility so I was housebound an awful lot. Turns out it wasn’t too bad, I had lots of visitors, and my laptop was my best friend! Before you know it, baby will be here, trust me, you will be fine. It’s all for the greater good. If you can get through cervical cancer, you can do anything!

    Can’t wait to follow your journey, I love this blog

    Jen x

  2. 13 Oct

    Lucie

    Hi Jane, best of luck to you during these challenging times. It will all be worth it! It’s nothing like your situation but I was bed bound with severe morning sickness for three months with my first child. (I was given anti-sickness drug maxalon with my second which really helped)
    At the time I read as many novels as I could, kept the lap top nearby and made sure I spoke to people on the phone to keep less isolated (facebook didn’t count!) Looking back that was probably the last time I had properly to myself – life is frantic with two children under three and I never get to read or watch movies! So if you can enjoy the positive side of time to yourself and look forward to that incredible moment of holding your baby in your arms for the first time. I do wish you well and look forward to your future blogs. I’m sure you will inspire many other people with your bravery and openess. Best of luck. X

  3. 13 Oct

    Rachael

    Hi, hopefully the next 9 weeks that face you look much more difficult from the out side that they will once you are a few days in to them. I find that what ever I happen to be doing at any stage in my life if what seems totally normal and I can’t imagine anything else. (ie being pregnant. Only 27 weeks gone and I can’t even imagine or remember what it felt like before I was) Basically, I think I am saying, hopefully once you get in to your new laid back and quiet routine it will become your norm and you will learn to love it just as much as you did your previous lifestyle. Enjoy your time with your growing baby.
    Good luck!

  4. 14 Oct

    Charlie M

    Hi Jane, I have no idea how I would cope with this scenario – you are going to have to be very strong but believe that the result will be the most amazing thing in life that you will ever achieve (and possibly the best Christmas present ever!) It will get easier as bump grows and you start to feel the baby move, I can now spend hours chatting and rubbing my bump who merrily prods back… I would also possibly invest in subscription to love film & find a good reflexologist who does home visits! Wishing you all the best. x

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