Living life on the edge: 20 observations on the perils of bedrest

I  am now at the end of my fifth week of bedrest, and I’m not bored at all. Ok, that’s a lie. But let’s not criticise the boredom, let’s embrace it.

After all,  I’ve only had a chance to be bored in the last two weeks when I:

·     stopped bleeding like a stuck pig  every 2 days,

·     found out our gumby did not have downs,

·    was able to get out of the “run, there’s a tyrannosaurus after you”  level of old-brain anxiety

These are all good developments.

So I’m making a list of living life on the edge items from bedrest. No sarcasm / offence intended. Feel free to add your own in the comments section below.

Living life on the edge #1: it is important to get the balance right between adequate hydration and needing to pee 24/7.

I tend to drink water when I’m bored, or anxious, or feeling ill. Which makes me look 6 months pregnant some days when I’m only 14.5 weeks. It does give me an excuse to get out of bed, but I might drown.

Living life on the edge #2: leaf blowers are the enemy

When you finally decide to cave in and have a nap, someone will arrive with a leaf blower within 30m of your open window. Leaf blowers will come EVERY DAY you are on bed rest. Leaf blowers are a LOT more annoying than old school lawnmowers. And leaf blowers are INEVITABLY operated by fat men who could do with the exercise of sweeping. And often.

Living life on the edge #3: it is not good manners to try and hit the man with the leafblower with a slingshot, and may not be strictly in keeping with the rules of bedrest. You also may not get your “shot” back.

Living life on the edge #4: it is not good manners to tell the man with the leafblower he could do with more exercise, eg by sweeping*

Living life on the edge #5: get some sun

Vitamin D is apparently important for baby’s language development in later life. Plus after four weeks bedrest you end up looking like someone out of a Twilight movie. Which isn’t good if you’re later aiming for a pregnant glow. If you decide to give your belly sun, look out for neighbours, postmen, and men with leafblowers. It can freak em out.

Life on the edge # 6: visitors with cakes

If visitors insist on bringing cakes, put them out of sight very quickly, and wait til hungry hub-in-boots arrives home. Otherwise, invite a lot more visitors of the “non baking non cake buying variety” very soon afterwards and be generous. (If you find yourself making gorging noises ¾ of the way through a prohibited ricotta cannoli without thinking, the last bite probably won’t make much difference). Freezing leftover cake can also slow you down. Sometimes.

 Life on the edge #7: low GI muesli bars and nuts are your friend.

They fit nicely in the bedside drawer when you’re hungry, but trying not to get up. But watch the wrappers and the subsequent ant plague. Ants are not comfortable in your bed. Come to think of it, neither are nuts.

Life on the edge #8: be careful of the placement of your progesterone pessaries in the fridge

People might mistake their foil wrapped goodness  for lollies. Especially children and drunk people. Not pretty. You also can pull end up pulling some pretty scary facial expressions during use, if they end up in the colder section of the fridge where things accidentally freeze.

Life on the edge #9: horizontal makeovers

It is possible to wax your legs, paint your toenails and straighten your hair whilst half lying down. You will spend a lot of time looking at your toes, for now, so it makes you feel better. It can also stop those all day frights when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirrored wardrobe or on skype.

Life on the edge #10: husbands  do not understand changing sheets (or towels)

Spell it out to them. Stripping the bed is a hard to ignore sign. Hemorrhaging on them also works, but makes you feel a bit sick and you absolutely rip through the napisan pre wash, so I wouldn’t recommend that as the ideal solution.

Life on the edge #11:  envy

If anyone says “God I’d kill to lay down and watch DVDs for four weeks” there is only one solution: punch them. Hard.

Life on the edge #12: showers are precious

Shower time is exciting time. You get to stand up. Crazy talk. You get to do something normal. This does not mean, however, you can have showers that exceed an hour. That’s cheating.

Life on the edge #13: famous last words

If you utter the words “ I’ll just get up and….” or “I might just…..” you are about to get up, do things you’re not supposed to be doing, and possibly kill your baby (nothing like an idle mind for catastrophising). Set time limits and stick to them. Make lists of what needs to be done, and make friends with someone who lives locally and has an Obsessive Compulsive Disorder around cleaning / tidying.

Life on the edge #14: birds

Birds outside the window are nice to watch. A bird flying in through your verandah door, shitting on the carpet, and then flapping around the house wildly is not, however, conducive to bed rest. If the birds in your neighbourhood are stupid, shut the door*.

Life on the edge #15: washing

If you’re expecting a visitor, put some washing on.   Visitor #1 can hang it out, visitor #2 can  bring it in*. As an aside, if you live in an apartment, it is useful to tell visitor #2 how to recognise your portion of the washing line, or you may end up with one of your neighbour’s underwear. This is not a pleasant experience, but may add to your supplies of cleaning rags and/ or giant nanna undies**.

Life on the edge #16: what can I do / bring?

Many visitors will ask this. Resist the knee jerk reply of “nothing”, and reply “hang out my washing”, “water the plants”, “clean the bathroom because people with a penis can’t clean properly”, “bring a meal”, or “geez I’d kill for a $1 cheeseburger and a max Brenner hot chocolate”. If it turns out in the glucose tolerance test that you’re fucked, perhaps leave out the last option. If your visitor is male, perhaps leave out the penis comment. Lists written in large font  stuck to the wall can provide subtle prompts to visitors.

Life on the edge #17: do you need reading material / DVDS?

The answer is yes. Because even if you have loads and you never watch them, the choice of DVDS and or books gives you an amazing insight into friends and acquaintances that you may otherwise never may have got.” You bought what????” Plus the rip off DVDs they purchased on the black market in China that have typos on the covers are incredibly amusing: “Shakespe in Love”. Finding For Rester (finding Forrester), or my personal favourite:


I'm pretty sure this is not a shot from the movie. And that aint Matthew Broderick.


Gotta love those blackmarket numbers



 Re #17: Try to avoid their porn collections where possible. They make for awkward conversation**.

Life on the edge #18: stupid advice

Some people will feel compelled to give you stupid advice or imply that “trying to think positive” will help your situation. Yes, random cramps or bursts of bleeding and wondering 100 times a day is your baby about to die really does make this positive thinking easy.  And obviously, they have double blind peer reviewed studies to prove that positive thinking will make a difference to miscarriage rates. Perhaps you could ask them for academic references. Perhaps people should avoid telling you how you should be feeling.

 Yes, you understand there will be positives to come out of this situation, such as more patience, a mindfulness, and a stronger relationship(s),  but this is something you will experience fractionally, or with hindsight, not right when you’re mopping up blood with towels. To help resist the powerful urge to pull on any Pollyanna self help guru pigtails, it helps to have a mantra to avoid ruining friendships at these moments. “They mean well they mean well they mean well” can help, as can “LA LA LAAAAAA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” whilst sticking your fingers in your ears can have the same effect. If you are on the phone, holding it in the air whilst giving the receiver the bird is quite effective. Mystery mobile phone drop outs also work. 

And if this has happened whilst I’ve been on the phone to you, I actually really do get poor reception at home…..just ring my bloody home number.

Life on the edge #19: Deliveries

Deliveries of online groceries, flowers gifts and visitors will always arrive in the 15 minute period in any day when you are wet, and naked. This is just a fact.

Life on the edge #20: knitting

Knitting takes a shitload of time. You have a shitload of time. You do the math.

Some people say it is like meditation. Sometimes it is, but sometimes it is like going to the dentist. Perhaps put it down when it gets like a dental visit, don’t go all OCD on your perfectionist ass.

(please note I’ve managed to change colour today. I rock.)

the horizontal pedicure, combined with this week's second and slightly improved knitting attempt

 *this really happened

** this didn’t really happen, but I thought about it. 


5 thoughts on “Living life on the edge: 20 observations on the perils of bedrest

  1. These are hilarious. I adore your sense of humor and am so impressed that you are able to maintain it despite all of this. I very much hope all goes well as you will make a delightful mom! (I can’t get over the Ferris Bueller’s Day Off DVD cover – hysterical)

  2. More survival spirit stuff:-9 Admire you for it!! And by the way, I’m so with you on the ‘positive thinking’ stuff. So many people say that so often to other people in all kinds of situations – in situations like yours it’s cruel. Similarly when people say it to someone living with infertility or cancer or whatever it might be. Because it’s like making you responsible for what happens, even though in reality you have no control. Have you read Barbara Ehrenreich’s book “Smile or Die”. It’s fantastic. Here is a little animated version of her argument on you tube:

    1. Oh busting to watch that but at my mums on the slow slow net, so getting it in 5 second bursts . My husband is a bit ‘well think positive’, but I’ve explained to him (and he gets it now) that you’ve got to feel what you’re feeling, not just push it down, deny it, and only accept the positive messages. My counsellor calls it ‘magical thinking’ and agrees with you- it puts pressure back on you , in an already untenable situation, which is grossly unfair to yourself and your own emotional experience. I think ‘be mindful ‘ is much much more helpful . And glad you got a laugh 🙂 from my list.

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