Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bed Rest

     Think about who you are for a moment. About your own wonderful and unique blend of God-given personality and the character that you've chosen to develop. Although many of this earth will behave in similar ways at times and you may find those that you share traits with, you are as one-of-a-kind as your thumbprint. My own personality combines my natural sanguine, free-floating spirit with a deep and fiery determination. The first time I ever read in history about the southern term "steel magnolias" it resonated with me. I found I could identify with the concept of someone being gracious, feminine, and ladylike and still having the backbone and grit to get things done when it mattered. At 15 I tore the stitches in my knee because I pushed through rehab so hard and also impressed my coaches at how quickly I was back on the court. In the PTA program I constantly heard classmates saying, "I don't know how you get it all done with all you have going on." My boss commented after one of the best April Fool's jokes I've ever managed to plan (that's a whole other story!), "you just don't give up, do you?" I grinned while shaking my head and said, "Nope. Not in my vocabulary."
     I come from a family of determined people. That's probably where a lot of it comes from. It's a mixture of optimistic "can-do" attitudes and a knowledge that sometimes sacrifices just have to be made to accomplish a goal. For me there was a lot of competition with my older brothers and trying to be seen as anything but the baby of the family. But there can be a darker side to this as well. You can only burn a candle from both ends for so long before both ends of the flame meet in the middle. Even steel will crack when exposed to too much pressure. And that is what has happened to me. My poor pregnant body has declared "enough!" I was hospitalized for two days last week due to high blood pressure, a potentially deadly condition in pregnancy known as preeclampsia. Even today with all the marvels of modern medicine there isn't much that doctors can do for prevention and treatment. They don't even know why some women come down with it and other don't. Currently I'm obeying my doctor's orders and doing the best that medicine can to keep both myself and my unborn child safe: restricting salt in my diet, taking blood pressure meds, and full-time bed rest.
     To say that I didn't struggle when my OB/GYN issued this edict would be a bald-faced lie. It felt like my world as I know it is coming to an end. Maybe a tad dramatic, I'll fess up to that, but it completely turned my life upside down. I'm used to constantly moving, coming and going, doing, being busy. What in the world am I supposed to do lying on the couch, and preferably on my left side? I've grown accustomed to feeling constant pressure from deadlines, house, children, responsibilities, and feeling that's just a part of my normal life. No surprise that my BP is high, I can often feel my pulse thudding in my neck and the base of my skull.
     In a conversation that my dad has had to repeat to two out of his three children, he related his own struggles with stress and blood pressure at a young age. About his doctor's warnings and the choices he had to make to become healthier.  In his early 20's my dad had to learn to stop and smell the roses more and to relax. And apparently that too is something that has to be learned in this family. Apparently I need to stop running and learn to sit and be content. Apparently I need to be more in the moment and stop worrying about what comes next. To stop depending on self so much, and rely on God.  To accept love and help from other people. Apparently  I have lessons to learn, children to cuddle and read to, things to mentally and emotionally let go of. Apparently this bed rest is going to be good for me for more than producing a healthy baby.

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