Mom Story: How I made it through hospital bedrest during my second pregnancy
Dock mom Bethany Smith shares her experience of coping with a tricky pregnancy and how she made the best of an unexpected hospital stay when pregnant with baby number two.
A bump in the road
I had a very easy pregnancy until 31 weeks when I had some unexplained bleeding one day at work. I called my OB’s office and they got me an appointment for a couple of hours later. My husband, Taylor, came and picked me up from work and we headed to the doctor’s office where they performed an ultrasound. Because it was a Friday afternoon and because of the amount of bleeding I had, they made the decision to send me to the hospital to be admitted for what we were told would just be for observation over the weekend. Before they were comfortable sending me home on Monday, they wanted me to have an ultrasound with the perinatologist to double check everything. They then ordered an MRI to get a more detailed look at what was going on. The MRI confirmed that I had placenta increta, which is where the placenta begins to grow into the uterine wall. What this meant for me and our baby was that I would have to stay in the hospital for close observation until the baby was born and at the time of delivery, I would need to have a hysterectomy to lessen the risk of hemorrhage. While hearing that I would need a hysterectomy was definitely not something I was prepared for, my husband and I are so incredibly grateful that this was caught before delivery where things could have been so much worse. Now they were able to have a plan in place that included a scheduled date when I would be 35 weeks with a whole team of surgeons.
Making it work, with lots of support!
I have to say I am so lucky to have the most supportive husband in the world. He is the best dad and he brought Holland up to the hospital to see me whenever I was needing that time with her. I was in the hospital for the whole month of October, so we had a lot of Halloween candy in my room and Holland LOVED coming up to the hospital and handing out candy to all of “her” nurses. We also had made the decision to host an au pair, Suellen, before we knew any of this was going to be happening. When we matched with her, we decided to have her come at the beginning of October even though the baby wasn’t due until the end of November. We wanted her to have plenty of time to get settled in Atlanta and get to know Holland. I was so disappointed to not be able to go to the airport with Taylor and Holland to pick her up, but they got some great pictures. Unfortunately, she didn’t really get that “adjustment period” we were hoping for, but she just jumped right in and has loved Holland from day one. It was such a relief for me know that while I couldn’t be home with Holland, she was getting so much love and attention.
It’s the little things that count
Throughout all of this our biggest concern was just keeping everything as normal as possible for Holland. We still read stories together every night while she was in her bed at home and I was in my bed at the hospital. We even had matching HATCH night lights - I couldn’t reach the light switch from my bed so I bought myself the same night light that Holland has in her room at home that you can turn on and off from the app on your phone. This night light can also be set to different colors, so every night before Holland went to bed, she would choose which color our night lights would be that night. It seems silly but I think it really helped her feel like I was there with her (and maybe me a little too).
Our version of a gender reveal party
When I was pregnant with Holland, we knew we didn’t want to know whether we were having a boy or a girl, I was so excited for that surprise. It was so fun having Taylor tell me that we had a little girl! We wanted to do that again this time around and again chose to not find out if we were having a baby boy or girl. Once they decided I would definitely need a hysterectomy and I met with the anesthesia team they let me know that I would have to be put to sleep during the birth and Taylor would not be able to be in the room for the delivery. The best part for us being surprised that Holland was a girl was being surprised together, so we knew no matter what we wanted to find out if this was a boy or girl together. At my next ultrasound with the perinatologist, they gave us an envelope with the gender inside and we had our local donut shop make some gender reveal donuts for us. The next day Taylor, Holland and I sat in my hospital bed and ate donuts together and found out we were having a baby boy. Watching Holland discover she was going to have a baby brother was the best thing ever.
Friends that are family
Honestly, my biggest coping mechanisms were my friends and family. All of the nurses kept telling me they had never seen anyone with so many visitors!! There was one day that my friends had planned a “Baby Smith #2 Brunch,” obviously I wasn’t going to be going to any brunch and--to be completely honest with how crazy things were--I didn’t even realize it was supposed to be that day. That morning, my very best girl friends since childhood showed up to the hospital with a full-fledged brunch. I truly have the best friends - my friend, Brooke, and my sister, Rachel, even indulged me in some sleepovers (sheet masks included). My immediate and extended family were also all so supportive - they were there for everything whether it was doing a load of laundry, bringing me lunch, keeping me laughing or just letting me cry when I needed to. There was A LOT of Netflix - my husband even got me a fire stick so I could watch it on TV instead of my laptop. One of my best friends sent me a package with some of the things she found the most helpful. My favorite things she sent me were a large puzzle and an essential oil diffuser— the nurses said they loved coming into my room because it felt like a spa!
In addition to the support from my family and friends I felt incredible support from my team of doctors. Any time my OB came to see me he would pull up a chair and sit down. I never once felt rushed or was made to feel like I was asking too many questions. He even gave me his cell phone number in the event that I needed anything or had any questions he said he wanted everything to come directly to him. I can never thank him enough. I also tried to make the most of this time as I knew once I got home the craziness would begin with a toddler and a newborn - I spent a lot of time just reflecting on how although this situation was not ideal I still felt so blessed to be surrounded by so much love, to have an incredible husband and almost two amazing kids!
Gotta love our DockATot
I didn’t have a DockATot when Holland was born but it has been so helpful this time around! Whether I needed to jump in the shower, fold laundry or was playing with Holland, the DockATot Deluxe+ was there to keep Meyer safe and secure, in arm’s reach. Taylor and I have even put him in it next to us while we are on the Peloton!! He always seems at ease and happy when he is in it, which is so comforting to us.
Words of wisdom
Advice I would give to other moms dealing with unexpected complications during pregnancy is to give yourself a little grace - if you need to cry, then cry. With that being said I also think it is so important to maintain a positive attitude. I know this can be easier said than done, especially for women who are going through way worse than what I have gone through. I read a quote recently on a friend’s Instagram that really resonated with me and promptly forwarded it to another friend who was enduring some pregnancy complications as well. The quote was “staying positive doesn’t mean that things will always turn out okay, but rather it is knowing that you will be okay no matter how things turn out.”
I’m amazed by the amount of gratitude I have felt through all of this. I think being in the medical field myself I just know how much worse this all could have been, and I am so thankful that even though I ended up needing a hysterectomy everything turned out okay and my husband and I get to watch our two babies grow up. Taylor and I had already been so blessed with our three-year-old daughter, Holland (and now our sweet new baby boy Meyer) we always knew we wanted to have at least two children and said we would just see what would happen from there. For now, we are staying pretty busy as a family of four, but we could one day decide to grow our family through adoption or surrogacy.
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