I was expecting my first child, no my only child at the age of 25 years. There were myriad of emotions connected to my pregnancy since I was single and still staying with my folks. In an African setting, this was shameful but forging through with the pregnancy was my only option.
My pregnancy was very special. I had sickle-cell anaemia – an hereditary blood disorder. In this condition my body would produce abnormal haemoglobin cells. These sickle-shaped cells would sometimes stick through blood vessels and tissue, thereby depriving organs from getting sufficient oxygen supply. This resulted to frequent painful episodes known as “crises”. Sickle-cell anaemia in pregnancy could lead to miscarriage, low-weight baby or preterm labour. My prenatal check-ups were intense. Towards the end of the 2nd trimester, on my way to the hospital for these routine health checks, my doctor settled on placing me under compulsory and monitored hospital bed rest.
Hospital bed rest
This being a high-risk pregnancy, I spent my last 3 months literally on the hospital bed. My variables were lying or sitting on the bed to taking regulated short walks. In bid of making the long months bearable, I would journal my daily experiences and read newspapers, magazines – especially on parenting. When I was tired of all that reading, I opted to knit mittens, sweaters and socks for my baby.
Around the 9th month, it was so unfortunate for me to have lost my mother. This was the worst hit ever; I’d last seen her 4 months earlier. She had been unwell for a while and had died while hospitalized. She couldn’t have died this soon while her grandchild was pretty much near-term. My doctors allowed me to attend her burial on condition that I would immediately embark on the hospital bed rest. I got counseling sessions to deal with this pain. My nutritionist put me on a diet that would boost my immunity as well as increase my haemoglobin production.
At the end of it all, I got my healthy bundle of joy; my priceless prize. The bed rest at first wasn’t a very good idea but I can attest that it helped in reducing the complications I had. In that regard, bed rest isn’t a punishment but a helpful tool in pregnancies. The best way out is not to resist but embrace it for all its worth.