Thursday, December 6, 2012

Les (Writing) Miserables

by Ernessa T. Carter

So like a lot of expectant mothers of twins before me, I've been put on bedrest. It's funny, because I knew it could happen, had read about it happening to countless others, but for whatever reason, just did not see it happening to me.

Truth be told, having moved my writing set-up to my bed at about three months into my pregnancy, it felt a bit like I was already on bedrest. I spent the majority of my days in bed writing, and was even amused to read in one of my twin books that mother's who got put on bedrest should work on that novel they always wanted to write.

You'd think, actually being put on bedrest wouldn't be so bad. Except it's worse than bad. In fact, it's terrible.

As it turns out, staying in bed all day, like many activities (including writing), is only fun when you choose to do it. Last year around this hectic time, I would have longed to have curled up in bed with a book all day. Writing uninterrupted without having to stop to pick up my daughter from preschool would have been a dream come true.

But somehow the romance goes out of reading when you have nothing else to do. And my writing flow often gets interrupted anyway with long daydreams about sexy stuff, like going outside and walking around my neighborhood, or riding a bike, or swimming. I wonder if the people at my gym know how lucky they are to be able to work out. I put together imaginary playlists to run to on the treadmill.

Then I actually have to take nap, because quiet as it's kept, the only thing more exhausting than being a busy mom with six pounds worth of babies in her belly is sitting in bed all day. I have no idea why. It just is. During these naps I usually dream about even sexier things like window shopping in malls, and getting on planes, and going to see movies -- really just about any other activity that takes place outside of my home.

But yeah, despite all the crankiness, daydreaming, and napping, I am getting a lot of writing done -- I mean a ton of it. It's kind of ridiculous how productive I've been.

And now I'm wondering if anyone else has ever gotten a lot of writing done under miserable conditions. If so, let me know in the comments. As you might have heard, misery loves company. Oh, and if you have any solutions for staying sane on bedrest, let me know.


21 comments:

  1. Sorry, Ernessa. How much longer. Sorry you're going through this.

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    1. Hopefully at least five more weeks, but I'm starting to get used to it.

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  2. I have no sanity advice, except that it's a very good thing you're getting all that writing time in now. That's likely to change just as soon as you have two babies keeping you up and on the alert.

    I remember accepting a huge editing job a week before I gave birth to my first, convinced, of course, that I'd have plenty of time to complete the assignment. I heard the smile in the contractor's voice when he said this might be more than I should expect of new motherhood, but I pooh-poohed him.

    Two weeks into new-baby-dom, I called him back, sighed, and gave the work to someone else.

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    1. I've also learned the hard way not to commit myself, too. I'm writing more, but also taking more naps and I never know when I'll get hit with a big energy flag. I just guiltily turned in a project three days late, and I've started telling people I won't be available to even talk about projects until March.

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  3. I totally get where you're coming from. When my doctor put me on bedrest during the latter part of my pregnancy, many moons ago, it felt like I'd been sentenced to hard time. I wasn't nearly as good about actually staying on bedrest as I should have been. I often wish I had those hours of rest back. (And my 'baby' is 23-years-old.) :-)

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    1. Bed rest is crazy in that it doesn't feel like there's anything wrong with me, but according to the tests, my cervix is being overly dynamic, so I have to sit on my butt all day. I'm trying to appreciate, b/c I know the next step is complete sleep deprived insanity, but am finding it difficult. Some things have to be looked at through the lens of time I guess.

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  4. Hang in there, Ernessa! What is it they say? It will all be worth it... I can relate to your daydreams of normal, as I did nothing but puke for 27 cumulative months of my life! What is your due date?

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    1. Technically February, but more realistically mid-January. Puking for 27 months sounds horrible. Oh, man!

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  5. I wasn't on bedrest but I was sick for most of my pregnancy. At 4'11, and with only about three inches between breasts and hips, there wasn't much room for a baby to comfortably grow. I managed to get a whole book out of it, The Thin Pink Line.

    May you get a whole book out of this and two great babies in the end. Keep sane.

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    1. Lauren: I'm also 4'11" and what a shame we couldn't have taken our photos together. We would have looked like escapees from The Wizard of Oz Dwarfs Gone Bad. :-)

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    2. I'm 5'3 and thankfully carrying super low. No rib action yet, but man, do they not want me to breathe.

      What's weird is the book I'm working on involves an overwhelmed mother who has twins. What's even weirder is I started writing it before I got pregnant. Crazy, right?

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  6. I was on bedrest in the hospital for both of my pregnancies. (So, look at the bright side-- you don't have to use a bedpan!!) I found it really hard to stay positive, so I spent most of my time trying to distract myself, and that meant lots of books. Maybe this could be a really good reading time for you!

    If you wanna chat to a Girlfriend who's been there, you know how to reach me!

    xoxo

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    1. Oh my goodness, don't tell me about the bedpan. The doctor has warned me several times to be prepared to go on hospital bed rest if my cervix doesn't stop acting up. But it gives me nice little deadlines. Like my next appointment is on Monday, so I'd better get the most important things on my todo list crossed off before then. Just in case I have to go into the hospital.

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  7. Ernessa, I too spent lots of time on bedrest during my pregnancies. 22 years later I still remember climbing the figurative walls and watching time crawl by in seconds on the clock. The first time I was on a drug called phenobarbitol which makes concentrating impossible. I feel for you. But hang in there and the twins will be happier for it. You, my dear, will get the martyr medal later in life!
    love
    sheila

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    1. I'm lucky, I guess. The powers that be cracked down on those drugs (I'm assuming you got the one that stops contractions, too). Now they can only give you them for like a 72 hour span, then they give you something else to relax your uterus. Thank heavens. Not only couldn't I concentrate to read more than a short article, my hands were shaking so bad I could barely work my iPhone.

      I don't need to receive a medal. I'm pretty much pinning it on myself, and the twins are going to hear all about it. :)

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  8. I wasn't on bedrest for my twins, but I certainly empathize. That's four arms, four legs, two butts and two heads all squirming around. It's like being a hotel on lockdown.

    Hang in there! Sanity is not my speciality, so I doubt if I'll be of any help, but there's always Jerry Springer as a thermometer for your own drama!

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    1. I will be using your "hotel on lockdown" comparison for the rest of this pregnancy. Thank you so much for that.

      The nice thing is that I'm losing my mind, but all the dramatic ways I can think to express it IRL involve actually getting up, which I'm too afraid to do for fear of having more contractions. So, I just kind of sit around imagining what I would do if I could, you know, get out of bed for anything other than using the bathroom and taking one 10-minute shower a day.

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  9. Yes! Lots of writing when my first baby napped--writing the book I desperately wanted to read
    But YAY for you and twins!!

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    1. I'm so scared about napping with twins. My daughter was a fantastic sleeper from two months on. I can't imagine life if they're not, too. Writing mamas need that nap time!

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  10. I had some luck with voice recognition software during bedrest, but big advances in the software that occurred in the past 3.5 years so you'll have an easier time being heard than I did. I can't write-write that way, but maybe you can.

    I bought a special Laptop Laidback desk for using the computer in bed, but my belly was too big for the desk! LMK if you want me to send you mine to use for at least a few months until you get very big, happy to do so as it's currently just sitting there.

    There were no tablets in those days (there were iPhones, but I didn't have one) but my iPad totally would have saved me since my bedrest required me to be on my side most of the time which is just not conducive to extensive typing.

    I'm proud of getting as much accomplished as I did during the bedrest months, but mostly I watched a bunch of entire TV series (esp. when I was on magnesium -- not much thinking/writing went on during those weeks).

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    1. Hahaha, I have a laptop desk, too, and for the first time am happy that I have weirdly long arms for my height.

      I'm allowed to sit up -- as long as I'm not having more than 4 contractions an hour while doing so -- so TTL for that. But I've been squeezing in a lot of tv.

      I've made my way through REVENGE, and FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS. Now I'm catching up on Nashville and trying to decide what to watch next. Maybe DAMAGES.

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