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Prescription: bed rest.

April 30, 2014

Courtney Kowalchuk is the mother of twin girls after battling endometriosis most of her life. After several surgeries to correct the damage done by this disorder, and a challenging pregnancy and delivery, she hopes that by sharing her experiences, she can help inspire strength and encouragement for others. Courtney is the President/CEO of BrightLight Branding, a full service branding and marketing company located in Orlando, FL.

At 29 weeks pregnant with twins, I was beginning to have contractions and my cervix was effacing, one of the first signs of labor. In order to keep my babies, and myself, as healthy and safe as possible, my doctor prescribed me to be on “strict bed rest.” He ordered me to stay in bed and to only be mobile 10 minutes a day. It was just enough time for me to take a quick shower and use the restroom.

When you’re pregnant and you hear the words “bed rest,” it brings up a multitude of thoughts and emotions. The prescription can be for many different reasons and various lengths of time. Sounds dreadful, right? Not entirely. See, I found myself in a position that I never thought I would be in - vulnerable and dependent. Vulnerable because I had two babies growing inside of me, and it was my responsibility to keep them there until they were more developed. And dependent, because I needed help with everything I would do on normal, daily basis: from making dinner, to doing laundry, to decorating the twins' bedroom. And I have to say, my husband really stepped it up during this time!

While I was on bed rest, someone would need to take me to Winnie Palmer Hospital’s triage to have a “stress test” done each week. This was to monitor the babies’ heart rates and make sure all are looking good and developing nicely. These visits truly were the highlight of my week. The staff was so fun and friendly, making me feel like I was “out on the town.” For someone that considers herself to be a grounded, yet adventurous, social person, this seems sad. But it wasn’t. The staff consistently made me feel like my babies and I mattered. Never did the nurses and staff at Winnie Palmer Hospital make me feel like I was “just another patient.” This made a huge difference in my moral throughout the two months of being on bed rest. I felt like my babies and I were getting the red carpet treatment the whole way through. The staff didn’t really know me, or that I didn’t have any family in the area, that I was scared, and not sure how my job was going to pan out with being on bed rest and having twins. But they made me feel special.

Looking back at my experiences, I find myself being thankful of so many people and the things they did for us. Of course, the most obvious one of all, that my babies developed in the place that suits them best, my belly, and were born two days shy of 37 weeks, weighing 5 pounds 11 ounces each.

So, I encourage mothers to be brave, patient, and thankful. Be thankful for the doctor that prescribed the bed rest, because you may have just found yourself, and your baby, in more vulnerable and dependent situations. Be thankful to the nurses and staff that watch over you, because they truly do care. Be thankful for Winnie Palmer Hospital, for their beautiful facility, and the little thoughtful ways they make a pregnant mother feel special. I know that I am, and will continue to be thankful for all of these things every day of my daughters’ lives!