When I gave birth to my daughter Claire, I lived in Hong Kong. My first husband and I moved there just after getting married in 2000, just to have the adventure of living on the other side of the world for a while. We brought our dog, got jobs, rented an apartment; were open to everything, until, for a gag, I did a Dr. Strangelove ride on the Seri Rambai cannon while sightseeing on a trip to Malaysia. After dismounting, I read the neighboring plaque to find that, and I am paraphrasing from memory, in local folklore, this cannon was said to have the magical power to make women pregnant. One month later…
My pregnancy was healthy. I was twenty-six, young and fit, and my birth was near perfect. Calm, organized, peaceful. Claire came into the world, happy, pink, and beautiful. The experience was so ideal, in fact, that I got pregnant again only seven months later. Only, things were different the second time. Something was amiss with my cervix. Pesky little thing wasn’t thick enough to hold baby number two to term. We moved back to the United States, and there in Hoboken, NJ, I got put on bed rest. Five months of bed rest.
Bed resting in pregnancy is a unique experience I would recommend to absolutely no one. And bed resting while you have a twenty-four pound, one-year-old child needing to play, learn, run, climb, and go to the park was impossible. Reading about it helped. Learning about others’ parallel experiences really, really helped.
Author Aileen Weintraub, a deeply hilarious and accomplished writer, whom I know and adore, also found herself on bedrest for even longer, and she went ahead and wrote a book about it. If you are on bedrest, or know someone in this predicament, and honestly, even if you just love a fascinating and funny read, check out one of my favorites: Knocked Down: A High-Risk Memoir, by Aileen Weintraub.