Pelvic Rest (What, What, WHAT?!) -- The Pregnant Life

My Notebook
Sad Face
There's a frowny face in my pink doctor's-appointment notebook under the date of my most recent visit. The baby's great, fine, she's swimming around like a champ and her heart is beating like a champ and her tests are all coming back groovy-schmoovy. And I'm doing great too, in much better shape than my first pregnancy: blood pressure lower, weight more steady, mood and energy better.

The problem is this: I have one more month of orgasms, and then – pelvic rest. Pelvic. Rest. Do you know what that means? It sounds like someone settling into one of those drawer-beds that Japanese businessmen sleep in and sliding into a nice vagina-nap. What it really means is – no sex.


I have a perverse pride in the fact that I've never gone more than a few weeks without sex. Post-Penelope was the first time I went eight weeks, and I barely made it before diving (okay, wading) (okay, gingerly sticking a toe in the water and sorta paddling) back into the pool. Before her birth, I was so afraid something irreperable would happen to my body that I had to go to a hypnotherapist to calm down; when I was being stitched up after her birth, I remember saying, "Make sure you do that right, I want to use that thing again." (For the record, they did, and I have been. Obvie.)

It's my own fault for asking. Since my college days I've had these intermittent mega-cramps, sometimes every six months, sometimes not for a couple of years, but always so horrible that I was scared to death. I assumed they were endometriosis, though I never had the exploratory laproscopy to find out. I brought them up with my doctor, saying they were sometimes triggered by orgasm, and she said "You're shouldn't be having orgasms after 24 weeks anyway."


"I mean, if you have them in your sleep, you can't help it, but I'm going to want you to avoid them."


Dad, stop reading now.

Orgasms are a goddamn narcotic to me. I'm not really sure how to regulate my moods without them. They mean endorphins, distraction, relaxation. Plus, there's the connection to my partner. It's all very easy for me to dole out advice about how there's more to marriage than sex – quite another thing to live it.

I tried to bargain. "But that's how I get my kegels in," I blurted. (Isn't "bargaining" one of the stages of grief?"

"Look, I'm very conservative about this," my doctor said. "It can rupture your membrane. It can set off contractions. If you do do it, have your husband wear a condom, because his semen can cause you to efface." She gave an "I-can't-control-what-you-do" shrug, and all I could think was, how horrible would I feel if I went cavalierly forward and something happened? How selfish, how self-indulgent, how bad-mothery?

I texted my husband; he texted back, "What's pelvic rest?" I haven't had the heart to discuss it further with him. He's already petrified of hurting me when we do it. Really, it's only for 10, 12 weeks, right? At 35 weeks I'm going to stop worrying about her being "early." Of course, by then, who knows if I'll be able to find the equipment?

I just don't know what to think about this.

Have you had to go on pelvic rest? Was it terrible, a relief, no big deal? How would you keep your connection with your partner? Speak your mind below!

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