Feeling unsettled and unsure of how the next few months were going to unfold, my husband, son and I landed in Washington, DC during a snow storm. The cold, jet lagged group we were, appeared out of place in our African attire and crazy eyes of uncertainty. Even though Alexandria was where my husband and I met, fell in love, got married and had our first home together, we felt like strangers in the street and apprehensive of what the future held for our family.
Taking matters in our own hands proved complicated. Every decision required approval through a bureaucratic system that seemed to reinvent itself every time a baby was conceived. The only thing we knew for sure was the Sheraton was our first destination. Even if no permanent plans were made, we were at least comforted by the idea there was adequate treatment available if the unthinkable should happen. Within hours, this showed to be the wisest decision we made.
The level of stress my body was under for such a considerable amount of time relented itself to the notion of proper care. Hospitalized by the third day, the doctor on duty was apprehensive about releasing me. He clearly made his point the safest situation was to remain plugged to the machines until delivery day.
The idea of staying strapped to a hospital bed for at least seven weeks not only complicated things for my husband’s job and my son’s supervision, but also left me feeling like a prisoner of war. The battle to control my own body and outcome. I pleaded my case with the doctor. I promised to take it easy and live a low stress existence if I could be set free.
Only under the condition that I should have any further bleeding would I agree to be admitted for the duration of my pregnancy. The terms were agreeable to the doctor. After careful observation and no further complications, during an ‘insurance-approved’ period of time, I was able to set foot in my new, low-stress home at a hotel in Old Town Alexandria.
Breakfast was cooked fresh daily, and light dinners were available as a complimentary happy hour special Monday-Thursday. I had a small kitchenette in the room, a fold out couch for my son in the living room. Daily housekeeping alleviated the stress of cleaning; hotel staff were happy to do my grocery shopping, and there was a free shuttle to get me and my son out for the occasional lunch and date to the park. The only thing I needed to take care of was my laundry. The 15 minutes a day I was awarded to walk was definitely doable under the plentiful amenities of my hotel suite.
We set up camp, filling the living room with toys and preschool activities. I touched base with our friends and Pastor from church. Our emergency contact, my cousin, lived a short mile from where we were staying. All was not lost; for there was plenty to be thankful.
When the time came to say good-bye to my husband, there was another jab in the heart. The vulnerability of being alone during a time when I needed extra support did not come as welcome as my game face. My son’s daily routine was whacked out of order. We slept until ten every morning, had breakfast right before closing, attended doctor’s appointments regularly, and stayed up late watching HGTV. I let him jump on the bed, eat macaroni and cheese and donuts as often as he wanted, and counted down the days by ordering 500 pounds of layette on the internet.
As with most things, after a few weeks, we adapted to our situation. We settled into our new life and new surroundings. We began to feel normal and comfortable. My son became King of the hotel – the boy version of the popular Eloise character, living in The Plaza hotel of New York City.
While everything seemed to be as sweet as a Georgia peach, the 28 week estimated delivery date inched closer and closer. The burden of delivering a premature little girl weighed heavy on my mind.
Until tomorrow –
photo credit: pixabay.com