In Honor of Mel: Dude, Where’s my Car?

6 Dec

I have a friend who is patiently awaiting the birth of her second child any moment now.  In honor of her heroic patience at this very moment, I write this piece, riffing on my issues with finding my car (or any transport) begun in my London posts a couple of weeks ago.

No two childbirth experiences are the same and this is in no way meant to be a shared “horror story” (with which older ladies sometimes “encourage” young mothers right before they go into labor).  Our only similarity, Mel, is the Portsmouth Naval Hospital part!  Be blessed, sister!

I don’t think we Martins have ever done anything according to the books.  We actually believe the saying that normal is only a setting on the dryer.  Our son’s birth was certainly no exception.  I was driven to the hospital by two men.  Let me explain . . .

I had gone to the Sewells Point Naval Clinic after work on a Friday night, right before the Memorial Day weekend, because my eyes were bothering me.  As I left to go, I joked to a co-worker that maybe I would be a mother by Memorial Day.  My baby wasn’t due till June 19!

As it turns out, my eyes were a huge issue.  I had noticed some additional “sparkly stuff” when I walked outside to get lunch and figured it was just from wearing my contacts so late in my pregnancy (a “no no” but I was a brash young naval officer and . . .).

But, no, turns out I was going into pre-eclampsia/hypertension.  The flashes of light were my brain’s early warning system that there was way too much stress on my blood vessels.

So the clinic sent me to Portsmouth Naval Hospital to see what would be done with me.  On a Friday night.  Before a holiday weekend!

Noel came over after work and joined me.  When they finally decided to release me for a weekend of bedrest, it was about midnight.  We were starving.

I was not allowed to drive till after the medical issues were resolved, so we left my car and went back home, through the Midtown Portsmouth tunnel and over the streets of a slumbering Norfolk.

As an aside, my British husband had only lived here for a little more than a year and had not yet braved the drivethroughs in the States.  Those were the only thing open at that hour if we wanted to get something to eat.  So we hit a Wendy’s drivethrough and I realized, as we did, that it was Noel’s first time, when I saw that he drove straight to the window, cutting in front of two cars waiting at the spot where you place your order.  Laughing hysterically, I told him he had to go back around and get in line!

We still laugh about that today!

I spent that weekend reading and resting, thinking I would be released at my Monday holiday appointment to go back to work, or at least to lie low until my June 19 due date.

Our neighbor Mike agreed to drive us to the Monday appointment (thanks, Mike, for giving up part of your holiday!) so Noel could drive us back home in my car.

Perfect plans never quite come together, right?

When they monitored my blood pressure and the “specimens” I had had to collect for them all weekend, they said, “You, young lady, are having a baby today!!!”

Enter the pitocin drip.  About sixteen hours later, Joey was born at 1:23 AM, one of only two babies born at Portsmouth Naval Hospital that night!

And, yup, I called my co-worker early Tuesday morning and said, “You’re in charge.  I just had a baby.”  Ha!


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