Oh Baby! Inaugural Closures Problem for Moms-to-be

Local woman due day before inauguration

Getting to the hospital when you're about to give birth can be a challenge under normal circumstances.  But what if you live on Capitol Hill and go into labor during the middle of the Inauguration?

"When we did the sonogram they were like, no you're actually closer to the 19th or 20th, and it wasn't really until November that the impact of that came through," said Marie Connolly.

She's about to give birth to her third child. She thought she'd be an expert at having babies by now, but she didn't count on her new arrival showing up at the same time as the new president is inaugurated near her home on Capitol Hill.

"As we started hearing about road closures and lock downs, we started worrying about how we would get from here, Capitol Hill, to Georgetown," she said.

Connolly lives in what she calls "the zone." Just five blocks from the Capitol and three miles from Georgetown University Hospital, where she is scheduled to give birth.

But nearly all of her neighborhood roads will start to close late Monday, making it almost impossible for her to get to the hospital quickly if she goes into labor. And third babies can come quickly.

"Would we have to call an ambulance?," Connolly said. "Would we have to be escorted because of road closures? And every day, the news changes about what roads are closed. Would parking be allowed?"

"The obvious concern about pregnancy of course, is that it's not in your control," said D.C. Hospital Association President Robert Malson. "The baby's gonna come, when the baby's gonna come."

Malson said pregnant women are just one concern when it comes to providing health care on Inauguration Day. Hospitals across the region are stockpiling extra supplies and calling in the reserves to accomodate the expected crowds.

"So people are going to have on top of the normal challenges, they're going to have an additional challenge of getting to the hospital if they're not in a place that's convenient to them," Malson said.

That's why Connolly and her doctor decided not to take any chances.  They planned to induce labor early so she'll be back home with her new baby girl in time to enjoy the inaugural festivities with her family, in the comfort of their living room.

"My other kids, especially Nora, the one who's 8, are very excited about the inauguration and she's going to want to participate in some of the events," she said. "It's trying to balance the new baby with the other family needs."

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