Staring at the wall over Bridget’s shoulder, Connie flushed, becoming a little choked up and nodded her head. “We’re lucky we’re here,” she said, looking down at their patient, a small boy lying in bed, his eyes bandaged. “We’re so lucky.”
By New Year’s, she knew she was pregnant. At the hospital, she’d met Sue Hogan, an Australian gynecologist and captain in the Australian Army; she trusted her, so she made an appointment to see her.
“You’re pregnant alright. I’d say four months. Can you pinpoint conception?”
“Give or take a week, yes. I still can’t believe it. I can’t believe how stupid I am.”
“You didn’t use birth control?”
“He did. He used a condom. I saw him put on a condom every time.”
“Now we know they aren’t foolproof.”
“I didn’t guess I was pregnant right away. I didn’t even miss my period.”
“It’s this place. You’d be surprised at the number of nurses who don’t menstruate while they’re here. It’s documented that up to thirty-five percent of nurses have some kind of menstrual aberration while deployed to a war zone.”
“What am I going to do?” Bridget asked, trying not to cry.
“You’ll have to talk to your commanding officer,” she said. “Out of respect for her.”
“Thank you,” Bridget said, not knowing how else to address that. She didn’t want to tell her CO because she wasn’t ready to leave.
“And you need to go home to deliver.”
“I don’t want to think about that yet.”
“You can’t have a baby here, Bridget. What will you do with it while you’re working? No, go home. How much longer is your tour?”
“I’ve only been here four months,” Bridget replied. She smirked and pointed to her belly.
“I didn’t know if you’d gotten pregnant here,” Sue said, laughing. “It’s not that unusual.”
“Who has time for sex?” Bridget asked, flaring her nostrils. There was no one she’d be interested in except for sweet Ben and he was engaged.
“It only takes five minutes, and not always that long.”
“Well, I didn’t get pregnant here,” she said. “It’s not possible.”
“You’ll have to cut your tour short.”
On the verge of breaking down, Bridget wasn’t ready to think about leaving.
“I really hate to do that,” she cried. “I feel like I’m accomplishing something here.”
“You can come back! Research it. Talk to your commanding officer now, Bridget. She’ll work something out for you.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to her. But I’m not ready yet. I need to think about what I’m going to do.”
For the rest of the day while she cared for her patients, she thought of possibilities. She could go back to Camp Pendleton and give the baby up for adoption. But she only entertained that for a second. Adoption wouldn’t be a choice she could make, unless she knew the person, which was unlikely.
Whatwasshe going to do? Her parents would have a fit, especially her father, whose nickname was No-nonsense Thom. He’d never acknowledge a baby born out of wedlock. It had happened in the family a long time ago when he’d played a role in forcing his teenaged sister to give up her baby for adoption, and Bridget wasn’t about to allow him to dictate her baby’s future.
The only choice was to involve Luke. It made more and more sense as she let it simmer in her brain. The idea took root. She’d let Luke deal with the baby because she had to complete her tour of duty. There was no other alternative. But first, she had to make amends. She owed him an apology.
There was a nine-hour difference between Kandahar and Cypress Cove. It was five thirty p.m. so it would be about eight thirty a.m. in New Orleans. Fortunately, she had a good signal from her room. She found his last text and cringed.