Pregnant and Deployed
He’s been gone almost a month; training somewhere, again. Warming yet another heat pack in the microwave and preparing my injections for the day I gaze out the kitchen window, contemplating. We had wanted another baby for so long. I’m trying not to feel defeated. Not yet. IVF will work. I hope. If only my name hadn’t leaped off the wait-list just as a year-long deployment reared its ugly head. Another deployment, not the first we’ve endured and not to be the last one either. So many things are going through my mind. What if I do get pregnant? What if I get sick? Who would be with me during the birth? During the last deployment I’d had 3rd degree burns and spent 5 days in hospital. Another military spouse had to move in to look after our son. There will never be a perfect time though. Something will always come up.
It’s 2006 and a cold February morning, and I’ve risen before the sun. Today is the day. The day my husband leaves on deployment. The day I find out whether we are pregnant. Bags are loaded onto buses as children cry and cling to their daddies, and spouses wipe away tears as they farewell their love. I drive home to sit by the phone and wait. For the phone call that will tell me if all my dreams have come true. The phone doesn’t ring and later that night I cry myself to sleep wondering why. For the first time I feel alone.
Thankfully he is in the ‘green zone’, unlike his last deployment, so I am not left wondering where he is and whether he is safe from day to day. He is able to call and email often, but still, it isn’t the same. I fill in some of the lonely deployment by going home to Australia during Spring break and joining the deployments key volunteer (KV) support group. It helps to keep active and make new friends.
It’s now May, and we are sitting in a small dark boardroom at a local college. A television screen is in front of us and there’s my husband. Even though he is not the least bit interested (I have no idea why) in hearing all about the hair I’ve grown on my belly or that my belly button is popping out, he can go nowhere as I show him baby outfit, after baby outfit and parade my ever-expanding belly in front of him. Although I love being pregnant and feel blessed beyond belief, it’s been difficult and I wish he could be home and be a part of this amazing experience. He of course wishes he could be home too. Although I think secretly is a little happy to be away from the hormonal mood swings he keeps hearing about.
Then, good news arrives. He’s been granted two weeks leave. There are still a few months, and a lot to do before the babies arrive though. That’s right, babies! Twins. With morning sickness subsided and feeling surprisingly good I pop open the garage door, set up a fan to combat the San Diego summer and set to work assembling baby gear, and heck, while I’m at it decide to build shelves for the garage and re-organize the work bench too. Nesting has arrived. If only my man had too.
It is now mid September and I waddle through the airport and wait for the plane to touch down. Passers-by shake his hand and thank him for his service. He can barely hug me for the ginormous belly between us. I count my blessings that he arrived before the babies are born. A few days later at the hospital for a weekly check-up I’m told that I am in labor and am rushed to labor and delivery, where just a few hours later we welcome our precious little boy and girl into the world.
A week and a half later we are back at the airport as my husband heads back to Iraq to complete his deployment. He was devastated. Having to leave these tiny babies already was the hardest thing he had to do. But in just 4 short months, he would return home once more.
** “Coming Home” airs Sundays at 10 pm/9c on Lifetime. The powerful all-new reality series features U.S. soldiers’ surprise family reunions after serving long tours of duty on behalf of the country, pays tribute to American armed forces personnel and their families.