One Born Every Minute
Preparing for a Baby & Deployment while living in Germany
We were stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany, in Northern Bavaria. It was our first assignment after flight school in Ft. Rucker, AL, and we were so excited to be back in Germany where we had met only 18 months prior. We were young and in love, and all we cared about was being together. Coming back to Germany was supposed to be our three-year-honeymoon, and we had big plans to travel around Europe. Two months later we got some news that changed our plans.
First we found out that I was pregnant with our first child and then my husband heard he was going to be deployed in Kosovo for six months, and leaving around the time I was six months pregnant. Luckily we had time to prepare, but now in retrospect we didn't really know how to prepare for what was about to come. I don't know which one I was more scared of- having a baby or sending my husband away.
Most days I refused to think negatively, and focused on enjoying life one day at the time. The Army helped us with many things, like creating a will and a Power of Attorney. It was very scary to even think of the unthinkable and to be prepared if I were to lose my husband after being married only for a year. What would I do? Alone in a foreign country? With a baby? Was I even ready to be a mom?
Some days I hated the fact Matt was in the army, and some days I just wanted him to leave already so he would come home sooner, and we could carry on with our lives. On most days I just hung to him like a coat and didn't let him even breathe without me right there.
It was an emotional roller coaster, and he hadn't even left. We didn't fight though, I know many do. We were focusing on getting ready to have a baby, and I think it helped us to stay positive and happy. We sold our sports BMW and bought a Volvo station wagon. We made sure all of our bills were on auto pay. We bought some things to be prepared for the baby.
The last days when Matt was still home were the hardest. We were both pretending that this wasn't a big deal, and that we could handle anything. While we hated the fact we were going to be apart, there was nothing we could do about it, and we just wanted that day to come so we could start the count down for home coming.
Then the day was there. I dropped him of at the military base, all of his bags packed. We had said our goodbyes at home, and we wanted it to be quick on the post. I think I was able to smile, and he sort of smiled too, hugging me. And then I just turned around, walked to the car and drove away. After driving off post, I pulled over on the side of the road and cried.
But we had planned things for me to do that day - so I didn't really have time to cry. I had the car packed, now it was just me and the dog. I didn't even go back home, but drove a few hundred miles to my aunt's, and the next day I picked up my friend from an airport. She flew in from Finland, just to be my travel buddy to go back to Finland while Matt was gone. We had decided that it wasn't smart for me to stay in Germany and have a baby there all by myself.
A week later my new car was packed and we drove to Northern Germany and took a ferry across the Baltic Sea -- with my big belly, dog and my friend. I guess I was having my European adventure after all, it wasn't just what I had expected it to be.
Truth be told, I don't know if it was easier to be back home in Finland. I was staying at my grandmother's house right next door to my parents. While it was great to be with my family, I truly felt like I was far away from my husband and our home in Germany. I had nightmares and woke up the next morning doubting myself that the past two amazing years with Matt had even happened because I was back in Finland. I didn't have a computer, I had left ours in Germany. But it wouldn't have made much difference, Matt didn't have internet access often. We weren't even able to talk weekly on phone, but we wrote letters.
The millennium changed, and it was 2000 and I was with my parents and my dog. The baby kicking in my tummy warmed me and I was surrounded by my family, but I felt lonelier than ever in my life.
If you want to continue reading my story, read my birthing story at Lifetime Moms and read the Home Coming Story at Skimbaco Lifestyle. My husband isn't active duty anymore, but he is contracted at the West Point Military Academy in New York. We now have three children and are living our happily ever after.
And don't miss “Coming Home” 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.