Gerald was a warm and affectionate man. Being a great dad and a caring husband came naturally to him. Whenever he could be physically around, he did everything to be the best caretaker for me and my child. That’s why I want to reminisce this story of having a baby while husband is deployed far away. Even then, when he was so far away from me, I could feel his indomitable strength through the phone the whole time and it felt like he was there right next to me.
Though it was my dream come true to be married to a man serving in the US Army, the long separations, weird schedules, and, at times, not being able to even converse with him on the phone when he was away on field postings, had taken its toll. I maintained that his country was his first love even while he insisted that while his work was his passion, I was his life’
“Playing with words as always, Gerald?” I accused him once again as I made my way to my parents’ house in Minnesota, while he headed to an army base in Arkansas. I was due to go into labor any day with our second child. However much I whined on the surface about him not being around, I really could not complain. I knew that he too wanted to be with me in this delicate phase but that it was just not possible for him.
And so began the constant dilemma in which the way we led our lives. This story is about my journey of being pregnant while husband is deployed.
Having A Baby While Husband Is Deployed
While I lived completely calmly as I occupied myself to pass my time waiting for the new arrival, Gerald did what he does best — leading a team of soldiers and serving his country well. I don’t know the specifics of his job profile because the nature of his work was substantially toned down before it reached my ears.
One fine afternoon, the pain began. My parents informed Gerald that they were taking me to the nursing home, only to get monosyllabic responses from him. This was strange but, given the difficult environment he was in and the delicate nature of his work, they understood and did not press him with questions.
They anyway had me to deal with and were struggling enough with that. I was not just a whiny daughter to them that day but someone’s wife who gets pregnant while husband is deployed! That led to double the stress for them as they tried figuring out how to treat a pregnant woman who was losing her mind!
“You did not even ask for me, Gerald? I am tired of being the one who has to understand all the time! This is about our baby being born for Christ’s sake!” I grumbled as I struggled as another wave of labor pain shook me. “You should be here, holding my hand,” I screamed yet again in the grip of another shooting pain.
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I miss my deployed husband but he was there with me in spirit
However, within an hour of me getting admitted, Gerald’s calls started coming in, every 20 minutes or so. He would speak to the doctor to know the status of my labour, or to my parents enquiring whether I was in much distress, but mostly he asked to speak to me.
Though none of his calls lasted more than a minute or two, he did help me greatly in braving those menacing 36 hours, at times whispering sweet things to me, stories from our past, and, at other times, encouraging me with “You are strong, my girl. We got this.”
I wanted a girl as a baby and, in one of his calls, he said, ‘My queen, your days are numbered, for after the arrival of my princess she will definitely be my Numero Uno!’
I remembered that the network was extremely glitchy and, every now when my pain was a little less, I would ask if it was raining there. He would skirt the issue and redirect the conversation to my part of the world.
After 36 hours of difficult labour and about a hundred-odd calls from him, he was finally congratulated on being the proud father of his little princess.
“I told you Jesus would bless us with a sweet, baby girl, ” he exclaimed as a proud father.
My Experience As A Pregnant Military Wife
I could feel the pride and happiness in his voice and really wished that he was there with me and now, us. For our family had just increased by one! Even though I was the one popping a life-size baby out of my body, he was much stronger than I was. A strong husband helping wife give birth.
As if sensing my thoughts, he suddenly said, “I so wanted to be there with you, baby. I’m sorry I wasn’t. But you know I’m always here, loving you from a distance. ” I knew he meant every word of what he had said. Nobody would ever want to miss their baby being born.
It was only the next day that I realized that the ‘Disturbance’ over the phone was not rain; it was the sound of guns and shelling. Gerald wasn’t even in Arkansas. He had headed to Iraq but didn’t want to tell us when I was already stressed about being a pregnant military wife whose husband was away.
He was leading an operation where they had to extricate six terrorists who were hiding in a villager’s house. His operation lasted for 36 hours too. My brave Gerald was awarded the Gallantry award for this operation.
He flew down to Minnesota whenever he could. One evening I asked him, “I would have understood Gerald, even had you not called. You were in a tough situation but it’s okay, I can be tough for you too. ”
He said, “Baby, the situation there was under control. My moves were all planned and bearing good results. I had to know about my other half too, whether the most important person of my life was doing okay! You are my true love and you always matter the most. ”
Now, what had I said earlier about the army life taking its toll. Please strike it all off. If I had to pick a hundred times over, I would only settle for Gerald.
If you plan it ahead of time, yes. Having a baby while husband is deployed far away from you can be frustrating but if you align his leave beforehand, you can prepare to have him home. Try to schedule his leave to coincide with your date of labour and that should work out.
Even if you’re a great husband helping wife give birth over the phone, you might feel like you are missing out on time to spend with your child which could affect how you bond with your children. In this case, make sure to spend ample time with them when you’re back home. From playing frisbee in parks to feeding them, be around your child as much as you can.