Salute to Spouses Blog

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Baby Arrives, Daddy Deploys

They tell you labor gets easier and shorter.

Well, I had a 10-hour labor with my first child, a four-hour labor with my second, and a 48-hour labor with my third.

It was long, painful and shocking. My son was born at home after almost two days of labor.  He came into the world face-up, with both arms by his head, weighing nine pounds and a full inch longer than both his older sisters.

He also was born hours before his father deployed.

It was the biggest shocker about his birth entirely.

Due to a series of weird, unpredictable events that only a submariner would understand, my husband didn’t deploy when he was supposed to.

It was pushed off by days, giving me just enough time to go into labor and have our third child – our first son – less than seven hours before he left.

He held our little bundle, tucked me and him into bed – after the long, hard labor, I was struggling to walk and sit up – and started to throw the last few things he still needed in a military-issued duffel bag.

He dozed on the couch for an hour so as not to jostle me and cause me more pain, and then he woke me up, helped me to the bathroom and helped me change our little guy’s diaper, before kissing me and our now three kids good-bye.

My father drove him to the checkpoint, and then he was gone.

Hours after our child was born.  Hours after he held me while I screamed and cried, pushing our son out.  Hours after our entire world changed.

I woke up that next morning, a sleeping bundle on my chest, still in shock.

I waited for him to come in the door.  But he didn’t.

Six days later, my parents went home.  They had to get back to work, and I was back up and on my feet, holding the hands of my 4-year-old and 2-year-old, with the newborn strapped to my chest.

I was scared straight.

And still, my husband didn’t walk in the door.  And reality hit.

He was gone.  Like he had been eight times before.  But this time I hadn’t prepared.  I hadn’t said a proper goodbye.  I hadn’t dealt with it.

Instead, I had had a baby.

A beautiful baby boy who I fall more and more in love with every day.  A love so strong that it almost outweighs the touches of sadness I feel, knowing his father is missing this.

Knowing that he might as well not know him at all, knowing those seven hours with his son were precious.  And knowing they made it that much harder to walk away.  From me.  From us.  From him.

Our son will have a birth story unlike most.  A story of his brave father, who somehow summoned up the courage to walk away when he wanted to leave even less than he normally does.

It may be one of the most stalwart, strong, patriotic things the man has ever done.

And it will be one of our saddest, proudest moments as a military family yet.

A hello and a goodbye, all tragically combined.


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