Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Start of Another Birth Story

On December 20, my son turned three years old.

I'm a little surprised at just how profound his birthday is to me, especially this year. Because now that I have a three-year-old and a five-year-old, I really am not the parent of babies anymore.

Which is wonderful. I know that many moms wish their little ones could stay little forever, but not me. I'm ecstatic that my kids are growing into the people I want them to become, and I'm enjoying every moment of it.

But the passing birthday of one of my kids means that my blog readers are subjected to--I MEAN--treated to one of my birth stories.


Since we were married, my husband and I always knew that we wanted two children. It was never a sticking point for us. So when my daughter was a toddler, we started talking about planning for the next one.

In fact, since it took us a year to get pregnant with out first, we were playing a little loosy-goosy with the birth control as we started talking about a second. We figured it would take a while to get pregnant and our kids would be three years apart.

But, in fact, I believe that on the day we started officially trying, we were already pregnant. If not, then we were extremely successful on that very first try. I told you my husband has gotten better as he's gotten older.

My pregnancy proceeded pretty normally until that September. I was seven months pregnant on September 11, 2001. My husband had just happened to have been away for a couple of weeks, and then returned to base for an exercise.

During an exercise, the guys actually "deploy" to the flight line. They may only be minutes from home, but they may as well be half a planet away. So on that awful Tuesday morning, I hadn't seen my husband in about three weeks and I hadn't talked to him in days.

The calls from the commander's wife started coming almost right away. We were told not to expect to see our husbands for a while. We were told to start preparing for deployments, and we were told to expect those deployments to last "until the job is done".

I was pretty much a wreck. I held it together on the outside for my daughter's sake, but inside I was grieving. I just knew that I would be having this baby alone and that my husband wouldn't even get to know him until he was a year old.

It didn't help that my mother kept calling to tell me about another friend or family member who had died. Since the flights that hit the towers originated in my hometown, my family knew dozens of people on board, including one of the pilots.

The one that hit me hardest though, was one of my high school boyfriends. He, his wife, and his two-year-old daughter were on the American flight. They managed to call back home to his dad before they died. Can you imagine that phone call?

I could. All to well. How many times had my husband, and my daughter, and I flown out of Logan heading back here? The scenario kept playing over and over in my head.

And here I sat. In my base house, totally closed off from the outside world (Thanks for the visit Mr Bush.) without even mail delivery, pregnant and completely alone with my two-year-old daughter.

I think it was on Wednesday that they let the guys come home. For a half hour.

When he walked in the door my relief was physically palpable. Until he said, "I'm not staying. I'm just picking up my deploy gear."

After a few days we were able to leave base. But the gates were completely surrounded by media. I refused to be the poster child for pregnant military wives left all alone, so the cameras really pissed me off. Yes, it was a news worthy story. No, you're not helping us by turning our lives into a media circus.

My husband did get to return home within a week. But we waited every day for the call to deploy. It was expected to be very short notice.

And then one day in late September, my husband's commander asked him to come into his office. He had bad news, he said. He somberly told my husband, with great apology, that they were going to leave him behind from the deployment to run the squadron from here.

But he was still on alert on a daily basis, because they might need one more person, or someone might get sick. The not-knowing really sucked.

By my December 7 due date I had gained about fifty extra pounds. That was my answer to the grief and stress. Food. I knew that the extra weight would make my birth experience far worse. But I had no idea how bad it could be.


Wow. I got amazingly off-topic here. But that's okay. I think it was something I needed to write about. But I think I'll wait another day before I tell the birth part of the birth story. I can only take so much pain at once.

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