After 5 weeks of hospital bed rest, my water broke and they were unable to stop labor any longer. My mother had just left to drop my dad at home after bringing me dinner and had barely made it when she got the call that I’d had the baby. After 18 hours of labor, at 29 weeks 2 days, our daughter was born weighing 2lbs 5oz.
I’d never seen such a tiny human.
I had spoken to B earlier that day and he knew that I was having contractions, but he didn’t know I was in full on labor. I did my best to update him on what the doctors were saying when he called—talks about all of the complications we might encounter and being prepped for how my delivery would differ from the “norm.”
In the days leading up to J's birth, there was some sort of incident leading to communication being shut down. The FRG and leadership had stayed in touch and both sides of our family were there in Atlanta, but there’s something about not having your spouse with you through this sort of process that adds a whole different layer of stress.
Unable to reach me (because I was still in delivery), he was finally able to reach his mom who excitedly told him I had the baby. By the time I talked to him, she was already settling into the NICU and I had taken yet another wheelchair ride, this time to see OUR tiny human.
It would be a month before B returned from his deployment, driving straight from Fort Bragg to the hospital in Atlanta to meet his daughter.
It seemed like I had lived an entire lifetime since I’d seen him. I was different. He was different. We weren’t just a couple anymore, we were a family: two young parents looking at a very complicated road and uncertain future.
I stayed in Atlanta with the baby while B returned to work and on day 52, J was discharged from the hospital. My mom and dad drove while I sat in the back with J headed to a home we had barely lived in and a husband who had fought entirely different battles than I did for the previous few months.
You learn it. You live it. Rarely by choice, but I learned that I was so much stronger than I thought and that we were going to have to figure out what life looked like—together. He wasn’t the only one living this military life...now, we all were.