Recording books for baby and having a meal together before B left (2006)
Shortly after B left, I packed some of my things, loaded our little Boston Terrier into the car and made the 5-hour drive home to Atlanta.
Though I knew a handful of people in the area, we thought it best that I move back home with my parents just in case. I had no idea how wise a decision that would be...
At 24 weeks pregnant, I walked into my bi-weekly appointment with the specialist at our local hospital thinking it would be business as usual. It wasn’t. The ultrasound tech got very quiet and I could read the concern on her face. I asked if something was wrong and, as is required, she quietly said that I would have to wait for the doctor.
The doctor entered the room with a worried smile on her face:
“Mrs. West, did you drive yourself here today?”
“Yes. Is something wrong?”
“You’re going to need to call someone to come get your car. You are 2cm dilated and having small contractions. We are going to have a nurse walk you over to labor and delivery so we can admit you and try to stop the labor process. You’ll likely be here until the baby is born.”
I couldn’t even respond. There I was, 22, pregnant with my first baby, alone at this appointment and completely confused by all that was happening.
“Can you call your husband?” The doctor asked.
In that very moment, I realized that life WAS actually different.
I had moved back to my very civilian life without even realizing how different things had become. I couldn’t call my husband. Not because he was at work and can’t have a phone. Not because he was on a business trip as I often told people I didn’t know. I couldn’t call because he was deployed...to a war zone...and HE had to contact me. I instantly started to cry as the nurse helped me up, sat me in a wheelchair and started the walk across the sky bridge to labor and delivery.
I knew the struggle of navigating the first several weeks of deployment. Staying tethered to the phone and melting into a puddle of tears if I missed a call. I had come to push through the worry that filled my days not really knowing what “at war” meant.
This journey, I didn’t know.
Though the pregnancy was a surprise, excitement quickly took over. I bought clothes and started working on the nursery. We tossed around names without even knowing what we were having. I didn’t for a second think about how deployment would change things. The picture I had in my head of my husband and I fumbling our way through birthing classes or him standing next to me when our first child came into the world never changed. I look back and think
How foolish of me.
We weren’t just living life. He wasn’t just on a work trip. This was MILITARY life and the picture I painted just wasn’t going to happen.