First of all, thanks so much to A Boy, A Girl and The Marine Corps for hosting this amazing series! I’m honored to be a part of it.
My husband’s first deployment ended in March. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday and other times it feels like a lifetime ago. Let me first back up and introduce myself.
My name is Brianna and I blog about our unpredictable life at Adventures of a New MilWife
. My husband’s name is Joshua and in addition to our way-too-spoiled 90lb dog Balak, we have two
children-the boy, who is four and the princess, who is a little over one.
If you haven’t done the math already, our princess was born while my husband was deployed and no, he didn’t come home for the birth. He left for the 13 month deployment when I was about 4 1/2 months along. It was high risk and seemed to get more difficult with time. We had endured three miscarriages (two before our son and one after), I have what is generally considered a “minor” heart condition but when you’re pregnant nothing is minor and just a couple weeks before Joshua left I began bleeding and we were told our daughter had a significant chance of being born with Down’s Syndrome. The closer we got to deployment, the more it felt like my world was falling apart. The boy was two and a half but thanks to the Sesame St deployment dvd (highly recommend it!), he fully understood that his Daddy was about to leave. Then, two days before Joshua left, I began throwing up blood. I had torn my esophagus from all the morning sickness that never seemed to get better but thankfully the tear was high enough that it was able to heal itself after a few days of rest.
I hated being pregnant while he was gone. I hated going to multiple doctors appointments every week with our toddler son. I hated the distance the deployment created in our marriage as he withdrew and communication became more difficult. I hated that because my husband is in the National Guard and not active duty my FRG meetings were three hours away when I wasn’t allowed to travel more than an hour. I hated that civilian friends didn’t get it and said cruel things like “at least your kids are young and if he dies, they’ll get over it quickly.”
I hated the deployment…especially in the beginning.
I never really grew to enjoy it (who does?) but I grew from it and I will always be grateful for that. Once our daughter was born and I was free from bed rest, free from the fear of her dying, of her having Down’s Syndrome (she’s 100% healthy btw), I was free to embrace some of the positives of deployment. I’m a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom so the world was ours. As soon as our daughter was cleared at six weeks for travel, that’s exactly what we did. We left. We went to Pensacola first to visit my aunt and grandmother for a few weeks before Joshua met us in Orlando for R&R. We’ve been asked many times why we didn’t have him come home for the birth and to be honest, the dates wouldn’t have worked with the way the deployment played out and his mission if we wanted it to and more importantly, we didn’t want it to. We didn’t want to spend half his time home at the hospital. We didn’t want our son to take a backseat to his sister from day one. We didn’t want his R&R so early in the deployment-it would have been nine months before we saw him again if he came home for the delivery. And we wanted alone time which bed rest did not allow.
So, at the end of September/early October we had two of the best weeks of our life at Disney World we’re Disney veterans to say the least so it was easy to plan. Joshua met our princess while she was still “squishy” and the boy got to spend time with his Daddy away from home which we believe made it easier on him when Joshua had to leave again. But most of all for me, I got to reconnect with my best friend. R&R was a turning point for us. It was just over the halfway point and with the holidays coming, time started to finally speed up. Before I knew it, it was March.
I’ll never forget the nerves of homecoming. I felt like a teenager. It had been the longest year of my life. We had both changed. Reintegration has been awkward and even painful at times but we’re adapting and learning. Thanks to my best friend (JG from Me and My SoldierMan), I began blogging when Joshua left for basic training but I really became active when he deployed. It has been the thing that saved my sanity. I’ll admit, I’m a bit of a lurker and can sometimes really be bad about commenting but just knowing that there were other women out there who felt the same loneliness and fear that I felt, kept me sustained. So thank you ladies for your ability to open up and share your heart, it made all the difference for me and my family. And, if you’re in the midst of your own deployment, just know that you’re not alone.
Be sure to check out the other posts in this series! You can view them under the Deployment Series tab, or by clicking HERE