"Sacrifice. Just one word that describes military families best. Our service member sacrifices time with us and family, they sacrifice their physical and emotional well being, and they sacrifice memories that are created while away. As the one left behind, we sacrifice the same things along with a few others. We sacrifice the satisfaction of our dreams and goals being put on hold, we sacrifice a partnership in parenting temporarily, we sacrifice basic events like births, honeymoons, and anniversaries. Certainly, our children sacrifice more than anyone. While a child never agreed to the lifestyle, they are still thrust into the military world. I’ve often pondered what if my child asks where he’s from; what is he supposed to say? “Ummm, we move around every two years. America is where I’m from.” Point is, sacrifice is a big deal for us.
The day I was told about my husband’s deployment was an ordinary one. We were having car problems so he had drove me to work. All day, our conversations were short. No fluffy “mushy love” talk. In fact, if there wasn’t a reason to text, we didn’t. I really hadn’t thought twice about it until I jumped in the truck with him after work was finished. There was just a feeling in the air. Nothing too uncomfortable, but different. It was one of those feelings I tried to pass off as my husband being tired and exhausted from work himself. I started babbling the second we were together. He was silent for the most part. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. We drove down the grade on the freeway into our city. He looked at me and grabbed my hand. I yanked back my arm asking what was going on as a million and one things started running through my mind in those excruciatingly long four seconds. “My NOSC called me today to say I’m being mobilized.” I knew what that meant but my mind didn’t want to comprehend the information. “What do you mean? What does that mean? They can’t take you. You’re a reservist. It’s too soon. Where are you going? When are you going? Can I come too?” Apparently, it happened just like it does in the movies. He got the phone call where they simply said, “Your number has been called.” He was leaving in two months to the Middle East. This was not happening. I always knew a day like this would come. But sure, maybe I was in denial. It doesn’t really hit you until it well…hits you. Smack in the face.
That evening, we went home and let our families and friends know. It was late by this time and although his parents were already sleeping, we decided it would be best to call them. They would want to know as soon as possible. My husband started by telling them he need to give them some unexpected information. His mom, dad, and sister were all on the phone. Right away, his sister blurted out, “You guys are pregnant right?!” After telling them no, he explained that he was being deployed. His mom and sister cried and the reactions from them all were pretty hard to handle. It was mixed with hurt, resentment, and sadness for their son. We just laid together all night realizing we were about to go through the next step of our marriage. Little did we know what was in store for us.
I went to work the next day feeling defeated and heartbroken. I felt physically ill all day and I had a few cramping feelings but nothing painful. I still decided to take a pregnancy test that day after work. Neither of us worried about it too much since I’m notorious for being a worry wart. I can’t count the number of times we’ve been to the store to buy a pregnancy test because I just wanted to make sure. Even when there was absolutely no way it could be true. We headed to the NEX (Navy Exchange) and bought two First Response tests. I went to the bathroom when we got home and waited the three minutes. As I walked into the room to check I said the first words that came to mind, “Are you $#*^$*% joking me?!” My husband knew what that meant. We cried. And then realized we were going to be parents. The excitement expecting parents feel was overshadowed by the looming deployment. We knew this wasn’t going to be the fairytale pregnancy and birth. We called his parents, awaking them from sleep yet again, and said we had one more thing we needed to tell them. “It’s what you guys thought it was yesterday.” “You’re pregnant?!?!?!?! Oh my gosh!?” There was a glimmer of hope. Although we, our families, and our friends were all thrilled, our hearts were still filled sadness. For the little baby who would miss his or her Daddy the first time his eyes saw this world.
And so we sacrificed. We sacrificed our huge dream vow renewal wedding and pushed the date up, just to have one before he deployed…just in case. I planned it in one month and it was as rushed as I thought it would be. We sacrificed sharing the moments the first time our baby kicked in the womb and the first listen of the heartbeat. We sacrificed every normal pregnancy experience. The day I was induced, I was able to have my husband on webcam, and even that failed the moment our son was born. He did hear the announcement, “We have a boy!” And lastly be sacrificed the first four months of a colicky newborn. There were times I begged God to give me strength as tears ran down my face while rocking a screaming beautiful baby in my arms. While I got to experience all of our child’s firsts, I had to remind myself, my husband was sacrificing so much more. He didn’t get to bond with our son in my tummy or hear his first cries. And our son, well he had to learn rather quickly who the strange man with his mommy all the time, was. And it’s for him that we have already figured out how we’ll explain to him why his Daddy missed his birth. “It was because you have a Daddy who stands tall and proud for our home country…”
We all end up sacrificing. It’s part of the job requirement we signed up for. While it’s easy to feel sorry for ourselves, we have to remember why we do it and that someone, somewhere else is always sacrificing more. Remember to be thankful for what we are sacrificing."
Waiting patiently at the hospital for our son's arrival.