I never saw his reaction. I just heard it.
He’d been gone less than a week, and I had been suspecting for several reasons. I was waffling between absolute fear and ridiculous excitement. To say that was an emotional week is an understatement. So, I kept waiting to take a test. Until he needed R&R dates.
“When do you want to do R&R?”
“Well, here’s the thing. I think I might be pregnant.” My voice was shaky over the DSN line.
“What? Have you taken a test? Well, then take one!”
And we were. I heard his happiness, I heard his joy, his elation.
But, I was never able to see it. And that made me sad.
I moved forward. The pregnancy has helped The Year fly by faster. And, despite the constant rush, responsibility, and struggle to maintain joy, there’s always been my ever-present Happy Thought. Moving, wiggling, growing. My middle started slim and trim, and now resembles a small watermelon. Through worries, scares, and stress, my little trooper has hung on.
He won’t be coming home for the birth. It wasn’t an option. At first distraught, I remained positive. The military hospital had just built a new delivery unit, complete with internet access. All the military wives were talking about it, especially those of us left with an impending arrival. The rooms were supposed to look like civilian hospitals and Skype was a commodity available in every room. I was counting the days until I could go for my tour and see it for myself.
The other women all had their husbands there. I had my little Battle Buddy, who was making an awful lot of noise. We stood in the new delivery room, more than twice the size of the room I’d delivered my daughter in at the same hospital. Nice flooring. Windows. Room to walk around in. Wow.
“I’m sorry, the new commander nixed the wiresless internet. We don’t know why, but there is no internet up here.”
I’m scared. I can’t lie. I can’t pretend. The thought of giving birth without my husband had me in such fear that for months I couldn’t even talk about giving birth. Not having him next to me. Holding my hand. Cheering me on. But, I consoled myself. He’ll be there on the video chat. You’ll still be able to see his face, hear his voice. This time, you’ll see his reaction.
And then that came crashing down.
Someone will post pictures. Someone will let the news out as to the sex of the baby. Before I can get to him, before I can see his reaction.
He won’t see video of his baby until we get home.
This is one of the hardest moments I’ve faced. I feel as though all the previous struggles and Crosses I’ve overcome during this deployment have been a mere hill as I come increasingly closer to this mountain. And it keeps getting harder. Larger.
But, I do it for you. Your daddy does this for you. You, who was microscopic when he left. We didn’t know about you when he left. You were already hanging on strong. Quietly. Consistently. Against all odds, through immense stress. You are still here. I’ve been so busy, so rushed, that sometimes I forget about my little tagalong. But, during those rare quiet moments, I lie down and feel you moving. Feel you living. And I smile.
You have hung on for your daddy and me. Now, I will do this for you. My darling child. I will get through this so that I can hold you, love you, bring you home. Let you meet your father.
Despite the hardships, through the odds, you and I will get through this. We will climb the mountain. We will arrive on the other side. And you will be surrounded by your sister and me, who love you so much. And soon, your dad will join us, too.
And then we will all be together again. A different family than when he left. But, bigger and stronger. Happier. More grateful.
I’m doing this for you. For your Daddy. Because you both deserve it. Because I love you both.