Friday, December 30, 2011

Our Birth Story

Almost 3 weeks ago our life changed forever with the birth of our baby girl- Sophia. Her due date was 12-18-11 but since we were intending to go all natural we knew it could be about 2 weeks on either side. We were so willing to wait but of course so antsy to meet her! It didn't help at all that she was LOW from about 36 weeks.

A friend of mine had introduced me to the Bradley Birthing Method when we were searching out child birth classes. Of course (if you know me, this is absolutely NO surprise to you), I had done quite a bit of research on child birth, different methods and techniques and our options prior to the class but I felt like it would be a great experience for Joe and I together. As much as I wonder if I really needed the class, I know that it cemented good things into our heads and best prepared us for what was to come. Our Bradley instructor assigned different topics to each couple to give a pro/con and information about. Ours happened to be vaginal exams. Interestingly, very few couples know that this is an actual option. You do not need to start vaginal exams at 36 weeks or really ever. They are not perfect, always helpful or always predictive of how things will end up.

Our hospital OBGYN clinic rotates you through doctors towards the middle/end of your pregnancy so you meet each one just in case your doctor cannot make it. We had 2 appointments left before we went back to our doctor at 38 weeks and decided to not have the exams at either one of these. At 36 weeks they did a quick ultrasound to confirm she was heads down and the doctor commented on how low she was in my pelvis. Again at 37 weeks the next doctor was surprised at how low she was. 38 weeks we were back with our preferred doctor (who really was awesome and a super blessing as she fit us as a couple great), and we decided to do a vaginal exam to see how far I was progressed. The guess that everyone had that baby was low was no joke as she was at 0 station at 38 weeks. I was also 2cm dilated and 90% effaced. This really brought hope that she might come early but I tried not to get my hopes up knowing that she could also come 2 weeks late! My mom arrived just days later for her scheduled trip. She bought an one way ticket to come help me prepare, be here for delivery and help transition into motherhood after. Since it was just a couple weeks before Christmas we finished up our Christmas shopping which really doubled as a great workout and exercise with all the walking!

At 39 weeks I was checked again and was at 3 cm, +1 station and 100% effaced. We were given the option to have a membrane sweep which basically stimulates the prostglandins which help jump start labor (that is IF and ONLY IF your body is actually ready- otherwise you're just uncomfortable for a couple days). Our doctor cautioned us that if it worked then we would be in labor within 24 hours. Again, it was hard not to hope but just wait it out...

This appointment was on a Tuesday and I continued to have cramps that I likened to period cramps until Thursday. Around noon I called L&D and asked how long the cramps should continue and they gave me the heads up that these were contractions and I should start timing them. For the next two hours I did so and realized that they were coming about 1 min apart and 1 min long... We piled everything up and headed to the hospital to get checked out. They confirmed that I was indeed having contractions, that baby was fine but I was only 3.5 cm and they wouldn't admit me until at least 4. Back home we went to wait! In the meantime I took a nap, played cards and tried to relax. The contractions quit for a while so I had a slumping feeling that maybe baby wasn't going to come that night. My sweet hubby decided not to go to work as he had the hopes that baby was going to come even still... Around 10 everyone decided to try to get some sleep, which they did successfully but I started having strong contractions again. After laying in bed for awhile I decided to get up and start timing the contractions. I was having them again 1 min apart and for 1 min long but this time MUCH stronger. After about an hour of them I went upstairs to let my mom know what was going on. She reminded me to have patience and wait (so hard when you just want to meet your little girl!) so back downstairs I went to continue to time the contractions. On my way down the stairs however, I had another contraction. My mind immediately thought of the fact that real contractions happen while in movement and Braxton-Hicks do not. Of course this gave me some hope and I continued to time... About half an hour later I decided to wake up Joe since I had continued to have contractions while I knelt, stood, swayed etc. I wanted him to time me while I took a bath. This really was for two parts- I couldn't get warm and I wanted to see what the contractions did with water. They continued to go strong and at the same rate if not go faster so we decided to wake Mom up and head back to the hospital.

We arrived at the emergency entrance (all others were locked at that time of night) at 2am, filled out paperwork and headed upstairs to L&D triage again to get checked out. They again confirmed that I was having contractions, baby was well but I had only progressed to 4 centimeters which wasn't enough to admit me. After an hour of waiting they They gave 2 options: 1- go home or 2- get a sleeping "cocktail" if you will. This cocktail was a shot of morphine and an ambien to help me sleep in hopes of dilating more. It was real labor at this point so it really was just a matter of time and I couldn't help but think that there was no resting for me with the strength of contractions and that I really needed my sleep. We asked numerous questions about the safety of the drugs and I had Joe help me make the decision. As I told him: "My head is just not clear". We decided to go ahead and get the medication. I'm sure the nurses at this point were probably shaking their head thinking that I wasn't going to follow through with the drug free birth since I was taking these meds. They moved us to an actual room at 3am where Mom settled in on the sofa bed, Joe on cushions on the floor and I in the hospital bed. I was given the medication and tried to relax through the contractions. They continued to be strong and strong enough that I vocalized through each one. Long low oooooo's. In between I would go to the bathroom just from being uncomfortable and feeling like I constantly had to go. Between about 4:30-5 on one of these bathroom trips my water just burst as I was sitting on the toilet. I likened the feeling to a water balloon being popped with a pin. After finishing a contraction I called the nurse who came and checked for amniotic fluid. She confirmed that it was my water and did another check. To her surprise I had jumped to 7 cm. She quickly realized that this was indeed labor and was going to going to happen soon. She gave the doctor a heads up and let me labor. During one of her stops around 5:15-5:30 I told her I felt like I needed to push so she checked and was completely taken aback that I was now at 9 3/4 cm and really could have the baby at anytime. At this point she called the doc and told her to hurry and suited up just in case she needed to deliver. A respiratory specialist was called in just in case since the labor progressed way more quickly than they imagined it could (especially for a first time mom) and I had the morphine only about 4 hours before. The nurse kept having me breath through the contractions in order to resist pushing. It was probably the hardest thing to do and felt like hours even though it was probably only 20 minutes. About 5 till 6 our Doctor came running in. She tied up her hair with a big smile and asked how I was. Within minutes she was suited up and the bed was transitioned so I could push. We had already discussed with the doctor not wanting to push while being flat on my back since it is better to lessen the chances of tearing as well as quicken labor. Within minutes of pushing the doctor told me that she could already see the head and to keep on going. At 6:15 our little Sophia Grace was born. She was able to be immediately on my chest for some loving before being checked out. She had absolutely no respiratory issues and was as alert as could be. We had asked to delay the vitamin K shot and the eye ointment so in the meantime while waiting for the placenta to be delivered and for me to get some stitches (I had torn some) we just got to love on her.

We couldn't have asked for a better crew to work with in the hospital. We had several nurses that weren't assigned to us stop in and check out the "beautiful baby". We were told that she was the prettiest baby in L&D, which of course we are biased and agreed. She was born without a cone shaped head since she didn't sit in my pelvis for long and had the prettiest skin. Even though they were all so supportive of our plan and never once asked if I wanted pain medication everyone was very surprised that we made it without an epidural, Demerol etc. They were never intrusive or rude and just worked with our hopes and wishes. I actually felt very comfortable and relaxed in the environment despite labor pains. They were wonderful helping assist in nursing and teaching me about little tricks and tips which I really believe helped in me wanting to continue even with having to use a nursing shield. Not everyone has this experience in a hospital but we were truly blessed.

Announcing Sophia Grace!

Sophia Grace was born 12-16-11 at 6:15 am
a perfectly petite 6lb 14 oz and 19 inches
It has been an amazing two weeks with our little baby girl. Who knew your heart could swell so big with love?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I was going to start this out on facebook but the list of what I'm thankful for just quickly grew and grew until I knew where it would end- my blog!

The last year has had its share of downs. We have struggled with where God wanted us, the losses of what seemed to be "the perfect job" for hubby, the frustration of waiting for our baby (we tried for over a year), relationship struggles, being squished in a hotel for 6 weeks among other things... These really don't compare though when I get to thinking all about the ways that God has blessed us this year. We may have struggled with where God wanted us and a job for J but we ended up in a way that couple be described as nothing short than a miracle in a job in Austin with an AWESOME company. We may have waited for over a year but when the stick turned positive so did my angst into joy. We may have had relationship struggles but have found a great church family that we feel is home along with many great new relationships blooming. We may have been squished into a hotel but we found a home that we get to grow into with a price tag of a much smaller home. It was an absolute blessing.

I'm so thankful this year. I'm thankful for:
-My God, I'm never deserving but He has really showered the blessings on us. He has provided beyond what our needs are and loved me beyond measure.
-My husband, he's been nothing but supportive this year. He's been such a hard worker, wonderful provider, excited father to be.
-My baby girl, I had hoped and prayed for her for over a year. I have yet to meet her but she's already completely changed my world. She makes me not only think of what kind of mommy, Christian, role model and woman I want to be but motivates me to be that person.
- My family, I've been so blessed to be in a family that truly loves each other. My parents and siblings have come beside me and completely supported my pregnancy and been so excited to be grandparents in a way that excites me too! I cannot wait to see each and every one of them interact with my baby.
- My husband's family, it's been so different to actually have family nearby and great to get to know them.
- My many friends and extended family, I've really come to see so many relationships in different light this year especially as they come alongside in their excitement about the baby. So many people already love this baby. She's so blessed... I have so many sweet friends that have blessed me this year and so many new friends that I can't wait to get to know better.
-Our dogs, they continuously make me laugh and smile and really remind me about the simple things in life.
- Our home, I never expected a home like this at 23 but am so blessed by it!
- J's new job, It provides for our needs and more as well as provides wonderful insurance, stability and future.
-Military, Especially being a veterans wife, I understand the military life and have a very great and deep understanding for the military family and their serving member. I am thankful that there are members that serve so that we have freedom. There are many that will not be able to be home with their family because of their sacrifices and my appreciation is very deep.

I know there is so much more out there that I'm thankful for that I just can't think of now. I am going to be really making a conscious effort to make every day a type of thanksgiving. We are truly blessed beyond measure as a nation and should live every day that way!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving according to a TCK

TCK: Third Culture Kid- "someone who, as a child, has spent a significant period of time in one or more culture(s) other than his or her own, thus integrating elements of those cultures and their own birth culture, into a third culture." This really is a great definition as its what I feel I went through. Spending 9 years overseas really gave me several different cultures to integrate into my own. I couldn't tell you where one part starts or ends, it just is woven into my being. When it comes to a holiday I find that often times I don't celebrate or see it normally.

Fall wasn't a normal fall when the weather was 90 degrees and up every day. There were no leaves changing colors and no raking to do. Pumpkin pie was only in the foreigners grocery store in limited quantity. Even with it being completely different you would still find all the expatriates trying to make it as much like home as possible. Out came the fall decorations and the cookbooks!

Our thanksgivings were never the same each year. We made the classic dishes with whatever we could find imported at the grocery store. The guests would rotate each year depending on who was needing a home to go to or who our close friends were. There were often times some dishes from other countries that other TCK families found to be "home" as well. We never knew what exactly Thanksgiving would entail except for a couple common denominators: lots of food, laughter and friends.

Now as thanksgiving approaches (next week! eeek!) I keep being reminded of how my thanksgiving was different growing up and how I wouldn't change it for the world.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Life is still a choice.

A couple days ago, everyone in our church was praying for this sweet family. I missed service that Sunday so hadn't seen this in person or heard the whole story. I just knew that a couple in our church was going to be delivering a little baby and within hours was going to have to say goodbye since the child did not have any kidneys.

As I sat watching this video, I couldn't help but cry. I have a little one in my womb... I haven't met her yet, have no idea what color eyes she will have or hair. What her sweet little nose will look like or what her favorite things will be... But she is mine. God gave her to my husband and I and allowed us to be parents. What an amazing blessing is that? It still astonishes me daily.

Having a psych background exposed me to so many stories of anomalies and differences in personality, attitude and capabilities. Regardless of what our little Sophia will have, she is still my little baby girl. The love I have for her is indescribable and unfathomable.

I know without a doubt that the love I experience for our little one is the same love that this family had for their little Caroline Joy. I think its such an amazing testimony that when faced with the option in July that they could abort their baby or deliver knowing that she wouldn't survive the day that they still chose to give her life. It puts into perspective for me, that we are not in control of who lives or who dies. God is. God created each and everyone of us and placed us in our mothers wombs. He didn't make a mistake. It simply amazes me God can use such a heart-wrenching circumstance to highlight how he will work regardless.

I just pray that I can teach my little one all the amazing things in life... including life itself. I hope and pray that I can impress upon her how important life is and that it grabs at her heartstrings too.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What have we done? A beginners view...

About a year ago I started to look into becoming a doula... For those that may not know what it is, a doula is a birth coach... They support the mother AND father and help make the birth as comfortable as possible. Typically they support unmedicated and as little medical interventions as necessary. The reason isn't because they just are holier than thou or because they are more hippy but because there is actual research to show how much healthier, usually quicker and satisfying for all those involved. Because I started to look into this I learned a lot and it just makes SENSE!

Now that I am pregnant myself, we're planning a birth based on these things and Joe is quite supportive. He agrees that it makes sense and so we are being active participants in both our pregnancy and planning for birth. We are asking important questions, making sure that we have the right support, and being realistic but hopeful. I'm not going to say that without a doubt I'm not going to have a c-section or medications however I'm going to do all that I can to prepare so that it doesn't happen. I'm preparing mentally and emotionally. I'm being an informed consumer within the medical realm... Not all doctors are just out to get ya but there are some things to be really cautious about. With all this being said... The main reason why this is a blog posting is because it's seriously irritating me with how uninformed, unprepared, and brain washed so many people are when it comes to pregnancy and childbirth. I'm not going to say by any means that I'm a expert in fact I believe I'm barely scratching the surface but why aren't other people even trying to scratch at the truth?

Regardless of whenever you believe the world began, women have been having babies for a long time. Until approximately the 1920-1930's doctors were not the common ones delivering babies, midwives were. The switch became drastic, it went from women that knew about birthing and were actively involved to going to hospitals and literally having babies drug from them. These women in the hospitals were heavily drugged and forceps etc became common in these deliveries. For years this was the common way of birthing until it started changing in the 70's-80's back to women being active participants in their births. My own mother was unmedicated in the late 1980's-early 1990's for my brother, sister and I...

The doctors have changed by far in their approach but still there are certain things that are in common. They are medically trained to fix a problem, ie broken legs, heart attacks, illnesses etc. Childbirth doesn't really follow this guideline. But too often in our society we have begun to classify childbirth into this category. Women can choose to have unnecessary drugs, interventions and even serious surgery aka cesareans. Most women unless they search for answers are not told that these drugs can actually intensify labor pain (pitocin), increase length of childbirth (epidurals), and increase chances of serious long term injury to the mother (both pitocin and epidurals). They're not told that these interventions can lead to infections (vaginal exams), cause more unnecessary procedures (constant fetal monitoring can lead to more cesareans). They're not told that cesareans ARE serious surgery, make it harder for women to breast feed (another topic for another time), don't allow for natural helpful things to happen for the newborn (ie, giving birth vaginally helps expel liquids etc out of lungs and prepare for the world) along with many other possible dangers. These are just a few of what happens within the medical model. DON'T get me wrong. If it means that the baby or Mom are seriously in danger then it makes sense and is the reason why we have these interventions. This is why I believe God has given us doctors and these options. HOWEVER too many interventions happen without cause. Many officials and organizations approximate that the cesarean rate shouldn't be higher than 10 percent however the national average is approaching 36%!!!

Ok, sorry y'all i needed to vent about this. I'm just so sick of hearing these type of comments around my friends "whaaat, they're letting you go another week? They should have induced you LAST week" (that friend just hit the 40 week mark), "more drugs the merrier" etc....

The best things a pregnant woman can do is ASK questions, make sure she's informed. RELAX- how do you expect to give birth to a child when your body is so tense? PREPARE- work out (ok this is an area that I'll admit I should increase), allow your mind to catch up with whats happening to your body... and Don't listen to whatever everyone else says! I was told that I didn't need any child birth classes to just arrive at the hospital and the doctors will tell me what to do... Waiiiiit. So this is like not preparing for a marathon? Who would do that? Please don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone is stupid or won't be their friend because they decide to get an epidural etc not everyone has the information or thinks to do homework on this because its how society has made it. So why are we such informed consumers about everything but not so much this area? What have we created in this society? Women that think that their bodies are incapable and aren't given support but rather fed more information into that they're not able to do it all... I'm not saying that its not going to hurt or that there may be doubts in the mind.. However there are ways to reduce pain naturally and empower women to do what God created them to do... Oh and, WHO says that the baby has to be delivered BY the 40th week?! The average gestation is 41.7 weeks!

I'm going to be giving birth in a hospital, however I am going to child birth classes with my husband and asking my doctor many questions about how she works and believes. We either agree or come to very acceptable middle grounds (for instance, we're going to use fetal monitoring but only for 15 minutes each hour). We're going to labor at home as long as possible and head to the hospital when we're certain that labor is progressing well and are close to birthing our sweet baby girl (we only live 10-15 minutes from the hospital). There ARE ways to use both the medical model and natural in a cohesive way. It just takes patience, deliberation (make sure that the medical team know what you want and that you have good support so that you're not the only one pushing for informed consent during childbirth- husband or mother or doula GREAT for this), and training...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The move.

Moving about every 2 years definitely had me in the "I have moving down" mindset, or so I thought! The difference was that before, I had my mother! And my mother had a company that paid for GOOD movers to come and do most/if not all the hard work! We were just responsible for making sure that anything we could want in the mean time was separated out.

I didn't expect our move to be a walk in the park, but MAN! was it different!!! I pushed us doing a move without government movers because I had heard horror stories of things getting stolen or broken. I really wasn't a fan of that happening PLUS, I knew we could make some money off the move which would be helpful in the whole finding a place to live situation.

Soon after we found out about the move, I called every type of moving company from you pack it storage containers to moving trucks. After calling back and forth with Penske and Uhaul (which over all seemed to be the smartest idea... the containers were going to cost 6k!) I ended up being able to talk Penske down to match and beat Uhauls price. Penske had benefits too... better trucks, longer time to move and unlimited mileage. We were going to put the Taurus on a trailer behind the truck and I'd drive the Escape while he drove the truck. During a conversation with my madre, aka mom, she mentioned that it was too bad that my brother couldn't help us move. Which got me thinking- what if we bought a one way ticket for J's youngest brother? Thankfully that idea worked out with a reasonable price and he was able to come to help us drive back (which was super helpful especially since I was first trimester exhausted and didn't know it yet.

We had a plan to drive outside of Nashville the first night, Texarkana the second and in the 3rd, but we made good time and ended up huffing it into Round Rock late on the second...

It was quite the drive. Nothing special about it... Just lots of truck stops along the way! But definitely, quite the experience!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The giraffe

So I know I promised to blog about the move, that one is still coming however I found something tonight that I felt needed to be shared.
It all starts with a sweet baby giraffe toy that looks similar to this one.

From the second we said I do, we got asked when we wanted kids and given plenty of advice on when we should have one... Whether this advice was wanted or not (more on the latter side) we were told we should wait or not wait, how long and just way too much TMI information. We knew that we really wanted to have kids young. We wanted to be the fun parents, able to be involved and play on the playground. Be young when our kids go to college, have babies of their own and almost more so... We wanted to be young when they they left so that we could have a lot of young time together. Maybe sounds silly but we really wanted to be able to enjoy each moment and not just be the parent in an easy chair. Maybe this stems partially from the fact that my grandparents are almost 90 and I never really had any of that with them... Who knows. All we knew is that it's what we really desired. Add onto that fact that we both like kids and it was really a no brainer.

Joe came back from deployment in August of '10 and we just put the baby in Gods hands. In truth we really were hoping the answer was sooner than later. As the months rolled on, I couldn't help getting concerned. I blossomed young and never had any female problems, always thought I'd be "fertile myrtle". We did have some concerns with Joe since he got shocked by about 1200 volts and was around a lot of radiation in the navy, we hoped though since the radiation had been off that things would be ok. More months rolled on and I got more and more emotional (although I always tried to make myself not) when I knew that I hadn't gotten pregnant yet. I remember tears just rolling down my cheeks saying, "God, I would love a baby. A baby would be so taken care of in this family. Why not me?".

A dear friend of our family found out she was pregnant in late fall before her husband deployed and while we couldn't be more excited for them, I still ached for that child. One day we were at target with them and saw a sweet little giraffe that was on the end cap marked down to just dollars. It plays a gentle melody and seemed perfect except for the fact that the belly seams were coming apart. Joe fell in love with it and said it would be for our kid, or maybe for our friend's but either way, "I could fix it right?". I said sure and brought it home and with hope for that one day stitched those seams up.

Months continued to roll by. We were almost at an accumulative year of no news. The sweet giraffe sat in our guest room closet where it would make me smile and tear up at the same time. We thought that we would start looking into adoption, especially since I always did love that idea anyway. Although the science is there, we never really wanted to go heavy into infertility treatment because we didn't want blame to get placed or hurt to happen between us.

Joe got the job and we just figured that maybe it was a good thing that I didn't have a newborn in my arms (or 9 months pregnant) as that would have made the move difficult... Anything to still remain optimistic but really in my heart of hearts I had given it up to God. He knew my heart and if that meant that some sweet orphan needed a home we could give it to him/her... Along with a giraffe.

The move came and went and one day in the car with Joe's mother, she sighed on the fact that she wouldn't have a grandchild in 2011, "Unless you're not telling me something..." We laughed about it but later on counted the days... Somehow in the move, we kind of, well forgot! The next morning I told Joe I wasn't moving from the bed until he got me a pregnancy test and so off to the pharmacy he marched... It wasn't the first I'd taken but hey, I was late! I came out of that restroom absolutely in tears and we both jumped up and down. God had given us our baby! I was overwhelmed.

I hadn't seen that giraffe again until tonight. I unpacked a box and it was sitting on top of everything. I got tears in my eyes. We're going to have a baby to give that giraffe to after all. God just needed to teach me a little lesson about patience and hope, trust and love. At least thats how I see it... Maybe he has some more ideas up his sleeve for me. I'm ready for that though, he really has good plans for this family!

Friday, August 5, 2011

How this all started...

When we first got married, we were all for staying in the military for 20 years until retirement. Joe had already been for a couple years, we had done the whole dating relationship via long distance and were just ready to do it! Being married is a completely different scenario. Joe enjoyed being home and it slowly began being harder and harder for him to get away (for both of us.) As we thought about a family we knew that it would have to be worth it in order to stay in. Worth it to us meant progressing well, ie either getting into the Officer program or going the LDO way (another way but ending up as officer). We started the long process of applying for the said program and he the bulk ended up happening during deployment which was good and bad. It did mean more stress for him and less time on the phones/emails but it also meant it getting done without taking away face to face time. The door was closed on that program in a way that to me meant that God had a hand in it and something better planned. Because he wasn't going to be able to make officer for years and maybe never due to the low retention rates etc we decided to look outside of the military. Looking at what he may be actually enjoy along with what appreciates military experience over just a degree we started looking into a police officer position. After another extensive process, during the 1st interview round God shut another door. My poor husband had a lot of not so good feelings during these two closed doors but we had to remain hopeful. In February Joe was home early and decided to check out some job boards. He impulsively decided to apply for a job in Austin in the Semiconductor agency and two hours later got a call saying they want him to interview. Pretty amazing! This job ended up being for Samsung and they said they wanted him in May... The soonest we could get out of the military was August! Lots of praying and thinking and finagling and we found a de-manning clause in the navy where he was able to apply and GET an early out! So incredible! Lots of worries and stress involved but we got the job and we're now in Round Rock where Joe works at a stable job, we have a great house we bought and a little one on the way. We're so blessed and can't wait to see where God takes us next, even if they're little changes!

Next blog on the move!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oh how life changes!

I so apologize to any that actually cares that I haven't blogged in forever! I do intend to start again but we'll see how long that lasts!

How our life has changed since the last post...
1. J applied for a job on a whim and 2 hours later got a call saying they wanted him to interview. (February)
2. J got the job (in Texas) and was told they wanted him to start in May (he wasn't supposed to get out of the military until September- we kept thinking how is this possible!?!)
3. J was able to go through a "loop hole" if you will and was able to start leave 1st week of April.
4. I quit my job and started the moving process, planning where to live, how to move, put in our apartment notice etc.
5. J's brother flew out to help us make the drive. We put the car behind the huge Penske truck and drove the SUV with hotel bags and dogs as the pilot car.
6. We lived in a hotel for almost 2 months while we found a house and closed on it. We moved in at the end of May.
BUT meanwhile
1. Joe started his job at Samsung
2. AND we found out we were expecting an addition to the family- We're pregnant!

Talk about changes!!! In the upcoming blogs I'll explain more but feel free to ask questions!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What being a military wife means to me

I've written many different definitions and explanations over the years. This is by far one of the hardest I've ever thought to write. Quite simply the answer could be being a wife to a member serving the country. I think, however, that answer would be given by those that haven't been there. Answers such as in (go ahead, search "military wife, I don't have the heart to put it on here) are what many military wives actually face. I've heard "you knew what you were getting into" and so have many other of my fellow military wives. Interestingly enough, I was speechless in January when a man living in my parent's home town was insistent on meeting not only my husband but myself because he wanted to personally thank "US". He put much emphasis on that I serve right along my husband and that the job of a military wife is far from easy. Before we left to fly back to where we're stationed, this man called and left a message on my parents answering machine. This message included a prayer for strength and safety and blessings on not only my husband but the one who was serving next to him: me. This brought tears to my eyes. I had never heard someone say these kind words to me. Sometimes my husband but not me.

I'm not in it for the accolades. None of us are. Trust me, the accolades would not even scratch the surface on making it worth it all. We get asked why we do it... In truth I think for all of us is that the price it takes to be with that individual is worth the cost. We're willing to have our significant other leave us for 6 + months at a time with no visit. Some people have tried to compare deployments to business visits. I can assure you that my spouse does not think of it like that. There is no overtime available first of all. Secondly, the hours are not the same. Most of deployment my sweet husband would only be able to sleep 4 hours a day. Sometimes that was long. Business men get hotel rooms, ours - bunks with 3 inch thick mattresses. Even though they are ugly, paintings are on the walls but on the ship all they see is gray. Oh and the food? Plane food is often more edible.

We're willing to be the other woman. The navy is their first wife. When it bids they must go. There is no possibility of saying no, or later. No sick days. Their schedule can change on a whim. It's normal to have to work 36 hours straight. Not once a lifetime but twice a week. It's a military wife's struggle to abstain from telling someone they don't know what they're talking about when they complain about missing their husband after a couple hours.

We learn another language- military acronyms. We know how to sew on patches or send them off to our favorite shop. Having a power of attorney is a normal thing, so is knowing their last wishes. Their favorite beer is always stocked in the fridge- that is when they're home. Phone cards are steadily filled and refilled and we quickly learn how to connect in a 15 minute max phone call. Sometimes only once a week. Other wives teach us their tricks or tips such as numbering emails because they easily get lost somewhere in the transit.

Any commercial, song, video, news report etc that has anything to do with a service member will have us crying. Patriotism has a whole new meaning.

We become the extra shoulder when the day is tough. Willing to never completely understand or know what they have seen overseas but love them in a whole other way. We are willing to never be able to plan anything. Just being with our spouse has to be enough. Theres very little time for vacations. This was something I learned even before we got married. I knew that there wasn't going to be time for a honeymoon. It's still tough though to swallow jealousy when I hear of other people's honeymoons.

We're faced with the reality of the "real world". Do we leave the haven of "free insurance" (trust me we pay for it in other ways), of no layoffs (as long as you continue to make rank, stay fit etc), of commissary's and NEX's and the dysfunctional military family? People telling you both sides. Do it and Don't do it. "I don't know how you can do it" comes into play again but this time not on how we can maintain a household while not knowing where our spouse is, this time its how to completely change our life.

The answer is always the same though: we do it because we have to.