Perspective, Revisited

On Thursday I went in for my 36 week appointment. I had a month left until my due date and my husband had finally gotten permission to come home in two weeks or so. Life was working out perfectly.

And then the nurse told me I was very dilated and effaced and to expect the baby any day.

I'm sorry, what?

I called my mother who immediately started packing a bag to come be with me early. I called a friend to come stay with me through the night. I called my friend's mom, a nurse, and we decided I would put myself on bed rest.

And then the phone rang and it was the FRG leader. She asked how I was feeling, and I replied, "Funny you should ask…" I launched into telling her what was going on, and we talked about how my husband was out on a mission and unreachable, and maybe her husband could find a way to contact mine and let him know what was going on. We talked about the possibility of my husband getting permission to come home even earlier. She was working to make sure I was getting the support I needed on a stressful evening.

After I blabbed for quite a while, I asked her if she had just called to check on me or if there was some other reason she had called. And she took a breath and said that, actually, she was calling me to say that we had two casualties in our company.

I felt sick.

I felt sick for monopolizing the conversation with my "problems" when there were far bigger things going on. And I felt sick because two other wives would not have their husbands come home from deployment at all, while I was fretting and carrying on that mine might be home a bit too late.

It was Perspective, showing up at just the right moment for me again.

While it's stressful to be told you might be going into labor right when you're also getting reminded of your husband's mortality, it was what I needed to keep me focused on what's really important. My husband might miss the birth of his first child, but all that really matters is that we're all safe in the end. Whether I welcome him home with the baby on the inside or on the outside, what truly matters is that we're all healthy and safe. And together.

So now I'm on bed rest, trying to hold off this baby from showing up too early. Which means I oughtn't attend the memorial service either, something that weighs terribly on my heart.

My mother said that these are the moments that civilians need to see, the moments where military families have to dig deep to find strength to deal with things that most people could never imagine.

But I feel grateful for that Perspective in my life. It helps me cope with whatever comes my way, knowing that others are coping with far more.

[P.S. Please, I hope in no way that this post makes light of what the other two families in our unit are dealing with. I know their grief and anguish is FAR more important than mine. I certainly don't mean to diminish their agony by discussing how it has affected me.]

About the Author

Sarah has been married to her soldier for a bit more than 10 years. In the past decade, they've been at six different duty stations in four different branches of the Army. They've also endured three deployments, six miscarriages, and a failed IVF. Sarah's blogging focus has shifted some in the past five years, from common military issues to something more personal: the difficult intersection between the military and infertility. It's hard for some couples to start a family; it's even harder when one person spends a lot of time on the other side of the globe. But Sarah was lucky enough to declare Mission Accomplished when their daughter was born 10 days after her husband's return from Afghanistan. And she tries to remind herself how irreplaceable and cherished that daughter is now that she's entered the terrible two's. In her free time, Sarah is a pioneer housewife: knitting, crocheting, and cooking ... and sometimes even firing a weapon.
  • She of the Sea

    Don’t worry, Sarah. It is all part of the package – grief and frustration and joyfulness all at the same time. You are doing the right thing by focusing on keeping your baby healthy, even as you mourn for others loss. Trust me, they don’t want you to have a baby at the memorial service!

  • wifeunit

    I totally agree with this. It isn’t meanspirited-ness that makes the connection/gives you the perspective. And I know you care very deeply for the families. I agree with She of the Sea, a memorial service is no place to have a baby!
    So many times do I want to show my exasperation at Seadaddy, whether it is with the kids or housekeeping woes. But he is home when everyone else’s husband is deployed. So most of the time I remember to just be grateful for what I do have, flaws and all. I won’t always get to complain about the fact that he never rinses dishes or whatever else. And to look around and see people suffering a far worse fate than that just makes the idea of complaining seem pathetic really.
    I am rooting for you and baby!

  • Hello
    First of all I want to say that I really like that you have shared your feelings and thoughts with us.I must say that you are a good hearted person that you have said that all safe in the end.I completely agree with your perspectives.Thanks..