When husband and I were pregnant with our first baby together, we received orders to Iwakuni, Japan. The time table in which my husband was set to report to his new duty station was almost immediately after my due date.
This meant, more than likely, he would move ahead of me and I would follow 6-8 weeks later or as soon as the doctor allowed.
It was far from the ideal situation most couples dream about. You know…the situation where you have your first child and enjoy a period of togetherness.
But that isn’t military life.
In military life, you experience all sorts of crazy things around family planning and preparing for the birth of a child.
21 things you may experience having a baby with a service member
1. Finding your “golden window of opportunity” feels like finding a tiny cracker crumb in the middle of a big box carpet store.
2. After a short period of time, you realize the perfect window doesn’t exist in military life, only in fantasy. You’ll never find your beloved cracker crumb.
3. Struggles with infertility will feel like doors slamming into your face at every conceivable opportunity. Every trip away from home is another painful opportunity missed.
4. At one point, you wonder if it’s infertility or the constant cycle of bad timing due to TDY, deployment and training.
5. You attempt to get pregnant full-knowing that your service member might miss the birth or your family might be PCSing across the country. Because trial by fire.
6. Or you’ll give up trying, only to discover on Sunday afternoon that you’re pregnant. Then on Wednesday, he’ll announce he’s deploying for a year.
7. Chances are you’ll have some sort of virtual baby shower. Your service member might Skype in and say, “Hi.” Then his face will freeze.
8. At 35 weeks, you’ll move 17 hours to be near family for the birth. You’ll spend 2 weeks getting a new doctor, but first, your doctor’s office requires you to take a pregnancy test to verify you’re actually pregnant. Because that’s not obvious.
9. After meeting your doctor for the first time after moving, you’ll have your baby 4 days later. It was great getting to know you.
10. Skyping during the birth; it’s a thing. You just pray someone wasn’t intercepting the video of the baby crowning. Yikes!
11. The next time around, you’ll find out you’re pregnant a month before PCSing across the country. Hello nausea.
12. Scratch that…you’ll find out you’re pregnant with baby #2 the day after he leaves on deployment #2. He’ll be out of communication for the next 6 weeks, so you won’t be able to tell him.
13. It’s just icing on the cake when you get get a PCS move date the same month you’re due with kid #2. You’ll struggle to decide whether to move at 32 weeks pregnant or 2 months after the birth.
14. Change of plans, he receives unaccompanied orders for training when you’re 33 weeks pregnant. You’ll pay out of pocket to move home at 35 weeks and deliver the baby with a close family member.
15. It’s hard knowing that your service member is missing all these big milestones.
16. Lots of videos.
17. Lots of pictures.
18. Moving mid-pregnancy, you find TRICARE Standard offers much more seamless care because you won’t need to wait for another referral to see an OB.
19. When getting your breast pump through TRICARE, you go straight to The Breastfeeding Shop’s website and have your pump at your door step in a few short days. It’s the least stressful thing you did this whole pregnancy.
20. In the end, your family planning and birth stories are more unique than you envisioned possible.
21. But one fact remains true: you are a family and you wouldn’t change it for the world.
This is a sponsored conversation with The Breastfeeding Shop.
Want More on Military Life?
- How to Get a Breast Pump Through TRICARE for $0
- Why I Didn’t “Go Home” When My Service Member Deployed
- 7 Myths About TRICARE Insurance…Debunked
- What a 2 Year-Old Will Teach You About Surviving Deployment