Today is our first borns birthday! I remember this day so well. We were a young married military couple living on base. The base didn’t have an OB doctor, so we had to go off base for our appointments. Going to the birthing classes at the hospital made my husband just a bit uneasy as he wasn’t sure what to do or what he was going to do when the time came.
The morning of this particular day, my husband put on his uniform and went to work. Nothing was out of the ordinary. I was six days past due from the original due date, but this wasn’t anything to be concerned with either. When we had children, we didn’t find out about the sex of the baby or even schedule birth dates with inducing or surgeries.
Civilian Doctor when Military
Our doctor was top notch! I can remember feeling at ease (and being only 20 years old I needed). We were so new to the military and as a married couple. My husband tried to make every appointment possible. When it got closer to the due date, I worried every day about the small pains I was having in the belly area. I was concerned about being able to be a good mom to this little human being that God was giving me to raise. How in the world were we going to be great parents to a small person at our young age????? When I look back, it doesn’t seem so hard really. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always easy, but when you look at your grown, successful adult daughter, her childhood years went by way too fast!
On the day before our daughters’ arrival, I can recall feeling just a bit under the weather. Wasn’t sick really and didn’t feel achy, just blah. So I kept doing little things that day not thinking much about it. My husband was usually home before 4 pm and around 3 pm I began feeling sharp pains. It was a pain that eased in at first. Not sharp like a stabbing pain. Of course being 20 years old and never pregnant before I had NO IDEA this was the beginning of labor pains. My husband Paul is not a panic type guy, but when he walked into the door I told him what I thought was happening I don’t even remember getting in the car.
We traveled through crazy end-of-day commute traffic with my non-panicking husband, panicking! If there had been an OB Doctor on the base we would have been 5 minutes away. However, we were more like 45 minutes away during the early evening rush hour. We went straight to the emergency room and was escorted to the labor and delivery floor. Little did we know, this would be our home for quite a few LONG hours throughout the night and into the next morning. I had to laugh (although at the time it wasn’t funny) how many times the nurse came in and couldn’t believe how strong the labor pains were showing up on the graph. She just knew this baby was ready to come. Well, we all thought, but our little girl obviously had other plans. The nurses had me walking throughout the hospital corridor so many times I wish I had one of those fit-bits you see everyone wearing now.
It was time to become parents
After a grueling 6-8 hours my husband finally told me how hungry he was. He asked if it would bother me if he went to get something to eat. REALLY? Of course, it wouldn’t – HA! A woman, in delivery with strong contractions who hasn’t eaten all day either. NO! Why would you think it would bother me??? He ended up leaving to grab a bite to eat anyway and yes I was just a tad bit angry. At that time I couldn’t believe he left me. Thinking about it, later on, I’m glad he did. It was another 6 hours before our beautiful little girl came into the world.
We were married young, and my father talked my husband into going into the military. Even though I was a military child, we had no idea just how fortunate this decision was for us. We’ve traveled the world and shared things with our children that so many others only read in a book. There are struggles, and those struggles are real, but looking back we made the best decision of our lives letting my father talk to my husband about the military as a career. When we left the hospital with our new baby girl, we didn’t have to worry if we could afford the bills that come due from the obstetrician to all the other medical staff involved as well as the hospital. We did, however, have many other things that caused us worry. How would we raise this little girl to be an independent woman? How could we afford to raise a child on a young military family’s income and so much more? I don’t think there is ever a time worry is not a part of any parents daily process of reflection. Trust that this never ends, even when they are adults living on their own.
Thinking on this day about how our sweet baby girl has grown into such a beautiful woman with children of her own makes us so very proud. She fell into my past career and is now a banker too! We not only got through the challenges of raising children as a young military couple but the ability to show them the world is priceless. People ask how we can move so often and not have roots to call home. In turn, I think about the countries and states we’ve lived with no other family around, except our military friends we call family! This is what made us such a close-knit family, and I would have it no other way.
Children do watch what their parents say and do. Guidance can be silent or verbal. Remember to be careful as they will mimic what they learn from your actions. Teach them your strength, love, and determination and watch them grow into amazing adults who you can call best friends for life!