An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Ideas for Deployment Pregnancies

I thought I would share some of the things that DH and I have done and some other ideas we've used to stay close through the pregnancy though we are separated by thousands of miles. There are lots of great sites for soldiers to stay in touch with their children, but few that I have found that talk about pregnancy.

Please add to this list in the comments, and I'll update and put a permanent link up to the post on the main page:

For Momma:
  • E-mail or mail weekly pregnany updates, using a site like Storknet or Baby Center; add your own comments about how these summaries apply to your pregnancy.
  • Take a profile "belly picture" in shape-hugging clothing (such as workout clothes) or with bare belly (if you are comfortable with this) each week to show your growing belly. E-mail every week and/or assemble into a photobook once you are showing. DH says that it is like a "flip book" that shows my belly growing.
  • Place a large piece of paper on the wall and trace the outline of your belly every week. Once baby is born, decorate and send.
  • Keep a pregnancy journal or calendar and record important milestones--I felt baby kick for the first time!
  • Take video/photographs at important milestones in the pregnancy and/or holidays; e-mail to your soldier and also print and put in a photobook to send. If you live on or near post, ask around to see if an agency or your FRG will allow you to record and burn a DVD for free. We even had a vendor at a local mall offer this service for free at Valentine's Day.
  • Involve Daddy in all of the big decisions!!!

For Daddy:

  • Record your voice (read your favorite children's story or sing a song) so baby and Momma can listen to you and pretend you are close by.
  • Pregnant women use lots of pillows to get comfortable at night. Take two soft pillowcases and keep them close to you for a week (AFTER you shower, guys, not when you've just come back from a mission in 120 degree heat). Seal them in ziplock bags. One is for momma and the other is for baby if you are going to miss the birth.
  • Tell Momma some of the things you would do during pregnancy to pamper her, and provide suggestions/reminders as to how she can pamper herself--make sure you check your father-to-be books so you don't suggest something that is off-limits or not advisable in large quantities during pregnancy (like a bottle of wine or deep tissue massage).
  • If you have ready internet access, consider sending mom something to help her take action on your suggestions: candles, pregnancy-safe herbal teas, a CD of relaxing tunes, a gift certificate to a local spa that offers pregnancy massages, comfy maternity pj's, etc. If you aren't sure what to send, try a site that has pregnancy gift baskets, or ask her friends who have also recently been pregnant. I'm sure they will be happy to help.
  • Write letters or keep a journal specifically for Momma and baby--something baby can read years later and know what you were doing while Momma was pregnant.
  • If writing isn't your style, take photographs of yourself in various places and add thought bubbles about your positive feelings about the pregnancy. Make sure to date the photos.
  • Show an interest in, respond to, and ask questions about the information Momma is sending to you!!!

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Friday, July 21, 2006

People Who Should Get Help

1. Saw someone driving around with "No Drama" spelled out on their back window--in 2ft glitter letters.

2. A mother playing the crane game at Walmart--her poor toddler is asking (nicely I might add), "Please momma, let me. I wanna try." Mom's answer? "No, you can't do it. You're no good." BTW--Mom didn't snag any of the exciting "prizes" either. It is a freakin' game lady. Way to build your kid's self esteem.

3. Again, another winner from Walmart. Mom to young child: "Shut the f--- up or I will smack you upside the head." Wonder what that kid will be like in school.

Think if I buy a pair of red slippers at Walmart and click my heels three times I'll be magically transported back to New York? Or at least far away from Killeen?

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

My Troubadour

One of DH's soldiers has recording equipment so DH serenaded Lilah and e-mailed me the file.

I really wanted Lilah to hear DH's voice in utero...and DH came through for me! What a sweet, wonderful husband he is and what a caring Daddy he will be!

Mostly he sang college songs and a couple of traditional, poignant songs. There is one song from college where you insert someone's name and so he inserted Lilah's--when I played it the second time I swear she kicked when he sang her name. Maybe just a coincidence, but it amused me!

I LOVE hearing DH's voice--it is so rich and deep. Hopefully Lilah will inherent DH's vocal talents (though not the exact pitch--she'd sound funny as a little girl with a deep Baritone that borders on Bass).

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Be Prepared

My Eagle Scout DH should appreciate this...

I was chatting with my mother who will arrive here about a week before DH is approximately expected (how's that for vague).

My mom mentioned how my hometown was terrorized by an extremely rare tornado. I live in the New York City metro area (about 40 minutes out of mid-town Manhattan)--not exactly tornado alley.

Then the topic drifted to the infrequent, but not unheard of, tornados in Killeen (we are protected by hill country...most tornados in this region go around us) and the far more regular super thunderstorms and massive winds.

I asked my mom what she would do if I went into labor during a severe weather alert. Finally she answered she would start boiling water.

"For what, mom?"

"I don't know."

So, I'm picturing contractions coming three minutes apart and my mom boiling water and...

...making tea. To calm herself down, presumably.

She said, "Gee, I hope [DH] is home in time."

"Maybe he'll use his battlefield medicine training...I can just see it: 'I can start an I.V. ... is there somewhere I can place a tourniquet?'" imagination has always been too active for my own good.

Anyone have any fun birth stories involving attacks of mother nature?

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Monday, July 17, 2006

DH is De-licious

Okay, I think the hormones are starting to make me a little loopy.

DH called this afternoon. So sweet! One of the nice things about his new mission is he can call a little more often. Before we had a lot of computer contact but it was harder for him to get to the phones.

One downside is he can't tell me as much about what he is doing...but that's okay. He'll tell me when he is home for good.

DH's call came at a perfect time. I am starting to feel the pregnancy more and more this week--though I wonder if this is just a little decompression from my friend's visit. I needed a few days to just veg after my mom visited, too...and we spent the week running around like crazy people. I wonder if DH were here if I could convince him to carry me from the couch to the bed every night...

Friend and family are responding really well to our needs for the single soldiers...which is great because we just found out that they aren't going to have anything when they arrive. We were hoping there would at least be some bedding--new or well-washed--but looks like we'll have zip. I've got a ton more work to do on that front, but hopefully we'll be able to get everything they need!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Single Mom

Well...not exactly.

Today I couldn't get my wedding band and engagement ring on for the first time. So, with no husband by my side and no rings, I feel like I LOOK like a single mom...

In reality, DH and I have been staying very emotionally close throughout this pregnancy.

I've been taking belly pics and sending updates every week so DH can stay involved and he has been great about reading up on pregnancy and birth and chatting with me about what he reads. He has been as considerate of my feelings as he can be from so far away.

For those of you who mentioned some ideas in other comments--don't worry, we are definitely keeping up the connection...but keep the comments coming for others in a similar situation. The only one I am not doing (and will not do) is tape the birth if he misses it. We can't tape the actual birth itself anyway--but even if we could, that's just not me. A friend said she would tape the birth for me and I answered, "Like HELL you will."

Anyway, I went out to visit my friend's beautiful new baby boy. He is doing very well--full size despite being three weeks early. He arrived on his mom's birthday--Happy Birthday, Mom!

She was lamenting spending her next few birthdays at Chuck E. Cheese's...but I said that she'll just celebrate on the closest weekend night--and when he's a teenager she'll have a real guilt card to keep him from getting too wild on his birthday.

I am so happy that they'll have almost an additional month together as a family before her husband deploys.

The father commented on how his son clearly recognizes his voice from in utero--that made me a little sad. I would love for Lilah to have heard DH's voice throughout the pregnancy. Though there is not much time left, I am hoping DH will tape his soothing and melodious voice so I can play the recording for our baby girl.

Friday, July 14, 2006

You Are My Sunshine...

DH called this morning and I am in a vastly improved mood.

It has been a good week overall. My friend from NY really helped finish up the nursery. We also took a trip to Austin and strolled around the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Gardens and saw the bats emerge from the Congress Avenue Bridge. We also ate some yummy spicey Indian food.

DH continues to be bored with his new assignment that I can't talk about and don't know anything about anyway. I keep telling him to enjoy the rest before his next big mission--fatherhood!

It will be quite the circus here in about a month. Hopefully DH will be here for Lilah's birth, as will my mother, and his parents, and over the phone DH just mentioned his parents may bring his grandmothers!

I think my hypnobirthing tapes will come in handy more right before and after the birth than during the labor itself. Ha, ha.

Over the next three weeks, I am tying up all my work and volunteer projects. I've been sorting my files, letting everyone know I plan to be out of contact for a little while, and getting a head start on anything that needs to be done for the Fall. I've been rounding up contacts to get things ready for the Single Soldiers, completing the initial steps for the big Junior League event for next year, and finishing off thank you notes.

I suppose I'm in the "nesting" stage, but I feel more like I am preparing for hybernation!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

All in the Timing

Lately I've had a lot of friends canceling on things because they are not feeling well. No one's fault...just bad timing.

One of my friends went into labor three weeks early. Nevertheless, it seems as if her baby boy is going to be about 8lbs...imagine if he went to 40 weeks? So that was good timing.

Tonight I am supposed to go to a free performance at a local theater. My friend has one of the leads. I was going to go with another friend but her son is not feeling well.

I went out for five minutes to water the lawn and missed DH's call. I usually keep the phone with me--but I was only out for a couple of minutes. Just bad timing.

Now I am bummed and just don't feel like going anywhere. I wish he would call back, but as the minutes tick by, that seems less and less likely.

Sometimes it is just all in the timing.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I really can't say much about DH's mission you'll be stuck with my boring old life.

I have a friend visiting from New York--we went to high school together. I feel so bad that I can't really show her around too much, but she is sweet to claim that she just came here to help!

I did do one "fun" thing with her so far--I took her to a barrel tasting at two nearby wineries.

Mostly she's been helping me with some little projects around the house. Today we hung artwork in Lilah's room. Basically I am rearranging things. I wonder how many new things DH will spot when he returns...and how much will just sort of wash right over him and seem like it was always that way.

I've also been having lots of small get togethers. DH is usually the social one, so I've really pushed myself to keep that up with him gone.

I have been also dragging my friend to various FRG-related functions. In fact, after picking her up at the airport, she helped me bake cookies and brownies for the guys. Then we went to the FRG meeting. I had prepared our bi-monthly slideshow for the meeting and we also had our banner that the FRG leader, the First Sergeant's wife, and I paint every month. All members then add messages to the banner (the FRG leader collects messages from out of town relatives to add, too).

The next day we had our steering committee meeting for the Battalion and I asked the Rear D Commander and the Brigade Commander's wife a ton of questions about getting stuff for the single soldiers. Of course most of it is still up in the air--but I told them I will just continue to ask every month until we have an answer!

I am excited though, that we finally have a sponsor. They are a veterans group. Even though they may not have the deep pockets of a corporate sponsor, their hearts are every bit as big if not bigger. It will be nice to develop a relationship with them. Besides, I think I've found my loophole for corporate solicitation--since they are a non-profit, they can certainly solicit and then give the necessary items to us! Viola!

Anyway...back to rearranging artwork and furiture and generally cleaning the place up.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Thank You Soldiers' Angels

I do not have much to post because the more interesting things I cannot post (maybe once the deployment is all over) and otherwise I have just been very...very...very tired. I feel like it is the first trimester again.

However, I did want to thank all the Soldiers' Angels out there for what they do.

DH just sent back two boxes of books from the sandbox. We have no more room for these books anywhere in the house, so I guess I will store them for now.

One of the boxes had all of the letters he has received from Soldiers' Angels.


I had no idea that he was receiving so much mail from these wonderful people. He has received hundreds of letters...and who knows how many packages of supplies and goodies.

On each of the letters, in DH's hand, is the date he replied to each and every letter.

When DH gets back, I will definitely have to make sure I return the favor and adopt a soldier...or perhaps a platoon!