I remember how my heart sunk when I heard the word deployment. Four years into a six year contract, my husband and I thought we might make it out without a deployment. And, than utter disbelief set in with those two pink lines. This could not be happening. Instead of breezing through a military career free of deployment, we were going to do it in one of the hardest ways possible. I have never really felt like I could say much about the hardships of being a MILSO (military significant other). In fact, this is the first time I’ve ever even thought of using that term. But, three months into our first deployment and having survived a birth with my husband 7,310 miles away, I like to think I have some knowledge to share. So here is The How-To Guide for a Young Mom Surviving Her First Deployment.
It’s Easter week. And, the first time I have put together an Easter Basket. Even though this is my son’s third Easter. Is that awful? My sister-in-law said that she had seen a rain boot Easter basket recently on Facebook. I actually didn’t realize it was a thing. But, I ran with the idea!
Step One Find Your Boot
I found these Ranyzany boots on Amazon. I thought the cute airplane print would be a great base for an Air Force themed basket. Since Daddy is deployed for this Easter. And, E is currently in love with Captain America.
Step Two Find Your Filling
At first, I was worried that his toddler sized boots wouldn’t have enough space for filling. But, they turned out perfect! So, if you’re filling a basket for a toddler, lucky you. Pick out a few fun items. Run with the theme of your boot, like I did. Or, go with the basic bunny Easter basket.
The foam air plane was found at Hobby Lobby, and is a two-in-one craft! The zipper-pull is the perfect addition to his favorite Captain America sweatshirt, and will help him master zipping it up. I chose the Captain America treat containers from Target in place of Easter eggs.
Step Three Assemble
Start stuffing! The goal is to have the items most following the theme to be sticking out the top of the boots. Thankfully, his toddler size 8 boots turned out to be the perfect sized basket! Although, his toothbrush didn’t make the cut. But, that’s okay as TMNT doesn’t go with the theme. Get all the goodies in place. And then add in the filler to make it look cuter and more polished.
Voila! An Easter Basket that has a purpose. I love that these baskets are not only adorable and out of the norm, but they are practical too. My little may or may not already be jumping in puddles with his fancy new airplane boots. April showers after all!
Remember when you were young and how exciting Friday nights were? Things are a little different now that your lifelong date is in another country. As a young mom with a husband who is deployed chances are your Friday nights are going to look like one of these.
The I’ve Got A Last Minute Babysitter Friday
A miracle happened. A throw your hands in the air in the hallelujah miracle. The aunties have asked to babysit the toddler, you obviously gotta get out!
Drop that kid off and speed over to Target. You know. The babies are running low on diapers. The most legitimate excuse for a Target run. First stop: the dollar spot. It has everything you need and want in your life. Yes. I need all these planners. And succulents?! For three dollars? I love succulents! Next stop: clothes. I’ll take all the chambray please. But, baby wearing and budget. You move on. You pass the baby section, and have to make a U-turn. Oh yeah, diapers. After at least an hour you make it to the check out. With everything in the cart. How did this happen?
While an hour in target is heaven, heaven knows you’re not ready to pick that kid up yet. Maybe grab a coffee? No, already had a whole pot. But, you do need a treat. A whole Miracle Tart will do. I mean no refined sugar. And chocolate. And, downing that Kombucha. You know, nursing mom, it’s the closest thing you can get to a glass, with the added benefit of digestive health.Then you’re home by 8:30 to FaceTime. Bedtime is, of course, a hot mess due to the babysitter induced sugar high. But, those couple hours of you time were beyond refreshing!
The I’m Actually Going Out With Friends Friday
You have been planning forever. All week. Texting back and forth ‘ohh where should we go’. Although, the only requirement is that the menu offers more than chicken nuggets and french fries. And, no play place.
The day is the same as all the others. But, the fits are a little easier to make it through because you see the finish line. The get out of jail free card. Just six more hours away. Five. Two. And, then your friend texts they are on their way!
“Yay! Can’t wait! You’re saving me. I’ll be ready when you get here.”
You wish that was the truth. But, you are still a mom. And, doing your hair and makeup doesn’t come as easy to you anymore. Then you’re ready! But, the baby needs nursed, again. Oh well, even if you’re running late, you’re still pumped. Real life adult human interaction! Hot food that you actually want. Not, just baby left overs.
You get to the restaurant. Did they spike my water? You can’t stop laughing. No. That’s just the feeling you get when you’re around real people. You feel like a normal twenty- something again. Until, you remember you’ve got to be back by 8:30. But, who are you kidding? Like you could make it any later, you’ve been chasing little people since 7:30 in the morning. But this. Actually being around grown-ups again, was just want you needed to make it through another week of melt-downs and chaos.
The I’ve Got Nothing to Do Friday
The last and most common Friday, is the I’ve got nothing to do Friday. The day itself drags. So much caring for little people. Constant nursing. And, telling the toddler no. Calm down. Stop poking your brother.
You can’t help but watch the clock waiting for reinforcements get home. The garage door opens right at 5 pm and you send the toddler to yell a good surprise at Grandma. It’s so fun, grandma and baby love it. But, you need to pass off the crazy to somebody else.
You’ll stand around and talk about nothing with them. Or go sit down to breathe. Depending on if the day was lonely or the kids were too crazy. THE night consists of lots of sitting on the couch. Face in a screen. Facebook. Then Instagram. Then Pinterest. On repeat.
All Friday nights end the same. A good toddler cuddle and singing Moana and Thomas and His Friends on repeat. Sometimes falling asleep. But, always wishing that you could be with Him. Dreaming of the Friday nights you used to have. The ones before kids. Dinners or movies, sometimes both! You would give anything to be laughing over nothing and everything with the one person who makes even the most mundane things your favorite.
One day, Mommy. One day that husband will be back. And, your Friday nights may still fall under these categories, but he’ll be here, and that’s all that matters. So soak up those moments where you are just you. Just breathe through the crazy. And, give those babies extra loves because He would give anything to be able to hold them this Friday night.
As I’m hitting publish I realize not all moms were lucky enough to move home through deployment. So, if it’s a Friday night where you’re stuck at home, put your kids in the car and get a Starbucks. Just drive. You especially need a break!
Easton’s new obsession, besides Ninja Turtles and Captain America, is talking about going to Hawaii with Daddy. Which has got me thinking about that family vacation a lot lately. I can’t believe it was almost a year ago! It was hands down my favorite trip, and memory as a little family. I mean who gets a surprise trip to HAWAII for their birthday?! Somebody who’s husband is way too sweet.
But, as I’m dreaming about Hawaii, I wonder if it’s the trip I’m missing or that it was the last real carefree and most together time I had with my husband. Shortly after that trip we found out he was deploying, and that we were expecting our second baby. I cherish these memories. And, I love that Easton does too. Although being that he was 18 months, I’m not sure how much he actually remembers. I think for both of us, we just like the idea of paradise with daddy.
I am so thankful for memories. That they can transport us back to our favorite times in seconds. But, today it’s not enough to just look at these sweet pictures. It softens the blow, but what I wouldn’t give to have that handsome face in real life with me, not just on a screen.
So, for the next four months we’ll be dreaming of paradise. And, counting down the days until our family’s mini paradise of simply being reunited!
One day John will be back with us. And, ‘have even one day we will be back in Hawaii!
Do you remember being a first time parent? You researched everything! For the entire nine months all I did on Pinterest was search baby everything. Yes my research was Pinterest. Having a newborn was a new adventure. There was so much to learn and prepare for.
The second time around? Nope. No researching. Been there done that. I kept one baby alive. I know all I need to know. We’ve got this baby thing down. While that is true to extend, there were still some things that surprised me and made me feel like a new parent again! Here’s a list of nine things I forgot about having a newborn.
How TINY 7 lbs is!
My first was 6 lbs 5 oz when he was born. So tiny. I remember for the longest time being able to wrap my fingers around his thighs, and so effortlessly around his arms. But, now he is almost 30 lbs and that’s all my arms know anymore.
How hard newborn diapers are to change!
I have been changing diapers everyday for the past two years. I didn’t blink an eye about adding more. Until I remembered how little and squirmy newborns are. Their little arms and legs flail all around. You feel like you’ll break them when it’s time to wipe. And, then the scare factor of not hurting the umbilical cord or circ. It took a good two weeks to not feel terrified taking care of that tiny bum. But now that he’s up to ones, I’m a diaper changing pro.
The importance of tucking it down.
All my boy moms out there know! Those darn little things have a mind of their own. And, while I did remember that you gotta tuck it down, I have had some slips. Ok. He had at least one leak per day for his first two weeks. Oh my goodness how does it keep happening?
Which leads me To my next point.
How many outfit changes newborns go through.
The spit up. The blow outs. The leaks. It’s amazing for being so little how messy they can be!
Oh the Spit up!
I had forgotten about all the spit up. Or, maybe blocked it out. When your baby fever hits you don’t take into consideration that you and baby will almost always be covered in spit up. The smell. The stains. It’s the worst. And, because I forgot about the glorious spit up, ask me if I have been prepared with enough extra clothing.
The answer is no.
How much you need to keep in your diaper bag.
Now flash back to the time of researching for the first baby, I knew I wanted to keep using a purse instead of an official diaper bag. I’m still the one carrying it, not the baby, I want it to be cute. I got a big enough purse for diapers, wipes, extra clothes, and all the other spares. As the baby grew the baby stuff in the purse diminished. I totally forgot how much you really need with you when you go out with a little one. They are so tiny, how do they need so much?!
How quickly two hours passes.
I have never been much of a schedule follower. But, you do tend to fall into your daily routine and general schedule. We have been following the toddler eating schedule for quite some time. And, yes they can be rather snacky. But it doesn’t compare to how much you feed a newborn! I definitely had forgotten just how often new little ones eat. Two hours is like all the time. And, two hours in between feedings happens really quickly.
All that you can do while nursing.
Every-two-hours feedings takes up a lot of the day. But, you can still do a lot with a baby latched on to you. The dog needs out? No problem. You need a snack? No problem. Need to scroll through Pinterest? Obviously. Your toddler needs a diaper change and you to give him a piggy back ride while playing Ninja Turtles? Well, still working on that!
How much newborns really sleep.
Everybody knows that new babies sleep. It’s what they do best. But, when you’ve been around a one nap a day kid, the amount of sleep a newborn gets is nerve wrecking! I found myself asking, is my baby ok? They literally just wake up to eat. And, I totally forgot about that!
Even though you already have kids, and you know, basically, what you’re doing. Newborns still are still new. And, they still hit you with a learning curve. Thankfully, the second is a little less scary!
I have never been so glad to live in the time of technology as I was February 7th. FaceTime has become a staple of our daily routine since my husband has been deployed. For nearly two months, we have been looking at his face every day and night at 8:30 through the iPad screen. My sweet boy has been able to see his daddy every day since we’ve said “see you later”, which has helped his transition immensely. And, seeing my husband’s handsome face has kept my loneliness at bay.
I heard in the beginning of this deployment, that wifi is like a military wife’s best friend. This was beyond true as I was laboring with my husband far away in another country. For being a less than ideal situation, it was like the stars were perfectly aligned. I could not be happier with the way my deployment birth went. From the very beginning it all fell into calm and perfect place.
I was up by 4:30 that morning, with what I was expecting to be contractions. But, not sure sure. John called me right as I got in the bath, to decide if the contractions were the real deal.He never calls me so early in the morning! From then on he was there. Facebook chatting through the irregular contractions. And, as they got more consistent. I was able to let him know within seconds that I was going into the clinic, even though I didn’t feel like I was that far along. Within a simple matter of hitting send, he knew I was at 7 cm at 12:00 pm. That it was time to go to the hospital.
The nurse joked that when I came into the ward, there was no way I’d be in labor. That they we would talk about me behind my back, because I came in smiling and looking good. There is no way she is at a 7. I think I was in shock, it was actually time.
It felt so unreal that I almost forgot to hug Easton goodbye!
But, I did feel good. I was on a high of “oh my goodness it’s actually happening” and “my husband isn’t going to miss out”.
Within an hour, I was waddling laps around the maternity ward with my phone right in hand. Between every hard contraction, I’d check my Facebook messages. I was literally walking around the hospital texting while in labor. I’m sure I looked like a phone – obsessed teen, but it was my only connection to my husband. My phone was connected to me. And, my phone kept my husband connected to the birth.
In a lot of ways, it kept me distracted too. The time seemed to pass quicker, because I kept going back to give John the run down. It feels silly to say that Facebook was such a blessing to my labor. Or, I was on Facebook at all. But it was, with no exaggeration.
By the time 2:29 rolled around, they broke my water, and my husband’s face was right there. Set up on the iPad next to me on the bedside table. My mom jokes that after every push I would turn over and smile at John. I don’t remember this, but maybe it’s true. Because, even though my husband was physically thousands of miles away, in another country, he was right there. Even though from the first positive pregnancy test, I was fretting that he wouldn’t be.
At 3:29, exactly one hour after breaking my water, and a few screams, our sweet little Mason entered the world. As he was laid on my chest I was overcome with emotion. This baby who felt like nothing more than a dream. A moment we had wrestled with in the months leading up to it. Was here and it was imperfectly perfect.
My second labor, was much like the first, easy. It was manageable. Uneventful. And, quick. But, most importantly John didn’t miss a second.
We never dreamed we would be having a baby over deployment. Who would? But, this is military life. You deal with it, and make it work, because it’s what you’re living with. We would have given anything to make it so John was there to hold my hand as the contractions hit. To cut Mason’s chord. And, to be able to hold him, smell him, touch him. But, that’s not the way it works. So, I feel beyond thankful that technology exists.
Mason Craig Ronan was 7 lbs even and 19 inches long. His birth story is imperfectly perfect. I wouldn’t change a minute of the physical aspect of it. Maybe that was a trade off for having a husband so far away.
I know attitude definitely plays into the way you handle hardships in your life. And, I know that I do my best to choose to be positive, especially in moments that are out of my control. But, I think my midwife said it best when she said , “God is giving you so much grace, with your delivery and the way you are coping.” I feel so blessed with the ease of my delivery and that my husband was there.
One day, my husband will be home. Our baby boy will recognize his daddy’s face and voice, before he’s ever even felt a hug from him. Until then I will be so grateful for our unique memory and story. And, for FaceTime itself!
Huge thank you to my mom! She was kind of volun-told that she was to be my birth coach. And, she rocked it! So thankful for the calm environment she and my midwife provided.
I remember so vividly how hard it was waiting for my first born. I can still feel the strong sense of impatience like it was happening right now. Not much compares to the emotions of a pregnant woman. Especially one who has gone well over her due date. I have never cried more in my life than the three weeks leading up to the birth of my first son!
The way I felt waiting for my first born could be summed up in one story of irrational emotions. I was wallowing in bed when my husband came home from work. Probably had been there for a couple hours. He came in and gave me the perfect husband speech. It would all be okay. Baby will come. We both smiled, thinking I was okay. But, as I went to get out of bed I hit my knee on our wooden bed frame. I tried to laugh it off, when really it hurt! My husband headed down stairs to relax. Thinking it was safe since I laughed. You guys, within two minutes I was sobbing hysterically. Thirty minutes later, when I was able to control myself, I went downstairs and my husband literally had no idea I had lost it!
Waiting for your new baby is hard! It is knowing that you are getting the best gift ever, but not knowing when it will arrive. We have all checked the tracking status of a package repeatedly, and watched out the window daily, for something we ordered online. It’s that feeling times a million! We are given that silly due date so early in the pregnancy, when the baby is a size of a blueberry. It’s the only date we have to cling to. But, unfortunately, as many moms can attest to, babies don’t answer to due dates. And, we just can’t change that!
With my first born I started my maternity leave 38 weeks. I knew there was no guarantee that baby would come anytime soon. But, I thought maybe it was possible. Every morning I would hop on Facebook and see baby after baby being announced. I did my best to stay patient, but it felt like now that I was on maternity leave there was nothing else to do besides wait for him to arrive.
His due date came and went. I ended up watching at least five baby announcements before he came. It was torture. But, then nine days past his due date my sweet baby finally decided to make his appearance. I said on his birthday that the next due date, would mean nothing to me. It would only give me a guesstimate of when I may meet them. But, I would hardly acknowledge it. And, I am so proud to say that I did, indeed, keep this mind set!
My second baby was late as well. Four days “over due”. But, going over was different this time. There were three main differences going over the second time versus the first.
I was naturally more patient, because I knew how long baby could really wait to be born. I learned first hand, the hard way, that a due date is not a guarantee. There is no way to know when baby will come. Some come early. Mine come late. With my first I knew that, but I couldn’t convince myself to be ok with it. With my second I knew that I could wait nine days or even more after the due date. So, there was no sense in getting impatient. I wasn’t even pregnant for as long, so heck he came early!
The first time around every thought I had was wrapped around what this baby would be like. Forty weeks is a long time to obsess over finally meeting somebody you’ve always dreamed of. But, the second time around I was soaking up the last moments with my first born. Instead of impatiently waiting to just finally meet my baby. My heart did a lot of worrying about what the transition would be for my first baby . I stole every snuggle and every kiss in the days we prepared for his baby brother.
The second time going over I was able to really sleep! When you become a parent, or a parent-to-be, you’re told to “sleep while you can”, but a lot of times that’s easier said than done. Yes, I was sleepy with my first, and I did take naps. But, goodness, all I did all day was wait for him, I couldn’t sleep for 24 hours! The second time around I was totally relaxed. I wasn’t watching the clock, waiting for the days to pass. When you live relaxed in the moment you find time passes fast. Faster than if you’re fretting! Not to mention, I knew that sleep was about to become really limited. I let myself sleep when big brother did. And, it was glorious.
A week into this mom-of-two thing, I wonder if you can chalk differences up to, “been there done that”. I still would never wish going over, especially nine days with your first, on anyone. But, the second time around it was almost a blessing. I never felt annoyed or frustrated. I was able to give my sweet first born extra one-on-one time before he had to share me.
If you find yourself in your first pregnancy going over your due date, try to remember your baby will be here one day soon! And, one day this impatience you feel will only be a memory.
Oh my heavens, terrible twos. They are a thing. 100% yes. Undeniably. Now, I took Early Childhood Education classes, I know they are just exploring their independence. That they really aren’t being naughty. But, goodness it doesn’t make it easier when you’re trying to get your toddler to eat the oranges that they loved last week. Or, when your patience for another “I don’t want ___ ANYMORE!” fit was worn out three hours ago. There is hope though, sweet mommy! While these moments are overwhelming, the cute factor of these four two-year old moments are enough to make it through another day!
1. When they use their manners without being prompted.
We are working on “May I please…” right now, and it’s really starting to click with E. And, it’s so exciting! I am proud to be raising a toddler who will turn into a polite adult, because we are having him be polite now. Not to mention, how adorable that little voice sounds using such kind words. It will hit you in all the feels!
2. When they are playing. Fairly quietly. And, jabbering away.
I love to watch how his imagination is growing. And, so wish I could be inside his brain. What is he thinking? What is he saying. And, after you’ve finished admiring how cute and big he seems, you have some free time for Pinterest – eh, chores – while they are still playing alone.
3. The loves they give out so freely!
Nothing turns me into mush quicker than when E grabs me by the face and gives me kisses. You know mommy, how amazing it feels to be loved by your little. Words cannot describe!
4. Sleep time!
You knew that was coming. Nothing beats that victorious feeling of checking on your wild 2-year-old to find them peacefully knocked out. That sleeping face. When they are quiet and still you can really admire how stinken cute this kid is!
Two year olds are an adventure. They are strong-willed. They are learning so much, all the time. There are definitely hard moments. The moments where you’re telling yourself it’s only one day, but these four moments act as reset. Remind you that two really is such a fun age! And, quite possibly, an age you might miss one day.
Boy, am I grateful for FaceTime! Since John has arrived at his station we have been able to FaceTime twice a day; when each of us wakes up and goes to bed. Nothing makes me happier than still being able to see that handsome face. It’s like that giddy feeling you get when you’re talking to your new crush. And, Easton gets so excited every time that FaceTime ringer sounds. He loves to see daddy on the iPad! So I know it’s helping him with the transition.
But, at 38 weeks it’s becoming sooo real that a tiny little baby is coming very soon. We are so excited to see Mason’s little face. I cannot wait to hold the tiny squish on my chest; and, smell that sweet newbie smell from his soft little head. And, to see if he’s as squirmy on the outside as he is on the inside. But, I’m more and more aware after every 10 minute chat, that John is gonna miss out on this. That he won’t nervously hold Mason as a fragile newborn. Or, be there for the first roll over. To dress Mason in his favorite shark onesie that big brother wore.
We are so lucky to be doing this in the era of technology! I haven’t had to go any longer than a night’s sleep without talking to him in the two weeks we’ve been apart. And, honestly that makes such a huge difference. I feel truly blessed and lucky, that my husband is deployed in such a place that communication is so consistent. But, it still doesn’t replace touch.
My heart breaks for my husband; as I know he never fathomed he’d miss a birth when he swore in as a 20 year old. But, to be honest… I’m pretty sad for me too. Obviously no one would ever choose this. And, while I am beyond thankful for the friends and family that are here for me, all the babysitters, and the support I have in this transition.The fact that I was able to move home in the first place! John is real home now. I knew he was the The One when I felt that sense of home with him. This is OUR family that we’re building, and HE has to miss a huge milestone in it.
I am so happy to know that our boys will be able to see daddy’s face and hear his voice every day while he’s gone. That he and I get to still see each other. My heart bursts with excitement every day at 8:30, am and pm. And, truly I feel okay in our first couple weeks. I know we will be okay. That the blessing of technology is going to make this time tolerable. But, I am still hoping that the newest Ronan will hold on tight in there, so his daddy has less precious time with him to miss.
It has been one week since I snapped this picture. My eyes were wet and I was unaware of what the next week held. My sweet little toddler was just pumped to be walking on his own onto the AIRPLANE! He didn’t understand that that was our goodbye to daddy for six months.
I saved this picture. With plans to post it a once John got on the plane to start his journey. But, in true fashion of this out-of-our-control chapter in our lives, my poor husband has been stuck in two different cities for nearly a week. Before he even hops on his military flight.
However, today at 5:30 in the morning, I woke up to a minute phone call saying that today is the day. That we are officially beginning our deployment journey.
So I’m sharing this sweet picture of our innocent little boy. And, asking that you keep my growing family, especially my husband, in your thoughts. That we can go through the next six months with our heads up, and the determination Easton had walking on to his first big boy plane ride.