Friday, October 31, 2014

Deployment Interlude: Part 2

                Midafternoon my computer starts chiming, waking me from a nap with Ben’s telltale ringtone. His calls have been much more frequent and I can count on them every couple of days, usually pretty early in the morning my time. With that consistency, I’ve found it easier to establish a routine for myself and have much less anxiety about leaving the house and missing a call. An afternoon call, when I just talked to him yesterday has me immediately worrying that something has gone wrong. “Ben, is everything okay? Shouldn’t you be sleeping?”
                “Yeah, it’s late here but I wanted to call and find out how the appointment went today.” Duh! Of course he’d want to know. I’m 16 weeks pregnant now and had my mid-pregnancy ultrasound to measure fetal development.

                Though Ben is supposed to be back before my due date, Josephine has agreed to go to all my appointments with me and be my labor coach should his flight get delayed. Of course, asking Josephine has its own set of concerns, mainly that she is pregnant herself and we’re due close to the same time.

                “Everything went fine. I even got a video to show you.” As I wait for the video to load (it seems to be taking forever!) Ben asks to see my belly. I send him a picture once a week or so, monitoring the progress of my bump. I know he enjoys feeling like he is “part” of this pregnancy even though he hates missing it. I keep reminding him that, in the long run, it’s better for him to be gone now and have time when the baby is born rather than the other way around. I hoist myself from the bed and hurry to the bathroom to snap the picture.

When I sit back down, the video has finished loading to the computer. I press play and find the screen sharing option. Though I had seen it firsthand, when our baby’s picture pops into view, I’m still in awe. The technician had also recorded the fetal heartbeat and, just then, the whooshing sound fills our speakers. “Aww, are you crying?” I notice the light sparkling in the corner of his eyes.

                “My brain may be leaking just a little,” he admits with a huge smile. I understand. When I heard the sound earlier today, my hormones had gone into overdrive and I burst into tears in the exam room. It’s amazing and a miracle and so emotional and, really, I have no words to describe how much love I have for this baby and what hearing its heartbeat for the first time means to me.

                His computer pings, announces a new email and I hear his mouse clicks as he checks it. “You look beautiful, as always. Can you send me an email of the video too?”
                “Gonna share it with your friends?”
                “Hell yeah! I’m a proud papa! I’m going to try to get back to sleep now though. We’ve got a long day tomorrow. I may not be able to call again for another week or so. Don’t worry if you don’t hear from me okay?”
                I immediately start to panic but force a smile out. “Okay. Be safe. I love you.”

Deployment Interlude: Part 1                                                                                           Deployment Interlude: Part 3

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Deployment Interlude: Part 1

                “You’re on!” I've waited weeks to hear the ringing of this stupid computer program and now that it’s finally come, my fingers fumble as I try to click the answer button before it stops.

                “Hi baby! It’s so good to see you!” As Ben’s face flickers into view, I settle on the sofa, adjusting the laptop screen so he can see as much of me as I can fit in. “How are you doing, I've been worried about you.”

                “I've been good. It’s strange, getting used to you not being here but we’re adjusting,” I pat my stomach reassuringly. Ben doesn't need to know I spent almost the entire first week in bed, crying my eyes out.

                “So you and the little one are doing okay? You’re sure?” His face looks so concerned that I start to worry that one of the girls ratted me out.

                “I've been puttering around the house a lot. I know the baby book says nesting happens later on but I figured I might as well start now. Jo and Emme have been keeping me busy.”

                When Ben left, I was a mess. I barely found the energy to eat and, when I bothered, I left the dishes where they sat. The blinds stayed drawn and I lived in my pajamas. The laundry piled around me as I waited by the laptop; waiting for a call that didn't come. I knew that the minute I left home without it that would be when he would call. When I looked in the mirror, I barely recognized myself. My eyes were ringed in black, my hair a greasy mess. I was on high alert not just because I was listening for the computer but also because I had never lived on my own before. Every little sound woke me up. When the tree outside rustled its leaves against the window panes, I nearly wet myself in fear that someone was trying to get in. Between that and the constant nausea from the baby, I rarely slept more than an hour at a time which left me even more reluctant to get up and do things throughout the day.

                It was a miracle, albeit an unwelcome one at the time, when Jo and Emme showed up. Both had tried calling multiple times since the buses had left but I’d let their calls go to voice-mail, unwilling to tie up the line in case Ben did try to use a phone. The two had shown up together, banging on the door and demanding to be let in. They’d tsked and fussed at me, trying to convince me to pull it together. I’d grown comfortable with my pain and self-pity though and their help was unwelcome. Finally, they threatened to call the command and get in touch with Ben. Maybe he could talk some sense into me. It was the last thing I wanted. I hadn't cried when he left. There was no way I wanted him to know how poorly I was handling this deployment. I’d indignantly stormed upstairs to shower, cursing under my breath the whole way. Once under the steamy water, my tears let loose again mingling with the spray. Except this time I was disappointed in myself. Ben was out there, protecting our country, far away from home while I wallowed at home in misery and my own stench. I resolved to do my part as best I could and let all my worries wash down the drain with the dirt and emerged freshly scrubbed and slightly rejuvenated. The two had even managed to convince me to go out to eat, after Emme had assured me it was the middle of the night where our husbands were and they weren't likely to call at this time.

                “It hasn't been too hard on you, has it? Me being away?” Once again I suspect that Emme or Jo may have managed to get a message to him but I realize that he’s just asking as a concerned husband.
                “A little. You left weeks ago and I was starting to worry when you hadn't called.”
                “I’m sorry honey. It’s been crazy over here. We were in river city for a couple weeks because some stupid kid was posting all over Simbook where we were and were going.”
                “Nothing serious then? No one’s hurt?” I know he might not be able to tell me otherwise but I can’t stop myself from asking and I hear the panic in my voice as the questions blurt out.
                “I promise. Everyone’s fine. I’m sorry to say though but I've got to get going. There are a lot of people waiting to call home.”

                “Wait, I have a picture for you!” I hurriedly attach the baby bump picture I’d taken of me and our little nugget. “I’m starting to show, just a little bit.”

                “I think you’re just pushing your stomach out.” The sound of his laugh is more precious than gold to me at this moment. “I love you sweetheart.”

                “I love you too.” The computer beeps as the call drops and I feel the tears building again in my eyes. Now that I know everything is okay and have heard his voice, I refuse to fall back into misery. I just have to make it to the next call. Whenever that will be. 

Chapter 7.3                                                                                                                          Deployment Interlude: Part 2

Author's Notes:

*Once again, I've failed at updating. Long story short, I wore myself out (of sims) with all the different things I was working on and the more I "pushed through" the less I wanted to. The Avendales were the second thing I set aside.

*These interludes are fairly short so hopefully they'll get me back interested in playing.