Thursday, February 2, 2012

What becomes of a deployment?

I've sat comfortably for the past 2.5 years without my husband having to deploy, or having work-ups towards a one. One of my good friends is impending her first deployment, and I can't help but reflect how I felt when Mr. B left two times back to back on combat tours.

I followed my husband to the Mojave desert from the paradise beaches of Hawaii because I fell madly in love with him, and I couldn't see myself away from him. I was exiting the Marine Corps, and I knew exactly what I was getting myself into, or at least I thought I did. I didn't realize the struggle I had to re-identifying myself back into the civilian sector, but being too close to the Marine Corps at the same time. We got married in Vegas, not exactly what I had planned, but he was merely weeks from deploying with the first round of guys in the unit.

I couldn't understand why we were fighting so much, and walking on eggshells everytime we looked at each other. I was confused, hurt, and didn't know how the guy I fell in love with in Hawaii was now distancing himself from me. I sulked alone, because I was alone. I was newly married, and still living out in town. I hardly knew a soul. Then, I became pregnant. I was more than emotional, afterall, my newly husband was leaving me to a combat deployment. I finally met with some other active duty sailors from my neighbors house, and one of them coldly told me that my husband was not going to be granted to come home for the delivery of our baby. It was a harsh reality. A few weeks later, he was sent on his way. We finally got base housing a few days before his departure, and I remembering looking at all the packed boxes, while he was packing up his gear. I honestly felt helpless.

The night before he was set to deploy, I felt tears streaming down his face. He claims that his eyes were watery. He also just got to see our little one swimming around for the first time on an ultrasound earlier that day.

The buses came in January a little past midnight. It was freezing, and I sat snug inside our heated car. I saw the wives outside with their husbands sipping on hot cocoa from the roach coach. I just felt like I was losing my bestfriend. We finally got out of the car, because he told me it was almost time to get into formation. I wanted to cling to him and not let go. I didn't like this unknown stranger that was taking everything we had in common away-- I had never deployed. I left him in formation, because I couldn't bear to watch the buses pull away. I got into our car, drove the couple of miles to our new home, crawled into our empty bed, and wept. The first couple of weeks were the hardest. Pregnant, I cried a lot, and mostly at night when I realized that I was going to bed alone. I was grateful when I could hear his voice at mostly every stop he made before entering his new home for the next 8 months. The conversations were never long enough, and I was heartbroken everytime he had to go.

Those were the first two weeks. If you never endured a deployment, those first two weeks are hell. I became stronger each day, and I slowly crawled out of the house. I am pretty sure I locked myself in for awhile, and left only for food. I remember going somewhere, and someone mentioning that their husband just left with main body. For me, two weeks gave me some strength, and now I sympathized with this fellow spouse since her two week journey just started. I got tired of sulking, and started branching out. I joined the key volunteers for our unit, and finally met other spouses that I would lean on during the deployment. A few months later, and a growing belly, I decided to take a sneak peek at our little one, by traveling to San Diego for a 3D/4D ultrasound. I felt it was my mission to to show Mr. B who she was. I sent the recorded video, and shipped it for his birthday.

We were having a little girl! I sang to her in the shower, and talked to her in the mornings when she woke me up with her little kicks. I was getting excited.

I've had other posts about some details that I went through during that deployment, and frankly, I don't want to rewrite it again. Towards the end of my pregnancy, I got gallbladder disease and it started making things more complicated. He didn't get to come home for the birth; however, he was on the phone for the delivery-- in the nick of time. I was prepared for it, I had a great support from my friends that were determined to hold a leg while I was welcoming Miss K. It is amazing what me and that little girl has gone through together, alone. Somehow, she still manages to be a daddy's girl.

Deployments are tough, but you'll get through it. You'll find friendships that you never knew you had, and the strength to wake-up each day. Because at least for me, I had a little girl I needed to take care of. Oh, and you'll learn to sleep with your cell-phone next to your head. I actually have friends that get frustrated with me because I don't respond to texts fast enough. I just tell them that I am not a slave to my phone anymore-- at least for now. ;)