I’m not sure if most people are aware, but “deployment babies” are an actual thing. A lot of military families end up having a baby shortly after the service member returns from deployment, because well, you know… It’s been a long time. I was no different. I came home from a year-long deployment in Iraq in 2007, and unbeknownst to me, immediately got pregnant.
I was in New York with my husband visiting for my cousin’s wedding. I was “late,” and decided, the day before the wedding, to take a pregnancy test. At Kmart. Why not? I didn’t really think I was pregnant but took a test every now and then just to make sure. We didn’t have any kids yet; I didn’t have baby fever; we weren’t trying; and I was never a “baby person.” But the second I saw that plus sign on the “pee stick,” I realized there was a whole new part of me that didn’t exist until that minute. It no longer mattered if we were “trying,” if it was a “surprise,” or if I wasn’t a baby person.
Once I found out I was growing a life inside of me, my whole perspective changed. I began to imagine life with a baby.
I told my husband, and we thought the wedding seemed like a perfect opportunity to quietly share with my extended family that we were “expecting.”
The next day, we got all dressed up, and had a great time at my cousin’s extravagant Long Island wedding! Of course, I abstained from partaking at the bar, and couldn’t have been happier to share the reason why. The next morning, we took the train into the city. We spent the day seeing all the typical New York City sights. I bought a little “I <3 NY” onesie for our baby-to-be.
By the end of the trip I had started spotting. I thought it could be perfectly normal, but I wasn’t sure. The next day, it continued. By late morning the next day, I was experiencing a full-blown miscarriage. Far away from home, I went to the emergency room, had an internal sonogram, and was told I was no longer pregnant. I’d known I was pregnant for only a day, but it had been already taken away from me. The loss was devastating, and I felt so alone. I didn’t know anyone who had gone through what I had gone through. That night, my aunt shared with me her personal story of loss.
This is why I felt compelled to share. I found out, through my loss, that so many women experience the same. And while it doesn’t lessen the blow, there is some comfort in knowing you’re not alone.