Tuesday, February 14, 2012

My Second Child and Departure from the Army, Part 2

Watch out!  8 pounds, 6 ounces of screaming, naked baby!

So on Sunday I began my story about the circumstances surrounding our decision and timing for having our second child.  Now it's time to finish that story and while it may have started out a bit shaky, it ended with the birth of my beautiful, second son.

Finding out about my pregnancy wasn't as easy as taking a simple pregnancy test.  I took an at-home test and there was one pink line and one very faint pink line.  I took another and got the same result. OK, well the instructions said that if any line shows up no matter how faint, you're pregnant.  So off to the Troop Medical Clinic for a confirmation.

So the tech at the clinic had me pee in a cup.  I saw her dip a stick in (the same as I had just used...or it looked a lot like it) and then we waited.  "You're not pregnant, Drill Sergeant."  My response, "But there are 2 lines."  She tried to tell me that the other line was too faint and that I was not pregnant.  I began second guessing myself.  I told her I wanted another test.  She said that she would have another tech test the sample and that they would call me later.

That afternoon, I was driving back from Fort Ord with my son in the car (heaven only knows why I was out at Fort Ord, because for the life of me I can't remember why) and I realized that I hadn't heard back from the Clinic.  I gave them a call and got an answer, "I'm sorry, but you aren't pregnant."  My son was four years old and he knew that mommy and daddy were going to try to have another baby.  I was in tears by this point and was trying not to cry, when he asked what the phone call was for and why mommy was upset.  I told him that there was no baby in my belly yet and he just started crying.  I lost it then as he kept asking, "Where's my little sister?!?!"

So the next morning I woke up and took another pregnancy test (yes I had multiple because you never can be too sure!)...and then another.  Both said I was pregnant.  I went back down to the Clinic and told them, "OK, I took 2 tests yesterday that said I was pregnant and then you guys did 2 and said I wasn't. I took 2 more this morning and they say I am.  Figure this out!"  The response was a perfectly sound medical conclusion "OK, Drill Sergeant, if you took 4 tests and they said you're pregnant, then you are.  Let's get you a profile and a prescription for prenatal vitamins."  Seriously?  You're just going to take my word for it?  OK...whatever....

Of course, I didn't doubt my pregnancy.  I was late and was never late, so the question really was, what to do now?  The Army Ball was coming up in a few days.  It was June.  The cadre had all chipped in to rent a stretch Hummer to go to the ball.  It was going to be an awesome night and we were all arriving in style!  I hadn't turned in my profile yet, and I hadn't told my cadre I was pregnant yet.  I had only told my husband by presenting him with a photo card that said, "The Cayemberg Family is about to get a little bigger"...or something like that...and we told our families.  I told the cadre that at the Army Ball I would drink a toast with them and if I drank the wine, I wasn't pregnant.  If I drank the non-alcoholic cider, then I was pregnant.  They all sat around as the first toast of the evening came and looked at me. I picked up both glasses and then drank the non-alcoholic one. There was much congratulating going on after that although somewhat quietly, because we weren't telling the trainees...

My husband and I at that last Army Ball
Now the trainees obviously knew that something was up.  They saw our table briefly get all loud and excited, but we weren't telling why. You may ask yourself why I would keep something like that a secret, well, can you imagine having a pregnant, hormonal Drill Sergeant?  I mean Drill Sergeants aren't exactly cuddly people to begin with, but a pregnant one?  Not to mention I had no desire to have trainees trying to baby me...or worse  saying that I was only yelling because I was pregnant. That would probably have sent me right over the edge.

I have to admit that I do feel somewhat bad for the Soldiers in Bravo Company for the remainder of my time.  I tried not to be hormonal. I really did, but some things would just set me off and I would just smoke the Soldier(s) that were responsible.  All within my boundaries, but still.

I ended up serving for almost my entire first trimester.  The problems I encountered were mildly amusing, but challenging none-the-less.  Trying to hide my morning-noon-and-night sickness was impossible.  When the bathroom is right next to where the Soldiers on duty are they can hear the barfing.  They never said anything except, "Are you OK, Drill Sergeant?"  A simple "My stomach is bothering me" ended the question, although I'm sure they knew.

My Battalion Commander was another mild problem.  You see brainiac said that I needed to put on a maternity uniform immediately.  I know I mentioned in my last post  that this guy hated Drill Sergeants and I seriously think he thought that a Drill Sergeant in maternities would just look hysterical...or that it would require me to leave early.  Either way, I wasn't doing it.  He may have been my Battalion Commander, but what he couldn't do was make me wear a uniform that didn't fit.  As far as I was concerned he wasn't removing me unless my profile got in the way (or my belly).  My unit was too short-handed for me to just stop working because the Battalion Commander whimsically wanted it so...and I was fit to keep up my duties.

I would lead the PT for the Soldiers on profile.  Someone had to so it didn't really look odd, and from time to time I would actually still run with my company and call cadence.  Granted, the guys would only let me do it at the end of PT when we were running downhill.  I gotta love how they took care of me!

Shortly before I took my hat off, I held a meeting with my platoon and told them what I know some had started to figure out...that I was pregnant...and what they hadn't figured out...that I was leaving the military. I explained it to them like they were family, because when you're a Drill Sergeant they are like your kids...and you're the dysfunctional parent that yells a lot.  I have no problem admitting that when I told them I was leaving the military that I teared up.  And I told them something that doesn't get said often enough.  Family has to come first.

By the time I took my hat off in August of 2005 I was wearing my BDUs with all the buttons on the bottoms undone, but my top (luckily) covered it.  A week or so later when I showed up in civilian clothes for my End of Tour Award I was looking as pregnant as can be.  I think that was a shock to the Soldiers!

Daddy with his 2 boys
So my husband, son and I left Monterey, California to drive out to what would be our new home in Clarksville, Tennessee...just over the Kentucky border.  On to Fort Campbell!  On the way, we stopped off to see my cousin get married and to say hello to some friends in Arizona.  Hurricane Katrina had just hit before our trip and as we drove through Texas we detoured and cancelled a planned stop in San Antonio because Hurricane Rita was on the way.  We arrived in Clarksville with the rain, and rain, and rain.

We found a home.  A great home, very quickly. And I found my way to a midwife on post as soon as TRICARE red-tape would allow.  At first, I couldn't get in to see anyone anytime soon, so that meant that my husband and I spent a little time with the Officer in Charge of the OB/GYN floor.  She was a sweet woman and she took care of us.  However, when I got in for some lab work the ladies there started screaming at me that I needed to have my ultrasound NOW.  What?  I was 22 weeks.  That's about right...right?  Don't yell at me because the Army moved us during baby-ultrasound time.  My hubby had to make some quick plans to get in on this ultrasound, but we managed to get it done with all of us there, my son included.

The tech told us the news.  A healthy baby boy!  We were delighted.  The sex didn't matter to us.  The healthy part was the only thing that ever did.  Benjamin, however, was still demanding to know where his little sister was.  Luckily, at the age of 11 he stopped demanding a little sister.

I went to a midwife even though I knew she wouldn't be delivering my baby.  I couldn't get in with any of the other doctors that could perform my c-section and I liked midwives anyway.  She was great.  The doctor that was assigned to deliver my child, however, I didn't like.  I'm not sure why either.  Just a feeling.

We picked February 12th for the c-section.  I didn't want to have a baby on Valentine's Day.  I didn't want Valentine's Day over-shadowing his day.  My mom, sister, and step-dad came down to take care of Ben while my hubby and I went in for Daniel's birth.  It was a blessing to have them there for the event and to take care of us (I won't talk about how you dumped cayenne pepper into a pot of boiling water, mom, and made the whole house cough like we'd been hit with pepper spray!  [HeeHee] I guess I just did! Love you, mom!)

Again with the name problems though.  Daniel was supposed to be a Nicholas.  I still like the name Nicholas, but there's no fighting pregnant lady hormones!  My husband and I tried out several different names and none of them felt right.  A few days before the birth we decided on Daniel.  I had a friend in elementary school named Daniel and always thought it was a nice name.  My husband told his family that we had decided on Daniel, but that we'd wait until we met him to make it official.  His middle name, however, would be Edward.  After my grandfather, my uncle, my great grandfather, my great great grandfather, my....well, you get the idea.  Lots of Edwards in this Irish family.

I love this picture.  Ben staring at his day-old baby brother.
This time my husband and I got to see our child be born.  I had told the doctor about the horrible epidural-didn't-work event with my first son and he said that I would have a spinal block.  Needle in the spine is all the same to me, I just wanted to be awake!  And in no-time, once the cesarean started, Daniel was out...and the doctor almost dropped him on the floor.  Did I mention that I didn't like this guy? Although there were many other reasons!

I saw him for a brief moment and they took him to the warmer for his vitals and to clean him up.  After my c-section was finished it was to recovery where my husband got to give him his first bath and mommy and baby could start bonding.

I'd like to say the breastfeeding went smoothly the second time around, but it didn't.  I'll save the gory details (for now), but my older sister came to my rescue there!  She came down to help out about 2 weeks after Daniel was born and drug my butt into the lactation consultant's office and then forced her to help (and this lady needed forcing!).

It was nice to be able to actually witness the birth.  Even if it wasn't a normal, traditional childbirth, it was us welcoming our second, beautiful, sweet baby boy into our lives.  Lots of diapers, crying, nursing and sleepless nights, but it was all worth it, and this time there was no going back to the Army and chucking my child in daycare.  I got to actually do all those mommy things that I had dreamt about when I was a little girl.  I missed work, but the trade-off was more than worth it, and we were blessed to be able to have the choice and be able to afford to have me stay home to care for our children.

My mom getting to hold her newest grandson!
A little genealogical twist to Daniel's birth...even though Fort Campbell is in Kentucky most nonmilitary people don't know that it's actually on the border of Kentucky and Tennessee, and when I say on the border, I mean part of it is in one state and part in another.  It's listed as being in Kentucky, because the headquarters building is in Kentucky, however, the military hospital on post is in Tennessee which means that Daniel has a Tennessee birth certificate! Something sure to confuse descendants researching us...born at Blanchfield Army Medical Center in Fort Campbell, Tennessee!  And another twist...Blanchfield is a family name.  That made having him there even more special!

Happy Birthday, Daniel.  A little later than I meant to post this, but perhaps that's appropriate since Army circumstances kept us from having you as soon as we would have liked to.  Again...everything happens for a reason.