On The Day You Were Born…
One of Tot’s current favorite books is this adorable book called The Night You Were Born. It’s a wonderful book, and if you have kids or grandkids, I recommend it. It’s the sort of book you write a meaningful message in for the child and they keep it in their keepsake box.
But enough of the mushy stuff! I wanted to take today, Tot’s birthday, to think back on how things went the day she was born. What’s this got to do with my life as an author? Well, follow along.
I was 9 months pregnant, and Hubs was deployed. He was due back any week now, but the return date was a bit up in the air. My mom came to visit me for her spring break (late March) and said she got permission from her principal that if I went into labor while she was there, she’d stay with me. That was a relief, because my mom would leave on Saturday, and we got word Hubs would be home that following Sunday. That’s only 8 days. And with no signs of labor, I was positive I could hold out until Hubs got home. His return date was still a week before my actual due date. No big.
Nature had other plans. One day after my mother left, the doctors told me they were inducing me on Tuesday due to pre-eclampsia. So I was either 3 days too late, or 4 days too early. Hardy har har. Apparently I went into some sort of fugue state of shock, because I remember them saying “Wow, we thought you would be a lot more upset by this, given the timing.” And I remember shrugging and saying “It happens.” Like it was no big deal. I waited until I was home before I broke into tears.
But then time to rouse the calvary…also known as: my friends. I’d been blessed to make good friends with fellow Marine Corps wives. And they stepped up like no tomorrow. I would not have made it through without them.
So I thank Misty…because she was the one who stayed with me most in the hospital, slept on the uncomfortable sofa in my room, kept me alert when I needed it and distracted me through contractions and slept overnight at my house, and for holding Tot in the middle of the night, who wouldn’t stop crying, so I could get 2 hours of sleep. And for driving me around in the days following delivery, because I couldn’t do it myself.
And I thank Hilary, who brought humor with her into the room. After 9 hours of labor, she came in exclaiming that I had NO CLUE how badly she was in pain, because she’d been gardening all day and her legs were killing her. (As another contraction wracked my body…) And made me, and the nurses, all laugh while singing the McDonald’s Give Me That Fillet-O-Fish” song. And for organizing a surprise “baby book shower.” Yes, even then they knew my love of reading well. They asked friends from all over the country who we’d known from other duty stations to mail her baby books with a note for Baby Murray, which they presented me on the sly.
And I thank Beth, who wore the Daddy bracelet in the hospital so she could be with Tot while I was in surgery recovery, who had other people watch her three year old girl so she could be with me, and who didn’t hesitate to suit up in scrubs and come into the OR with me when I had my C-section, stand with me and keep me calm when I couldn’t stop shaking. And for taking Tot with her for a quick drive when I was having a nervous breakdown my first night home with her, because I didn’t know what to do and felt so alone and scared.
Seriously. Can you ask for better friends? No. You cannot. Every year on her birthday, I think about these women and what they went through FOR me, as well as with me. Tot’s and my three angels.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
This is why I love writing military heroes and heroines. Because although there is that underlying knowledge that they might have to deploy at any given point, and face things nobody should have to face, there’s a bright spot in that military life. You can find some of the most amazing, wonderful, giving people on the planet who are ready to step up and be there for you when you need it. They know what you need, because they need it too. And they’re willing to provide it. That camaraderie between spouses is just as wonderful to me as the brotherhood and sisterhood of those who wear the uniform. It can’t be beat. And it’s just another reason why I adore military romance. I can so easily envision the friendships the spouses will encounter, because I had them.