I have a confession to make: I thought the pregnancy process with Rachel would be an absolute nightmare. Thought I would be looking forward to texts of continued morning sickness, wild hormone swings, and general agony for everyone involved. She gets random cravings (she was ready to kill for salmon the other day) and she already has a maternity clothing wardrobe, but other than that, it’s been pretty normal, run of the mill stuff. Maybe she’s too busy impersonating Superwoman to notice. She’s taking an 18 month Master’s program in 12 months while working full-time and carrying a little human inside her while her husband is hundreds of miles away blogging for total strangers. Not exactly ideal, but she’s handling everything about as well as I could have hoped.
Well, the first couple of weeks were pretty rough. We were both in shock that the stars aligned well enough for me to knock her up in the five day window that we had during our honeymoon. Once that feeling subsided, it was quickly replaced by the realization that this could not possibly have be timed any worse. This is just terrible, hilariously bad timing for us to have a child. It totally changed the trajectory of our plans and turned a regular deployment into logistics hell. As of now, we’ll have to take an 8 hour flight to another continent with a poodle and a two month old, not to mention being shells of ourselves by then. We’ve had to worry about the following issues since Rachel got pregnant:
1) Find out how early we can get our flight plan since we need to book Spencer (our poodle) on the flight.
2) How do we get the baby on your orders so he/she is included in travel plans?
3) Will they provide the baby and your wife with a government passport to PCS or do we need to get a civilian one for baby?
4) What are German car seat regulations and what car seats can we buy that will fit them?
5) How much is base child care at Ramstein, how long is the wait, and how early can we get on the waiting list?
6) How long is base housing list and how early can we get on that list? Can we put on our application that there will be a child living there before the child is actually born?
7) Complete visa applications for Shawn, Rachel (and Baby, if necessary).
8) Do we need European Tax ID numbers if we work on base? What if I work off base? Do we still file taxes in California?
We’re not the first humans to travel with a newborn in tow, so we’ll figure it out, but gosh, that’s a ton of etceteras that appeared out of nowhere.
Anyway, after a few days of panicking over how the hell we could possibly survive this pregnancy in one piece, we chalked it up to normal fears that most couples have and regained our composure, which is easy to say in hindsight, but we were not trying to hear that at the time. Don’t tell that to people while they’re going through that, even if it’s absolutely true 95% of the time. It’s their damn child. They’re not going to be rational. Just listen and be there for them and let them cry and get their feelings out and probably cry some more.
Yes, it kills me to not be there, even if there are worse things than not getting woken up at 4am to make trips to Safeway. I don’t even know if she would do that to me. Yes she would. I hate her. The first trimester is supposed to be the most difficult, and she’s about 2/3 through it without any hitches, so hopefully it continues that way. I don’t really hate her. She’s the greatest.