January 2020 was a very weird time in the world. The pandemic was starting to rear its ugly head and everyone was so unsure of what life was going to look like amidst the chaos. I had just returned from my deployment to Kuwait where things started to get a little hairy with Iran as I was on my way out the door. Thankfully I wasn’t extended and able to come home safe and sound.
Being back home with my husband and our fur babies was a breath of fresh air. I had air conditioning, REAL air conditioning and a shower bigger than the circumference of my ass. (IYKYK <— I say this a lot if you haven’t noticed by now ????) Oh! And a real bed with more comfort than a 4” foam topper on a twin spring mattress could ever give me. I was “living lavish” and not sorry about it.
I spent about two weeks and some change reintegrating back into “the real world” and being home with my husband 24/7 again. What they don’t tell you about deployments is that they change you, no matter what type of deployment you go on. ESPECIALLY, when you have a spouse or family. Leaving them to be solo for 6+ months, in your own routine, with nothing to focus on than your job, sleep and the gym – yeah it’s hard to unlearn that lifestyle.
Reintegration for us was rocky, we bickered over stupid things and it took us some time to get used to “sharing” again. The house, the bedroom, the bathroom, hell sometimes even the vehicles. It took a lot of intentional communication and even then it wasn’t perfect but we were committed to each other and that’s all that mattered. In some way, we always had this idea of starting our family after we got another deployment out of the way. So while we were reintegrating, of course the conversations started up again.
From the moment I said, “yes” to Cavan out at Horseshoe bend in July of 2018 – I wanted so badly to make him a father. It was a conversation we had and the light in his eyes when he talked about children of his own one day, y’all let me tell you… I wanted to jump his bones every time I saw it.
The night I saw those two little pink lines, I was shocked. We had been taking the “if it happens, it happens approach,” and boy did it happen! The weeks went by super fast, when I found out I was technically only 4 weeks and by 7 weeks, the doc was telling us we were having twins. Another thing our doc was telling us simultaneously was that they looked like the rarest and most high risk set of twins. I was an emotional wreck. How could this be? The moment I dreamt of full of so many fears and not “the usual” ones.
We had to wait almost a month to get in to a local hospital with the sonogram tech we needed that could see if there was a membrane separating the babies, if not, extremely high risk. I’m not gonna lie, the conversation of an abortion or even dissolving one of the embryos bounced around but it made me sick to my stomach to even consider that option. The only reason it crossed my mind is that I knew the risks were so immense, not only for me but for the babies in the state they were in (that we knew at the time). I just didn’t want them to suffer, I didn’t want their lives to be hard or their fight to come earth side to be filled with so much stress on their little bodies. At the time, they were known as monochorionic-monoamniotic. With all this swirling around me, I felt like I was having an outer body experience. There was no way that THIS was how I was meant to become a mother.
While I battled my biggest fears coming to life before my eyes, I still had to remain committed to my job at the time. I was placed in a role to be the trainer of the military working dog section and I was overjoyed about it. It was a job I had longed for after a few years of being a military working dog handler. I loved training dogs and teaching other handlers how to improve their skills as a team. The kennel section at the time was not welcoming to me by any stretch of the word. I was an outsider and the person who sat in the seat prior to me was the crowd favorite for many reasons. Most of which had everything to do the fact that they were not held accountable for their laziness and lackadaisical attitudes. There was an unspoken buddy-buddy system they had in place and in a male dominated career field, the cards were very much stacked against me from the jump. Regardless, I remained true to who I was at the time and my core beliefs even now.
I treated everyone equally, at the end of the day regardless of if they believed it or not, I cared about them deeply and was proud of their progress every single day. I knew that they wouldn’t want to have much of a personal bond with me and that was okay. I still tried to open up to them and show them that I was human too and not just some bitch that came in and stole their friends spot. After finding out about my pregnancy I had to change the way I conducted training with them and I wanted them to understand why. So I shared with them the state of my pregnancy and that in less words, we were unsure of if it was going to go to full term but we were hopeful our next sonogram would tell us some good news. I was met with absolutely ZERO support and barely even a response back. You know what came next? Everything they could think of to have me removed from the section for “safety” reasons. Violating chain of command and going to upper level leadership to bad mouth me with only 2% of their conversations being about my pregnancy. So while battling the fears and stress of my pregnancy, they added to the trauma by trying to railroad me out of my job to get their favorite person back. Everything became directed at how they didn’t feel I belonged in the section anymore. As if a pregnancy made me handicapped.
In the military, especially in Security Forces, when you’re pregnant it is automatically assumed that you need to be bubble wrapped and are completely useless. Everyone else tries to make decisions for you and your safety regardless of what you have discussed with your doctors. 9 times out of 10, they restrict you to an office job where you aren’t allowed to actively participate in training or anything physically demanding. It doesn’t matter how physically fit you are, how active you already are and your level of comfort doing physical activities. Pregnant? Stick her at a desk so we aren’t liable for anything and don’t have to worry about her. You in less words, lose control of what you’re allowed to do with your body while in the military uniform. I hated it. I hated every single minute of it. I hated feeling so undervalued and dismissed just because I was creating CHILDREN.
The day finally came that we got to have our sonogram to see if the twins were in fact “mo-mo” or not. I felt like I didn’t breathe the entire time I was in there. I cried and was terrified to look so all I did was listen to the technician explaining everything to me. When she said the words, “oh look at that sweet little membrane,” I about passed out. YESSS! They were safe! The tears came even harder and I was so happy that they were separated. We weren’t out of the woods yet but at the very least I didn’t have to worry about them getting tangled in each other.
The first trimester saileddd by, we found out we were having two little girls and I was STUNNED. I swore they were two boys but hey, girls aren’t that bad. I’m not the girliest girl but I think that’s what makes me even more fun. Something that I can teach them is not to be afraid of dirty feet and wild hair every now and then. After hearing we were going to be twin girl parents, we settled in to decorating, prepping all the things we thought we would need and mentally wrapping our brains around managing two babies at once. The entire time I was pregnant I felt like I could still stay in the military for 20 years until retirement. Until they were born…
Before they even turned one, I knew I couldn’t keep serving in the military anymore. At least not as an active duty member. Moments with them were too precious and my job took up way more of my time from them than I was willing to let go of. I had a new purpose now, a new meaning to my life and it was way more important than continuing to serve my country in the same ways I had the 9 years prior to them being born. I had to take a huge step back and realign myself with what I felt in my heart was the right thing to do. Not only for me but for our family. My photography business had been doing really well and I felt so fulfilled doing it. My husband and I talked about my plan to leave active duty for months. I was so scared that I wasn’t making the right decision and that pursuing my dream of being a full-time photographer would in some way hurt our family dynamic. We came up with a solid plan and in March of 2022, we “pulled the trigger”.
I left active duty service and have been swept away by the love and support from friends, family and most of all my husband. My business is doing well and I can finally say, I am the mother I always wanted to be. I’m growing everyday but most importantly, I’m present. Every moment with them is worth giving up my service to my country. I will forever fulfill my promise to them of never missing a birthday, holiday or life event.
Becoming a mother has been my greatest gift. I wouldn’t have my life any other way and I’m so thankful for it, every single day. They are everything I dreamt of and more.
Thank you so much for joining me here and sharing in this moment with me. I hope that you enjoyed this post. Feel free to share it with friends, family and loved ones you think this may resonate with. I’d love it if you would like this post or even leave a comment below of a snippet of your parenting journey. See you again very soon!