Start here to begin the early threads
I moved day to day from one letter, one rare phone call to another. Hoping for a call. His voice over the phone was golden. Waiting for letters. Writing them daily. That cheap, plastic Walmart-bought box now sits on a shelf collecting dust most of the time, but its content is now a treasured link to those days apart.
I unfold our hearts in each envelope. Run my fingers over love infused ink. Try hard not to let pain seep into those ordinary moments.
My attempts to hold back the tears when the sergeant told me that he had just left after we had traveled across town for a brief visit. The Hunter's sweet smile as I wept and hoisted him into his seat.The afternoon the babies wouldn't nap.The way my belly and tired body kept me from caring for them as I so wanted.The daily routine as my parents' house, three adults and two toddlers.A day trip to a craft fair.Little lips ritualistically touching a photo of him.Their small hands on my belly, feeling their sisters' play.
My stomach knots and twists a little as the date draws near on the postage stamp, an expiration date for the mundane. Life apart was hard, but the days were normal. A rhythmic flow gently guided us through the hours. And each movement was a gift, a love letter from Him, ink that leaked into the deepest recesses of our hearts and left its permanent stain.
But, I knew. Twenty-four weeks. My belly was too large. My sides hurt. The babies were slowing down with me. Their dance no longer a frolick but a slow waltz. A sweet little elbow would stay in place when rubbed. A larger bump would roll not bounce.
I bent over the freezer and prayed as my stomach tightened. It was Thanksgiving and my appointment with the new Department of Defense OB-Gyn was the next week. If I could just hold on.
The next night I finally called. She told me to drink orange juice and lay on my left side. It wasn't enough.
For hours in labor and delivery, I laid in bed, the same bed I was in with our first two when they told me I would be whisked away to a larger delivery room, as they stopped my labor. Their heartbeats were stable in spite of their safe cocoon squeezing and shaking uncontrollably from the drugs.
I woke through the hours to a succession of visitors in a chair across the room. My sister with her note cards preparing for exams. My parents, a constant, my rocks. Our friends bringing a book to pass the time. I told my parents not to let him know if he called. I was certain he would leave without authorization. And this was nothing really. It was all under control.
The babies and I were upgraded, sent to a bed in recovery to rest and be monitored. And I slept deeply with His letters echoing in the dreams.
Until a nurse came in to check our vitals.
Read on here