• October 2, 2014

U.S. Army helps ease expansion of family

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Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 4:30 am

Back in September when my wife told me she was pregnant, it was the happiest and most horrifying day of my life.

I’ve always wanted kids, and we were trying, but the reality of it is so harrowing, there is simply no way to prepare for it. Within that first week, I was asking myself how I will tell my child about the birds and the bees, what I will do if they get in a fight, how I will react to them drinking under age. You know, all the major issues that a newborn requires.

My wife is a captain in the Army. She works long hours, leaving post well after the duty day ends, which means I will be the primary caretaker while she is the primary earner. I had never planned on that before. I always thought I would be the one bringing home the bacon, and I would come home every evening to Christina Applegate, cooking, wearing nothing but her apron, and my two well-behaved sons would be there waiting for me, possibly pressing their suits.

But, no, now I will be the one cooking (hopefully clothed) and my wife will be the one coming home at night. This took me awhile to come to terms with.

Cost a concern

Then the biggest factor dawned on me: How much is this going to cost?

Shortly after one of the many early doctor visits, I started to realize how much the Army was helping us with the cost factor. I have not gone with my wife to every doctor’s appointment, but I have gone to at least six so far and she has gone to another six.

If we were still in Seattle, we would be going under my insurance, and paying my co-pay for every single visit. Not so in the Army.

‘A blessing’

Every visit has been cost free, and it has been a blessing. Every visit is with a member of her maternity “team,” a group of doctors, nurses and midwives who will know her well by the time our baby is due, and one of them will be there to deliver the baby when the time comes.

We have gotten to know our maternity team quite well at this point, and they have yet to laugh at me whenever I ask a stupid question. And believe me, I’m full of those.

Even better than the easy doctor’s visits are the classes my wife takes every week. Since she is in the Army, she still does morning physical fitness, albeit in a special pregnancy class on post. Once every week, they sit down and have a class on how to care for a newborn and other topics, such as how to install car seats.

My wife has far more experience with this sort of thing — having helped raise her niece. I don’t go to the classes, but I read the informational materials they send home and have learned a great deal.

Things would be easier if we were closer to our folks for support and guidance. But so far, for the most part, this pregnancy process has been going smoothly, and it has been that way because of the Army. There are some things my wife and I don’t like about being in the Army, but the way this process is going is definitely one of the things we like a great deal.

The only remaining task is to convince my wife that naming the baby Sterling Archer Murray is a good idea. If she doesn’t like it, we can always call him Sam.

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