Yesterday was filled with all sorts of emotions. Usually, when drill comes along, I can put on a "happy face" and get through the two days. I had accomplished this on Saturday. However, standing in line for my weigh in on Sunday, our new First Seargent walked by and asked how the weigh in was going. I said, "Well, this is the first month I can't claim post-partum as an excuse," and laughed uncomfortably. I figured since I had asked for the command to be informed about my loss, not for sympathy, but so they may be a little more understanding, I just assumed that he already knew.
Well, you know what they say when you assume..."You make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'." Boy did I!
He looked at me with a smile on his face and said, "Well, congratulations! Did you have a girl or a boy?"
I know it was not his fault. I know he didn't know, but tears started welling up in my eyes, and I responded, "No First Sergent, we lost my daughter Rosalynn around 35 weeks."
The look on his face was of pure guilt and horror. He told me to walk with him and explain my story. So I did, and he informed me that his family has gone through a similar loss, and he knows the feelings and pain. He said that he was truly sorry and if there was anything he could do, to let him know. I mentioned the botched paperwork for my discharge and how I was in process of trying to get policies to reflect more of the active duty regulations in regards to stillbirth, "Well, we can take a look at those papers and see if we can still get you out of here if that is what you want."
I didn't know how to react to this. For 9 months all I have been told is "No". I have been told that there was no way I could get out, no matter what my papers said, or who made the mistakes. How can one man be so confident that he can change that?!?! I instantaneously liked this man. Not because he can get me out, but because he said that he would do whatever he could to help! That is the first time in nine months I had heard those words from someone other than my immediate NCO channel. They have all cared and tried, but when it got to a certain level, no one seemed to care.
Now, I must admit, after seething for so long, I have come to the realization that getting "out" is not necessarily what I want. I am not a quitter, and I have a contract to uphold. As the pain is getting easier to bear from losing Rosie, I feel more and more like a soldier. Now, this is not to say I am in any way mentally or emotionally ready to deploy. I am not at any point where I can be relied on to save a life or be under high amounts of stress. This is another reason I think the Regular Active Duty Army has their stuff together. Their policy would allow a soldier to return to duty after 18-24 months of the loss. This gives them time to grieve and get back into shape emotionally AND physically.
I went back to the bathroom to resume my weigh-in, and tears were just streaming. You fellow baby loss moms are farmiliar with the fact that once it starts, once a trigger has caused the flood gates to open, it is almost impossible to stop them, and the rest of the day is a struggle!
About 2 hours later, First Sergeant stood in front of all of us and started calling out the names of the Forward attachment, those soldiers that would be going overseas. I was nervous, my hands started sweating, my legs started to go numb as I sat there in the classroom just waiting for my name to be called. I felt the tears starting again, and I felt as if I was going to pass out. As I heard each name called and each person stand up to file downstairs for their initial briefing, I just knew it was a matter of time before they called my name, and I was terrified that I would collapse when I heard it. On Friday I had noticed that my medical status had gone back to "Green" on my online account. I figured since the pregnancy was all cleared, that there was no reason for me to be in the red any more.
More and more names were called, and then he stopped, glanced through his list one more time, and then said, "Well, that is it. The rest of you are on the rear detachment. This will not change unless YOU want it to. If you get your issues cleared up in time, then we can get you put on the forward, however, as of right now, this is how it stands. Does anyone have a question to why they are on the rear?"
I know I had a look of confusion in my eyes, but I was not going to raise my hand, because I didn't want my reason to be announced in front of everyone since I didn't know what the reason was myself. However, my startled look did not go unnoticed, and after First Sergeant was done, one of the Lieutenants called me over. She and I have been friends for a while. We went to ROTC together, she lived with me for a couple months, and we have remained close (outside of uniform of course). Of everyone in my unit, she probably knows me better than anyone. She pulled me aside and asked me if I knew why this happened. I admitted that I didn't and she explained, "Major **** (my old commander) entered into the system that you were suffering from Postpartum Depression, and that it was neither in your best interest or the units best interest to have you accompany us. We want to make sure that you are ok and that you are taken care of. This is not something you should have to be worrying about so soon after your loss."
I was stunned, relieved, and a little embarrassed. I started crying again. LT's eyes started getting red as it seemed like she was holding back tears, "Are those tears of relief?" she asked.
"I think so," I said, with a small chuckle. "I had no idea," I said, "I have been in this awful place of the unknown for the past 5 months. Anxiety and depression have been my biggest enemies since finding out about this deployment, and now I can relax. However, is it natural to feel a little guilty at the same time?"
My feelings of guilt stemmed from the fact that someone else has to go in my place. Someone else has to leave their family and friends and put themselves in harm's way. What if something happens to that person? I know I will never know the exact person who took my place, however, I will always wonder. I just pray every single person comes back safe and sound!
It is so weird how the emotions are different than last deployment. I was put on the rear for our tour to Iraq because I was pregnant. I was originally on the forward, but 2 months later got that positive pregnancy test. I was devastated. I wanted to go, and instead of guilt and relief, there was only disappointment and anger. Well, 3 months before the deployment, it was canceled. So, there is a lot that can happen in the next months, but regardless, I will be home safe to focus on the rest of my journey through grieving and healing. Thank you all for your prayers and support, and I ask for you to continue to pray for the men and women of my unit that will be risking their lives. I know that if I remain in, that my time will eventually come, and I know at that point, I will be ready to go and make everyone proud.
Well Here's a Huge Update
2 months ago