Dan likes to say that life recently has been coming “hard and fast”. I say it’s a rollercoaster. Moving from one plan to another, spinning 180 degrees with each shift, we both agree that it is a bittersweet combo of exciting, frightening, challenging, and yes, rewarding. A week away from our first anniversary, I couldn’t imagine sharing my life with anyone other than this incredibly driven and loving man.
We’re nearing the end of Dan’s training at The Basic School in Quantico, Virginia and Dan has been assigned his “MOS” (essentially his “job” in the Marine Corps), which will be as a Signals Intelligence Officer. Shortly after learning the exciting news, Dan learned of his orders: those illusive mandates which I understand we will become increasingly familiar. Dan is to “detach” from his command here in Quantico mid-September, and report to sunny Camp Pendleton, California mid-October. Heading “home” to Southern California was our first choice for duty station, and the thought of likely staying there for about three years sounds golden. Of course, in that time Dan will have training, and deployments, but it gives us a new place to call home and raise our little family.
Still, there remained one precious, adorable little hiccup: Wally’s due date of October 15. In the past week we have considered options to deliver Walter at four different hospitals, in four different states, and four different Fetal Heart Programs (who will ultimately perform Walter’s surgery). We’ve considered requesting to stay in Quantico longer, or have me stay with Wally in Virginia, and Dan report to Pendleton. We’ve weighed the options of traveling cross country with two week old newborn; whether to fly or to drive; store, ship, or drive our car; all while trying to limit our time apart and make the best medical decision for Walter. (Oh, and don’t forget managing our little kitty, Sophia, as well). If there is some complex mathematical permutation to calculate the number of options we considered, I haven’t yet figured it out.
Ultimately we arrived at one conclusion, which allows us the “smoothest” transition, most consistent care, and puts us in the best position to handle any complications Wally may have after birth or down the road: MOVE NOW. In about two weeks, I’ll be headed out to Southern California just shy of 36 weeks pregnant. A week later, Dan will follow – making the cross country drive – and reminding Walter that he’s simply not allowed to make an early arrival before Dad can step foot on California soil. In the meantime, I am busy coordinating our move and transferring my care to an OB, Perinatologist, and Fetal Heart Program, in SoCal. We’ve secured a house on base in Camp Pendleton; but to facilitate the moving process in the interim, we’ll be spending some time with my parents nearing Wally’s arrival. Many moving parts now, means a settled and consistent environment for Walter later.
In many ways, life seems to have come full circle. Dan and I were both born in California, and Walter will begin his own little life at the same hospital where my parents met, and I was born (Huntington Memorial, Pasadena). We’ve enjoyed Quantico, and it pains us in many ways to leave what we have here. We’ll have to say goodbye to Dan’s sister and her husband (along with the chance to see our niece/nephew as a newborn), and pack up our happy apartment which we’ve made home. Wally will never know his first nursery – but I am determined to recreate it in our new house. Still we’re eager to begin our next adventure, in a new home, in a familiar place, and especially near Walter’s “Granny and Grandpa”!