How We Stay Connected During Deployment

How do you stay connected to your husband when he is thousands of miles away, for six to eight months (shorter for the Air Force, longer for the Army)?

My hubby, B, is a Marine. He was deployed soon after we found out I was pregnant with our daughter.

We were told the squadron would have internet access in their cans (rooms), but I wasn’t overly optimistic. My pessimism actually paid off because the internet signal was just strong enough that we could Facebook chat a few times a week, but weak enough to make me want to murder the inventor of Skype for teasing me with a brief and pixelated view of my hubby’s face before disconnecting.

Within days of his arrival to the country he’d be living in, I began emailing B at least once a day. Due to the nature of B’s job, I could be guaranteed he would have daily access to his work email. My emails to him became my deployment journal. Everything that happened was documented. Even on the most boring of days, an email was sent because to the deployed Marine/soldier/sailor/airman, every glimpse into home life is a coveted treasure.

I wrote a weekly belly update and included facts about our growing baby that I gleaned from Baby Center. Because we couldn’t verbally talk, we had very few disagreements. We both quickly came to realize how precious our time together was and that it wasn’t worth wasting on negative feelings.

We picked out baby names, nursery furniture, made financial decisions and celebrated birthdays and our anniversary— all via email.

Pictures and packages were the other ways we stayed connected.

I would always send weekly belly pictures to B’s personal email, as well as pictures of our dog and any fun things I did during the week. But the belly pictures were the most important for him to feel connected during my pregnancy.

Some of my friends would go all out and decorate the inside of the care packages with letters and pictures. Knowing that would be wasted on my husband, I stuck with sending him plain boxes filled with his favorite junk food (service members are often unable to buy things like chips, certain sodas and candy).

My OB knew my husband was deployed, so she would have the ultrasound tech send me home with extra pictures to include in the care packages. B said he treasured those ultrasound pictures and was so proud to tape them to his desk.

Of course, there were many things B missed out on that couldn’t be done over the internet: Holding my hand when we found out our little baby was a girl, being together when we told our parents we were having a girl, feeling Elizabeth’s first kick and being able to come to my ultrasound appointments. Those were hard times. Our hearts broke over B missing those milestones, though truthfully I think it was tougher on him.

Technology did come through for us when we found out our baby’s gender, though. We were able to talk via an audio-only Skype call and my husband got to hear the ultrasound tech say, “It’s a girl!” The audio quality was awful, but I could hear the emotion in his voice when he repeated the tech’s words. It was a moment we will never forget.

As far as feeling Elizabeth kick, our baby girl more than made it up to her daddy on the evening he came home from his deployment. She was a kicking machine and B kept his hand on my stomach the entire drive home. At 34 weeks he finally got to feel his daughter move for the first time.

13 Responses to How We Stay Connected During Deployment

  1. My husband is a Marine as well. It’s really important to stay connected. Back when we first started dating, they didn’t have all the easy technology they do now like Skype. It really is awesome they have these things for people to stay connected!

  2. Thank God for technology. What a nice article, and positive attitude about dealing with deployment.

  3. Thank you for your service:) Yes, Skyping with hubby is so hard! I don’t get to see my soldier’s face near as often as I would like.

  4. My husband was in the Navy for quite a few years. I just gotta say how jealous I am of how much technology has advanced and how much communication you’re allowed with your spouse now days. When we first started dating, the technology wasn’t there yet and I had to send snail mail to him. Email was sporadic and there wasn’t even Skype yet! So glad he’s back home safe from deployment. Thank you both for your service. Yes, you too since being a wife to a military man does take commitment and sacrifices on your part too.

    • I can’t even fathom only being able to communicate via pen and paper for months and months on end, you’re a rockstar!! It’s such a blessing to have the technology that we do, that’s for sure!

  5. I couldn’t imagine how hard it is having a husband who’s deployed. It takes a strong woman to keep a family together and especially in a situation like that.

  6. Elizabeth Nakamoto Reply

    We stayed connected during a 15 month deployment by having an understanding of each others schedules. We were both busy during deployment weren’t sitting around waiting for the next call or email and understood that life had to continue. I had pictures of our new baby girl in her nursery and took pictures of her to send him. I made a video every single month to send him so he could get up with our daughters growth. We also appreciated the time that we got to spend together for rnr and on the phone.

  7. My husband serves overseas most of the year and I wouldn’t know what to do without the internet and skype!

  8. This was super touching to read! I’m happy for you that he’s home now and will (hopefully I’m assuming) be there for her birth! Lifting you up for being such a strong wife and mama and loving your hubby so well even when he isn’t right by you!

  9. What a bittersweet story! Being a Army wife I can totally relate with you. My husband was gone for my 2nd and 3rd trimester with 3 of our girls. They are 3,1 and a newborn. He was home for their births however I also went through the gender reveal via technology.. Totally agree with you about Skype! Glad he’s home! God bless :)

  10. I have so much respect for military families. Thank you both for your sacrifice and service!

  11. This really resonated with me as a fellow military spouse. My husband deployed two weeks before our daughter’s birth, and it was an incredibly tough time but also taught us so much about truly appreciating each other and family! Thank you so much for sharing!

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