my first trimester, long-distance: 40 seconds of skype snapshots

During the second half of A.’s deployment to Afghanistan after our two-week trip to Tanzania, we found out that I was pregnant. It was emotionally taxing to be apart from each other during such an intense discovery, but we relied on email, phone calls and two-hour Skype sessions to feel connected. At one point I told A. that I was tearing up all of the time, and he said he was, too.

On Friday evening, April 1, I took an EPT test after A. and I signed on to Skype. I ran to the bathroom and returned with the stick and together we watched the vertical line appear. A. cheered and high-fived the screen. I laughed, stunned. And then we stared at each other lovingly — I loved that I could look into his eyes during such an important time for us even though he was so far away. (I wrote about our story for NPR.org, you can read it here).

The following Monday, I had an early morning appointment with my gynecologist to confirm my pregnancy. Since I was already six weeks along, the doctor suggested we do an ultrasound. I hopped on the table and shortly thereafter I saw the baby’s heartbeat. I couldn’t believe a heartbeat had formed that quickly. And I was deeply sad A. wasn’t there to see it.

A week later, at my doctor’s suggestion, we did another ultrasound for A. My doctor came in early and didn’t charge my insurance for the test. I brought my laptop and connected to Skype from the ultrasound room. A. was in his bare-bones office at Bagram with a few of his coworkers. He had on his headset and smiled at the computer. “Hi doc!” he said. I laid back on the table and a technician held up the computer to the machine and I could hear A. say, “I see it! Wow!” He sent me an email immediately after we hung up that said, “That was AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

During those two-and-a-half months, A. figured out how to take stills of our Skype chats. He also had the ultrasound photos from 6 weeks (the first ultrasound), 7 weeks and 12 weeks. He came home when I was 16 weeks along.

So in his last few days at Bagram, A. put together this video. I couldn’t share it this summer because we still had to tell a lot of people (including A.’s family) our news.

The video sums up my first trimester. I didn’t take many pictures in those three months, so I’m glad we at least have this (though I wish he was in it). In general, I was nauseous and exhausted and overwhelmed with hormones. But when I knew I’d get to see A., even if it was only on the computer, I was giddy and goofy. (Excuse the cleavage, that’s a new thing for me — hormones!)

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