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The MilFam Diaries: Chronicles of a New(ish) MilSpouse Pt. 1

Hi, again. It’s me, Shannon.

After a two-year hiatus, I’m bringing back the blog. For those of you who may be new to reading, welcome! To catch you up: A few years ago, I shared my experience as a new military spouse. I documented my life leading up to that point, my wedding, my first PCS (overseas), the trials and tribulations of being overseas, my mixed emotions when we got orders back to the States, and everything that happened in between.

When I returned to D.C., life got crazy, and I fell behind — very behind — in my blog. Though it’s been a while, writing about my experiences is a cathartic exercise, so I wanted to get back to it. I hope you enjoy the glimpse into my personal life — and there are quite a few updates to share. What I share is personal, it’s raw, and it’s my own. I hope reading my story helps you appreciate yours.

Before I start, you might be wondering what these stories have to do with being a military family. They have as much to do with being a military family as they do with being a family, period. I believe the commonalities between military and civilian families dramatically outnumber the differences.

Where to begin …

Well, I had a baby. In June my husband, Aleksei, and I welcomed our baby girl, Sophia, into the world. What a rollercoaster of an experience that was! I had a difficult pregnancy. (Not the worst. I’ve heard many stories that sound more awful than my own, but it was pretty tough. I was very sick for about the first 18 weeks.) The holidays were less merry than normal. (Sipping ginger ale might look like champagne, but — trust me — it’s a lot less fun!) I had all-day sickness, and dry heaving was part of my daily agenda.

An aside: If this is too much information (er, TMI), I can’t say I’m sorry. As a new parent, I’ve learned there is no such thing as TMI. My girlfriends and I talk about poop consistency and exchange pictures of baby spit up with questions like “Is this spit up or vomit?” on a regular basis. There is no such thing as TMI anymore. Period.

But back to the pregnancy! Once I got through the “morning” (read: all day) sickness phase, I was told I had polyhydramnios, which is a fancy medical term for too much amniotic fluid. This posed a risk to the baby, and I was required to go to the hospital for nonstress tests twice a week. During one of those tests, my blood pressure jumped. And, just like that, I was off to the Labor and Delivery ward.

Side note: I had fantastic medical care throughout my pregnancy. I chose to enroll in TRICARE Prime and opted to participate in Johns Hopkins’ TRICARE partnership. I never had a co-pay, and everything was covered. I am incredibly grateful for that. The one downside is the lack of pharmacy options. But that’s another story …