Thanks to the power of technology a deployed soldier didn’t have to miss his son’s birth, even from thousands of miles away.
When Lori Nunnelley’s husband, Andy, was activated for the Army National Guard she knew it was a possibility he would miss important family events. Pregnant with the couple’s third child, she thought even though he would be gone for most of the pregnancy, he may make it home in time for the baby’s arrival. When they realized that wouldn’t be possible, Lori came up with an alternative plan to have Andy by her side.
“It’s the Army,” she says pointedly. “There were times where he said he was going to be able to come home and then other times he told me it wasn’t going to happen. It was an emotional rollercoaster. When he said it was a no-go, I cried a lot. But then I put on my big girl panties and accepted it.”
Coming up with plan B
She planned an elective induction with her team of doctors so that Andy could watch over video chat. On the other side of the world – in between sweeping for IEDs – her husband coordinated a plan with his command to make sure he had some time to sit in on the birth. In the wee hours December 17th, Lori walked into the hospital ready to birth their first son while Andy watched over Skype.
Noah Nunnelley was born at 12:09 pm. Andy was able to watch the entire event while Lori’s family, friends and birth photographer were present. Emotions were all-over the place, Lori says.
“I was so ecstatic Noah was here, but I was so sad that Andy wasn’t there to experience the birth of his son and we couldn’t be together as a family,” she said.
As an Army National Guard family, the couple works to balance the unique stressors of a family straddling life between military and civilian obligations. Lori says she is grateful to have a support network in Kansas through times like these.
“I was taking care of two toddlers and working full-time [but] thank God for family and friends [who were able to help].”
Earlier this month, Andy returned from deployment and got to meet Noah in person for the first time. Even though it was hard on the family to have a husband and father miss out on so many important milestones, Lori says she is ready to start this new chapter in their lives.
“There are times when I get so mad that I did get robbed of my husband missing everything, but I’m blessed that he got to come home after a long deployment and start our new journey as a family of five,” she added.
Advances in technology have empowered military families to make great strides in communication when faced with the ongoing separations of training and deployment. Nothing can ever replace the empty seat at the table, but it can provide some comfort that service members can still be a part of day-to-day life even when stationed in places that seem a world away.
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