WHAT IT IS LIKE TO GIVE BIRTH WHEN YOUR HUSBAND IS DEPLOYED
I first met Blue Star Families(BSF) member Tasha Tomecko when she volunteered on a BSF outreach project. Tasha is married to active-duty Marine Infantry Sergeant Jeffrey Tomecko and is also a veteran herself. They met in training; Tasha is a former Marine who deployed to Iraq in 2009 and was serving in Iraq at a different location from her husband, who was in country at the same time. Tasha is now out of the Marine Corps and is studying to become a nurse while raising her daughter Melanee, 4, and new addition, Liam, one month, while her husband Jeffrey is deployed to Darwin, Australia.
This is her Blue Star Families story:
Tasha, age 25
“Jeffery deployed in April, when I was 7 months pregnant. We were trying to do some natural remedies so he could be present for the birth but I gave birth at 38 weeks, and he left at 35 weeks-so close!”, she says with a laugh.
“My support system, was my best friend Sheena, her husband Theron, and their three kids, who are also a military family. My family is from Minnesota, and Jeffrey’s family is in Ohio, so it was hard to plan airplane tickets not knowing when I would give birth. I was very worried I was going to be alone, I was stressing out, and my husband could only do so much to talk to me through the phone to let me know everything will be OK.”
When asked if she had any Blue Star Neighbors that helped her out in any small way, any friends or neighbors not in the military who made her life a bit easier, she paused hard and racked her brain. “No unfortunately, that would have been great, but I cannot think of anyone. Thankfully though, I was staying with Sheena the night contractions started. Sheena was in the room with me on May 16th at midnight and called my husband on Skype as I gave birth so he could be a part of it. We caught a few moments of him crying, you know with it being his first son and not being able to be there,” she trails off gently.
“I consider them my California family, we stay at Sheena’s house sometimes so we do not feel so alone since the house is so quiet. Melanee, my four year old, is able to play with Sheena’s kids when I need to feed or tend to Liam. Sheena and Theron Hart also help with watching Liam when I need to catch some sleep. Sheena keeps me sane, and time really flies by when I am up visiting them. With the big time difference, we only have a few hours to Skype or text, we also use the free KIK app to communicate. The ability to communicate is not an everyday thing and the quality can vary depending on the day. I send a lot of photos or videos. My husband was very upset when Liam turned one month, because he is growing up so fast and he is not here to see it.”
Melanne, age 4
“Before Liam was here, it hit Melanee pretty hard that daddy was leaving. When he first left on the bus, she was OK, but then it hit her later that afternoon, and she was asking questions why she doesn’t have a dad anymore. I have to reassure her that she does have a daddy and is coming home. She is a really great sister with Liam and always wants to help. Usually before bed I give her a kiss for her daddy and answer questions she might have about daddy. I share the happy side of what he is doing, and tell her that her daddy is playing with Kangaroos (he is stationed in Australia). She is a great older sister, whispering to Liam about their daddy and reassuring him as well. She is very protective; she makes visitors wash their hands before they hold Liam.”
Jeffery, age 25
“Jeffrey is a really good father, even after long days of working. Whenever he was off work, he would surprise us with dinner if I was busy with school, or help with the house work. For Mother’s Day, I wasn’t expecting anything, since I knew he was busy training, but he surprised me with flowers and told me how proud he was and how much he cares. His small gestures of texts and messages of support have really helped the deployment go by faster. Jeffrey is going to be in training on Father’s Day, so I was going to mail him a photo of the kids, and a special hand print craft and video. You cannot really send a lot since he has a small room, so I was thinking of a photo and something to hang above his bed.” Melanee made a video and said, “I love you daddy, I miss you daddy and I can’t wait for you to come home daddy.” It is these small gestures and notes that help us get through this deployment.
If you would like to help people like Tasha and Jeffrey, please sign up and volunteer as a Blue Star Neighbor in your community or make a donation today in honor of Jeffrey and Tasha. Your support will help us strengthen military families and connect America to the military.
As told to Brittany Catton Kirk, Bkirk@bluestarfam.org.