Vicky

Vicky Hartzler works for defense contractors, not Missouri

Lindsey Simmons

Lindsey Simmons

Facebook/Lindsey Simmons

I counted the doctor’s footsteps as she left the room, gauging how much time I had before she returned. My sweaty fingers pulled out my cellphone and I quickly tried to take video of the room and my growing pregnant belly — but I miscalculated. My doctor stepped back inside. I felt my face grow red.

“I’m alone,” my voice cracked as my doctor sat down and held my free hand. “I’m alone. My husband is deployed — I just don’t want him to miss any of this. He won’t return until our baby is born.”

Without missing a beat, she grabbed my phone, turned the ultrasound back on and helped me record a video of my baby sucking his thumb, growing big and strong. I sent it to my husband immediately.

There is nothing easy about being a military family. It certainly is not easy for the service member, but the toll it takes on the spouses and children left at home wafts into conversation as whispers that are soon forgotten.

During my sixth month of pregnancy, my husband was sent to a forward location in Syria, where it was difficult to maintain a regular supply chain. He relied upon the assistance of local Kurdish allies for necessities such as food. Not long after, pro-Syria militants, including Russian mercenaries, attacked American soldiers in the region, including my husband’s unit. It was the deadliest battle in Syria at the time. No American lives were lost, but hundreds of pro-Syrian fighters were killed.

Because of the strength of the U.S.-Kurdish alliance, my husband returned home safely — and earlier than expected, just in time for the birth of our son, Jace.

Not long after my husband’s return, we watched the president of the United States not only

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