“The Needs of the Navy—and Our Family,” Ensign, June 2019
Family planning is probably not easy for most couples. There are always a thousand things to consider and a million things going on in life. Even when you think you have a good plan, one little thing can come along and derail the whole thing.
We are a military family. I am in the U.S. Navy, and everything we do is based on the “needs of the Navy.” We go where the Navy tells us to go when they tell us to go there. About two years ago, my wife, Shanna, and I had our first daughter, Isabelle. While that was a big change, since I was still in flight school, our lives were relatively stable. About a year after Isabelle was born, we felt like it was time to try for another child. I would soon be finishing up flight school and assigned to my first squadron.
We then found out that I would be deployed immediately for about seven months. So we came up with the perfect plan. I would deploy and then we would try and get pregnant as soon as I got back. That would give us the spacing we wanted between our kids, plus there was a very good chance that I would be home for a while. We prayed about it and felt that this was the direction we should take.
One Monday morning I found out that the “needs of the Navy” had changed and I would be going to another squadron, traveling almost constantly for about a year and then going on deployment for another seven months after that. Our plans had changed just like that, and we didn’t know what to do. Shanna still thought that what we had planned would still be the best for us, but I kept telling her that it wouldn’t work with my schedule. We would have to wait until I returned from the deployment, and our children would be much farther apart than we had wanted.
Luckily Shanna trusted that everything would work out if we just showed a little faith. I told her I was fine with that, but I made sure she knew that if we decided to get pregnant as planned, I would be on deployment shortly after, and she would have to have the baby without me. Not only that, but I wouldn’t be around this time to help out with Isabelle. I knew that my wife was tough, but I had no idea just how tough.
We decided to move forward with our plan, and we were blessed to become pregnant quickly. I was gone for at least six months of Shanna’s pregnancy. When she was seven months pregnant, I left on deployment, not expecting to come back until the baby was five or six months old.
One day near Shanna’s due date, I was scheduled for an early morning flight that ended up being canceled, so I went back to bed. A few hours later, my commanding officer (CO) called me to report to his office right away. When I got there, he showed me an email from Shanna saying she was in labor and going to the hospital. Luckily Shanna had the good sense to email both him and me because he gets emails faster than I do. The officer told me I could use his phone, and I was able to be on the phone with Shanna during the labor process, which was much faster and smoother with this baby than with Isabelle. Shanna handled it like a champion, alone and unafraid in the delivery room. Alexis was born without any issues. If my flight hadn’t been cancelled or Shanna hadn’t emailed my CO, I would’ve missed the whole thing and not been able to hear Alexis’s first cries.
We soon found out that I would be coming home for a few weeks on leave. Both of us were thrilled that I got to meet Alexis so much earlier than we expected. It was incredible getting off the airplane and seeing that my family had grown.
Shanna and I both learned an invaluable lesson about faith and putting things in the Lord’s hands. We came up with a plan that we felt would work best for our family and our situation. Things changed that we had no control over, but Shanna taught me that if we feel the confirmation of the Holy Ghost that a plan is right, we should stick with it. All we have to do is come up with a plan with the Lord and show a little faith. It didn’t turn out exactly how we expected, but the Lord made it work by providing many “tender mercies” along the way (see 1 Nephi 1:20).