Mom to Eagan Nathaniel
April 30th, 2010-May 3rd 2010
Killeen, TX

My first child was born April 30th, 2010 and died May 3rd, 2010. But before I tell his story I should first tell a little of my story.

My name is Erin, and I am 23 years old. I had my 23rd birthday just about a month after my son passed away, so I was 22 when I found out I was pregnant and throughout the experience.

I enlisted in the US Army February 12th, 2008 at 20 years old, after encouragement from a friend-turned-lover I had known for almost 2 years. He was intent on enlisting since his father was a retired Special Forces medic and he decided that was a life that was interesting to him as well. I had just come out of a very short-lived but emotionally difficult relationship, and my relationship with him was really more of a convenience during my altered mind state. I decided to enlist as well because at the time I had basically nothing else going on in my life and really wasn’t sure where I was going. I thought, hey, what have I got to lose. I get to get into shape, see the world, and get a paycheck and free healthcare while I’m doing it. Little did I know that was the first step to so much heartache. 

The other mistake I made was deciding to marry this friend-turned-lover the day before he left for his basic training. We decided this was what we wanted to do because we were convinced we were in love, and we should get married so that we could be stationed together once we got out of training. I missed him desperately during basic training, but then in AIT my mind and heart began to stray. At the time it was very hard for me, but I realize now it was because we were never really meant to be married, and we had only dated for about 3 months before being separated for several months. It just wasn’t a strong enough relationship to endure.

Fast forward, I got to my first duty station at Ft. Hood, TX in late June. We were together there for about a month before he had to deploy. The plan was that I was to deploy about a month later, and we would be on the said FOB and be able to be together throughout the deployment. That all was upset once I went the SRP process to prepare for deployment, and I was red flagged due to a possible breathing problem because I had had lots of trouble breathing when I ran in AIT. I spent 6 months on the rear detachment before it was decided that I didn’t have anything wrong with me, I was just out of shape. This, of course, was frustrating because when they decided this I hadn’t been running for 6 months. So in February 2009 I deployed to Afghanistan for a duration of about 5 months. During the time I was still stateside I had completely strayed and we decided that we were going to get divorced.
Fast forward again, it was after deployment and the estranged husband and I were on decent terms for the time being. We still hadn’t started the divorce process because of the deployment, so I was constantly on guard because of the Army’s policies on infidelity, even if the situation is taken care of internally. 

During this time I had very few relationships and far too many flings. I was destroying myself internally with the guilt of my failed marriage, and had basically no self worth. I was drinking a lot with my “friends,” several of which I was sleeping with on the side. To some extent it was fun to just be living in the moment, but on the other side I was very depressed because no matter how much I wanted to stop, I continued to give into my impulsive nature. Soon I was no longer drinking for fun all the time, often it was just to try and forget how much I hated what I had become. I had also pretty much decided there was something wrong with me fertility-wise, because I wasn’t really as careful as I should’ve been with so many partners, and had never turned up pregnant like I was afraid of.

That is, until September 2009.

Of course the initial problem with this is, who is the father? Luckily (if you can call it luck) I had only been with two men that month, so at least it was less difficult than it could’ve been at another time. To this day I’m still not sure beyond a shadow of a doubt. I’ve told one of them that he was the father, but now that I know more about pregnancy and fertility I’m really not sure anymore.

I was so convinced I couldn’t get pregnant, that I didn’t notice when my period was a week late. I hadn’t really been tracking it well, although it turned out that I had actually noted my last period on the calendar, and I hadn’t done that in months. Strange how things happen that way. Eventually I started to notice that I was more bloated than usual, and thought that I was just putting on a few pounds. I kept joking with my friends that I thought I was pregnant because of my poochy belly, and then laughed about it while we were out drinking, and I was smoking a lot as well. 

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