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Darline Valcin, 25, is preparing for the birth of her first child while her husband, Staff Sgt. Joel Valcin, is deployed in Afghanistan.

Darline Valcin, 25, is preparing for the birth of her first child while her husband, Staff Sgt. Joel Valcin, is deployed in Afghanistan. (Russ Rizzo / S&S)

Darline Valcin, 25, is preparing for the birth of her first child while her husband, Staff Sgt. Joel Valcin, is deployed in Afghanistan.

Darline Valcin, 25, is preparing for the birth of her first child while her husband, Staff Sgt. Joel Valcin, is deployed in Afghanistan. (Russ Rizzo / S&S)

Charity Segraves holds her 2-week-old son, Noah. Segraves gave birth to Noah while her husband, Capt. Joshua Segraves, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment.

Charity Segraves holds her 2-week-old son, Noah. Segraves gave birth to Noah while her husband, Capt. Joshua Segraves, was deployed to Afghanistan with the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment. (Russ Rizzo / S&S)

VICENZA, Italy — Like any mother-to-be, Darline Valcin finds herself juggling dozens of new realities as she prepares to bring a child into the world.

There are the plans for the big day: Who will drive her to the hospital? What if the baby comes early? What if she experiences labor complications?

There’s shopping to be done, parenting tips to learn, financial planning to begin. And, of course, the food cravings.

“I find myself really craving Chinese food,” said Valcin, 25.

But unlike most married moms-to-be, Valcin must manage all of this on her own because her husband is deployed.

So while having a first baby is a weighty proposition, Valcin said, doing it alone is downright scary.

“I try not to cry when he calls,” Valcin said about her husband, Staff Sgt. Joel Valcin. “I was in denial until the day that he came to the house and said, ‘I am leaving.’”

Valcin’s husband is part of the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment out of Vicenza that began deploying in February for a year in Afghanistan. Of the 115 wives of soldiers in the battalion, five have given birth since their husbands left and 20 more are pregnant, said Lisa Meyers, who heads the Family Readiness Group for the battalion’s headquarters company.

“There are a lot of ladies out there in the same situation,” said Charity Segraves, who gave birth to her son, Noah, two weeks ago while her husband, Capt. Joshua Segraves, was in Afghanistan with the battalion.

Noah came a week early, forcing Segraves to resort to a back-up plan. Her sister had not arrived in Vicenza, so a friend, Erin O’Conner, stood by Segraves’ side in the hospital. Luckily for Segraves, O’Conner was able to translate at the local Italian hospital, and neighbors were home to watch Segraves’ 2-year-old daughter, Gabriella.

“You’ve got to have a lot of things planned, when you’re overseas, to have a baby,” Segraves said.

Factor in all the paperwork — including getting a Social Security number, an official birth certificate, a permit for the baby to live in the country and a passport — and preparing for a newborn can be daunting.

Valcin expects to give birth in September, which gives her time for planning the big day.

“I never knew it would be this much work,” she said. “I thought it was, bam, get pregnant and it’s over.”

She hopes to return to New York to buy baby clothes and other essentials. Then she will begin formulating her plan for getting through her first labor, alone.


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