Military dad arrives from Afghanistan for daughter's imminent birth
By Candace Sipos -- firstname.lastname@example.org
WINCHESTER -- This Christmas will be special for Kurt Kobernik, mostly because it might be his first daughter's birthday.
He sat in his home Monday surrounded by pink baby essentials and his wife, Porter, who is nine months pregnant but all smiles because her husband is finally home. Kobernik, a major in the Virginia National Guard, was originally scheduled to be away until May, but a series of events brought him home from Afghanistan early.
First, the pending conclusion to the Iraqi War shortened the trip by a few months.
Second, Porter's doctor informed her that she should bring her husband home as soon as possible, partly because her Type I diabetes caused accelerated growth of the baby, who is already approaching 8 pounds.
The couple found out about a week before Kobernik's departure that they were expecting.
"It wasn't an easy transition, that's for sure," Kobernik said.
Kobernik has only seen sonogram pictures of his unborn daughter, Lokelani Rose. He will see the procedure in person on Thursday and maybe meet his daughter in person by Christmas.
"We're going to have a Christmas baby," Mrs. Kobernik said to her husband Monday, sitting as close as possible to him on their couch, hand-in-hand.
Much like her husband's work schedule, the baby's due date has been unpredictable.
Originally, it was Jan. 16 but, "now, [the doctor] doesn't know whether the baby will last another week," Mrs. Kobernik said.
Although her husband has been away from her for almost a year and a half throughout their four-year relationship, she only had positive remarks to say about her situation.
"I think this whole time we kind of thought that we were really lucky, because it's much better for him to be gone while I was pregnant," she said. "... He could be leaving now. That would be worse."
Mrs. Kobernik's family and friends have helped her in her husband's absence, and she has been able to talk to him on Skype at least once per day.
"I think in a way, it kind of made [the deployment] easier," she said. "It gave us something happy to look forward to. ... We've made it through the hardest part."
As for Kobernik, he said he definitely has a new outlook on his job now. He has missed about four Christmases overseas, but he wouldn't have missed this one.
"Before we got married and before we had the baby, I didn't really think twice about deployment," he said. "Now, it's more, 'Yeah, I'm going to deploy because I'm a soldier and that's what I'm supposed to do,' but your mind's always back home. ... You definitely have greater ties to home when you're married and there's a baby on the way."
After his 15-day leave, which he would extend if the baby has not been born yet, Kobernik will head to Mississippi for his out-processing, which will take five to 14 days.
Then, he'll be back in Virginia with his newborn daughter.