Andrea Schrumpf Duhon was seven months pregnant with her first child when her husband, Hank, an E-3 in the U.S. Navy, found out he would deploy.
"It was the most inopportune moment," Andrea said.
Hank described the news as "horrible."
"I begged and pleaded to try to stay behind to see my first child's birth but they said I couldn't stay behind. That only happens when it's so close to the deployment," Hank said.
Hank, a gas turbine system electrician, deployed on a peace-keeping tour and served eight months in waters around the world in support of anti-drug trafficking and anti-terrorist missions.
Hank, from Kaplan, and Andrea, from Sulphur, married after meeting at McNeese State University.
Hank was aboard the ship when the couple welcomed their daughter, Jacelyn Abrielle, or "Jaci," into the world on April 10.
Andrea flooded Hank with messages that day. Skype was not available, so Hank stayed close to his phone and computer as much as he could.
"She was texting me. One was ‘the doctor just came in and it should be soon.' I had to leave for a meeting ... I was gone like 10 minutes and when I came back, she was born," Hank recalled.
In the weeks that followed, Hank got to speak to Jacelyn on the telephone. Andrea would put the phone on speaker so that Jacelyn could hear her father's voice.
On Nov. 4, Hank got to meet Jacelyn, now seven months old, for the first time.
"When they met, she looked a little bewildered until Hank started talking. When she heard his voice, she smiled and put her hand on his shoulder. I felt like she recognized his voice," Andrea said.
Hank said meeting his daughter for the first time was "incredible."
"It was fun, it really was," Hank said. "And she loves her daddy already. It took less than 24 hours."
Back home, Andrea said she kept a "countdown calendar," marking the days that she would see Hank again.
"It was almost surreal when he actually did come home," she said of the reunion. "It's great to actually now have a family. Together."
Andrea, Hank and Jacelyn are enjoying some family time together before Hank returns to duty later this month.
Andrea made a YouTube video chronicling Hank's return. You can view that HERE.
In the video, Andrea does her own vocals -- and spin -- on Carly Rae Jepsen's hit song, "Call Me Maybe." Already, the video, "Call Me Jaci," has received nearly 7,000 views.
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