Anne Spillane, 33, is an Army physician.
My dad took this photo at my home in Columbia, Md., the day I left for my first deployment to Afghanistan. It was right before July 4, 2013. That day stood out because three years before, I had premature quadruplets. They came at 24 weeks and needed feeding tubes, home oxygen, repeat hospitalizations, surgeries and more to survive. One of them, my son Wyatt, had cerebral palsy. I was doing my residency, and I took a yearlong leave of absence to focus on my family.
Those experiences were incredibly difficult. But they were also important, because they helped me relate to the medical circumstances of families in Afghanistan. I was able to assist other moms in similar situations who didn’t have access to quality medical care.
When I deployed, my children were learning to walk, to run, to eat by mouth. When I came home, they were putting sentences together and running to hug me. They continue to have medical issues, but nobody is on home oxygen anymore. We’re tremendously blessed.
—as told to Olivia B. Waxman