USO, Heidi Murkoff make a ‘special delivery’ at Schofield

| September 1, 2017 | 0 Comments

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Author Heidi Murkoff holds Kayden, son of Mercedes Scheuerman (left), during the Special Delivery baby shower at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here, Monday. More than 100 expectant and new mothers registered for the baby shower, hosted by the USO and the What to Expect Foundation. A new USO Center is planned to be opened at the installation by early November. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Story and photos by
Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Heidi Murkoff’s baby shower rules are as follows: There are no inappropriate questions. She will touch bellies. She will hold babies. And no one leaves without a photo, a book and a hug.

Expectant mothers of various branches attended Schofield Barracks’ first-ever Special Delivery baby shower at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here, Monday.

Attendees played games, entered a raffle and asked Murkoff questions over lunch. Each mother received a gift bag of infant items and a copy of one of three What to Expect books. Murkoff posed for photos and signed the books, too.

Heidi Murkoff, the author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting, signs a book and chats with Rose Cooper, holding her daughter, Mia Rose, during the Special Delivery baby shower at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Monday. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

“It was a drive, but it was worth it for me,” said Jordan Milazzo, a Marine Corps spouse.

Milazzo said there aren’t as many pregnant women on the windward side, and she had a blast at the shower.

USO event
USO Hawaii and the What to Expect Foundation hosted the shower. Featured at the event was Heidi Murkoff, the author of the pregnancy guide What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

Murkoff has partnered with the USO since 2013, visiting expecting parents worldwide, whether in Cleveland or in Somalia. This year she is visiting more than 30 locations.

“It’s been incredible; we enjoy it so much,” she said of the USO visits. “I ‘collect’ moms wherever I go.”

Murkoff said she keeps in touch with mothers from each of her visits, sometimes even reuniting with some at different duty stations. She has had memorable moments from her visits, such as one attendee going into labor during an Okinawa shower.

Attendees check in for the Special Delivery baby shower at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, Aug. 28, 2017. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

Another mother, she recalled, at Fort Drum, asked if she would sign an outdated copy of her book. When Murkoff offered the newer edition, the mother explained she and her husband found that copy together at a thrift store, and he took it with him while deployed.

“Moms, no matter what their socioeconomic, religious, racial, cultural, political, geographic profile are essentially sisters,” Murkoff said. “We share an emotional bond that connects us to women who under other circumstances we never would have connected with.”

Juliet Bucayu-Domingo, the USO Hawaii area director, said the shower is a precursor to a new USO center scheduled to open on Schofield Barracks in early November.

Judy Fernaays, for USO Hawaii volunteer, escorts Spc. Ashley Opstelten, a military working dog handler with 520th Military Working Dog Detachment, to her table during the Special Delivery baby shower at the Nehelani Banquet and Conference Center, here, Monday. (U.S. Army photo by Kristen Wong, Oahu Publications)

“We thought it would be a wonderful way to introduce ourselves to the military community here,” said Alexandra Volp, the USO senior programs manager.

Attendee Rose Cooper, a former Soldier, was deployed to Kandahar, Afghanistan, just six months after giving birth to her first child. Cooper participated in United Through Reading, hosted by USO Kandahar, while deployed.

“It was extremely hard,” she said. “Thankfully, we had the USO out there.”

Sgt. Nikeya Grant, an analyst with the 715th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, said she was thankful for the event, and to meet Murkoff in person was pretty cool. Despite being a USO volunteer for years, Grant had not heard of the shower until now.

“This is fun,” said Capt. Jimmie Hyatt, Fox Company commander, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. “They should do more of this.”

Hyatt and his wife, Sarah, who is pregnant with their first child, happened to see “a bunch of pregnant ladies walking in” to the Nehelani, and scored a seat at the shower.

Air Force spouse Carla Williams, on her second pregnancy, said being able to mingle with other moms at the event was awesome.

“Not everybody has the opportunity to speak to other moms, especially if you’re new to the island,” she said.

Murkoff first published What to Expect When You’re Expecting in 1984. She wrote the book while pregnant with her first child.

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Community

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *