Reach Out and Touch Someone

Dad checks in from Iraq  

Published in 2008 Southern California Rising Stars — July 2008

More and more men are choosing to be in the delivery room for the birth of their child. Sharyn Fisk's husband, Nelson, didn't get the chance to make that choice.

Nelson, a major in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, was called to active duty in early 2003, just months before his second daughter was due. He was in Iraq when Fisk, a principal at Hochman, Salkin, Rettig, Toscher & Perez in Beverly Hills, gave birth to their daughter, Peyton, in May. Sharyn Fisk was feeling alone, but not for long. Within hours after Peyton was born, nurses at the hospital excitedly entered her room with a surprise: there was a long-distance call waiting for her from Iraq. Nelson called his wife via satellite phone after the American Red Cross informed him of his wife's delivery, but there was only enough time for her to reassure him that everything went well and that his family was eager for him to return home.

He was concerned about leaving his wife to cope with their newborn and their 2-year-old son Sutton, and she was concerned about his being distracted in an environment where distractions could be life-threatening.

"He worried that the baby would not have a close bond with him because he was away for those first few months," Sharyn Fisk recalls. "I put one of his T-shirts near her so she could smell her dad, but she ended up spitting up on it."

They laugh about these memories now that Nelson is home and safe and back working as a self-employed financial planner and investment adviser.

Fisk, 41, says her firm made her stint as a single parent significantly easier by lengthening her maternity leave and allowed a flexible schedule for her once she did return.

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