A new mum received the best type of surprise this week when her corporal husband returned home unannounced from his deployment in Iraq.
A week after the premature arrival of her second son Oscar, Miriam Sutherland opened the door to her Bletchington Street home to find her partner unexpectedly on the front step.
James Sutherland had been in Iraq with the Australian Army for the past six months, in charge of eight soldiers providing security at a military base.
He had been scheduled to return home on December 11 to make the birth date of his son.
I've had to make some sacrifices in life this year to get a deployment overseas, but no one has sacrificed more than my wifeJames Sutherland
When his son decided to come early, Mr Sutherland was given permission from his superiors to do the same.
Without filling Mrs Sutherland in on the change of plans, Mr Sutherland made the 30 hour journey back to Orange to arrive at their home on Thursday night.
"I told her I was going to call her to talk about coming home next week. When I called she was feeding the baby I said 'can you put him down for a second' then I knocked at the door," Mr Sutherland said.
Married for just over two years, the couple was separated for around nine months this year, after the Army Reserve was sent to Brisbane for training ahead of his security mission.
Mr Sutherland said his wife was speechless when she opened the door.
"She was just crying a lot and couldn't really say much," he said.
Mr Sutherland took to social media to announce his arrival and thank his wife for her dedication.
"I've had to make some sacrifices in life this year to get a deployment overseas, but no one has sacrificed more than my wife," he wrote.
"In the last nine months she's run a business, raised our son and grew and gave birth to another.
"She's looked after the house, the dogs and handled all the issues thrown at her. I can never thank her enough. P.S I'm at the front door."
Mr Sutherland said his wife has raised their family alone without ever once complaining. "She's done pretty bloody good," he said.
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