Saturday, 30 June 2012

Due Date.

This morning, from a dear friend;

Today you should be massively pregnant, feeling miserable and anxious and overwhelmed at the anticipation of meeting the beautiful baby who has been rolling and kicking and hiccuping in your belly. You should be chubby and eating everything in sight and asking me all the ways to bring on labour... You should have gone into that labour and come out with a pink, chubby, screaming baby - who instantly stops screaming when placed lovingly into your arms. You should have had him to take home, to nurse him with your milk, smell his sweet newborn scent and feel the calm spirit of "everything is alright" in your beautiful home. You will have this one day - I'm sure of it, and when it happens it will be wonderful... But for now, and especially today, we remember baby Seth Peter Magpantay - your special baby who you will raise in the eternities. How terrible it is that you can't have him now, but oh how glorious will that reunion be - when you see the Saviour, in all His glory, proud of your achievements and faithfulness in this life and say to you "Here is your son, who I have saved for you to raise and love for all eternity." I know Seth is close to you - more often than you may think, but especially today. Just remember, that during the time when you feel the most alone and like no one is there... You are actually being held so tightly, you can't see or feel anything else. Love you Lucy and Peter. Hope you have a tender and sweet fay together in remembering what should have been, but looking forward with faith and hope in a more joyful and glorious future.

As I read these words, hot tears streamed from my eyes down my cheeks, that familiar ache pulsed through my arms, and my heart was full; full of hurt, pain, loss, remorse, sorrow, mourning... But also full of gratitude, hope, faith, and love. 

Today should have been the day. But it wasn't.

Instead of my baby, I have my box. But oh, how grateful I am for that precious box and all that it holds, and for the hands that lovingly prepared it.

I am so grateful for all of the hands that have reached out and held tightly to our own, for all of the hearts that have been full for us, for all of the prayers that have been said out loud and whispered still, for every hug that we received that should have belonged to Seth; for every compassionate smile, every understanding word. For every cautiously written note, for all the gifts of remembrance; for every single tear shed on our behalf, and in memory of our Son. For all of the acknowledging looks, for all of the carefully phrased sentences, and for all of the love that has ever been felt for the loss of a child; I am grateful.

I wonder where I might be today - on this most special and significant say - without all that listed above. I wonder where my heart might lie, how my head might hang or how my tears would fall. Very differently, I think. For My heart is full of thanks, my head bows in humility, my tears fall for gratitude and grace.

For every soul that has lifted, embraced, touched, or felt my own, I give thanks, for those souls have kept me going - have kept me me. Thanks to those souls, I have not forgotten the worth of every single precious life that walks this earth. I have not forgotten who I am, where I came from, where I am going, or how I must get there.

For all of this I am grateful.

But I am most especially grateful for the one little soul who makes it worth it all.

My Seth.

The perfect example. The beacon of hope. The most precious soul of all.

It is strange to think I did not know who he was before he was created inside of me, for even though it just seems like yesterday that he came and left this life, I feel as though I have known him always. And I know I have.

So, this one is for you, my Seth. Thank you. 

I cannot wait for the day that I will see you again, hold you, love you, be your Mother... Until then, I will pray for you every day. I will think of you every minute. I will hold you in my heart forever.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

A little reassurance.

Busy, busy, busy...

This week I have been helping out my friend Laura with her little boys - she is pregnant and very sick, and needs help. Her oldest is three, and is needing to be potty-trained before he starts Nursery in September, so I have been over their house so far this week to help pick up Ryan and put him on the toilet, and bend down to pick things up, and lift heavy stuff - all the things that poorly seven-month-pregnant women can't do, and I've been very much enjoying spending time with my beautiful friend with a beautiful bump and her two beautiful little boys. 

Yesterday afternoon, Laura had to go out for a few hours (which became a little tricky with potty training, but that's beside the point). While she was gone, her little one, Alexander who is 19 months old, woke up from his nap. I heard him cry out a little and went upstairs to see him. Alexander is such a lovely little boy, he has gorgeous blonde hair and big beautiful eyes, he chats and dances and has a fabulous sense of humour. I walked into his room and found him sat up clutching his blanket, with "dow-dow" (dummy) in mouth, and he reached out for me. 

It was a wonderful feeling. I felt wanted. I felt needed. I felt loved. 

I walked to him and lifted him from his cot. I held him to me, and he smiled. 

Then  something wonderful happened. He touched my necklace - my beautiful necklace which holds my little boy's name close to my heart - and looked up into my eyes. I said my baby's name aloud and Alexander smiled. "Seth", I said again, and Alexander put his head on my shoulder and stayed there, for just a second. But a second was all it took for me to know that he knew him. I don't know how, but from somewhere; another time, a previous life, or maybe now - but in that second emotion overcame me, and I knew my little boy was close by. 

I smelled Alexander's hair, touched his hands, kissed his cheek, wiggled his nose. I missed my little boy, but for a moment my arms were not aching, for they were filled with love for Seth, from my heart, and from the heart of the young boy that I held just then.

It's moments like these, that have only happened once or twice, that really keep me going. It is in these moments that I know for sure that my little one is close by, that life does not end with death, that he is watching me, that he is happy, that he is safe, that I am loved, that all is well. 

I tried to tell Laura about this experience yesterday when she arrived home, but words escaped me. 

I tried to tell Peter when he came to pick me up, but again, the words were not there to say.

And it was then that I knew that I just had to write it down, and share it with all. For I am not the only one who need a little reassurance once in a while.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

A day for all Dads.

This weekend has been really difficult.

Today is Father's Day. A day to celebrate fathers. A day to love and spoil our Dads.

Pete returned home from work late on Friday, and as soon as he walked in the door he fell apart. I held him as he cried for our little boy, and cried too.

We attended church in my parent's home ward today. Of course, all of the talks were about Dads. A young boy and his Mum gave a talk, followed by a brand new deacon. They were lovely, full of humour and innocent anecdotes, Pete and I began to feel sad, mourning for our own son. When the third speaker took the stand, she began to quote a talk from President Spencer W. Kimball. It was one of counsel to young people, and the part she focused on was direction given to young married couples.

It was a talk that Peter and I had read together when we found out we were expecting just a few weeks after being married. We were anxious about being able to provide for a tiny baby, and about being a brand-new married couple with a brand-new baby. We read that talk from that great prophet and our minds and hearts were at ease. We knew that it was a blessing from the Lord, and that He had a plan for us, and that it was what was right for then.

Of course, when March 17th rolled around, six months married, and a week from six months pregnant, we did not understand.

We prayed to Heavenly Father asking "Why? Why give us this wonderful blessing, confirm to us that it's right, and then so cruelly take it away? Why?"

It was, without a doubt, the most difficult thing ever. We just could not understand. We had done everything we could for our little boy, and we were so ready to be parents, and to love and nurture and care for one of Heavenly Father's children.

So today was hard. Hearing those wise words from President Kimball that we obtained so much faith from just broke our hearts. It brought back the memories of lying on our bed in our pyjamas, Peter talking to my tummy, saying hello to baby, telling baby that we love him, introducing ourselves as baby's parents, and knowing that baby was what Heavenly Father had planned for us, that baby was ours, and that he would be ours forever because of our precious temple sealing that we had experienced just weeks before.

We left the meeting early, both in tears, crying for Seth, and frustrated at the world, at our experiences, that he is not here with us on this blessed Father's day.

When we returned to my parent's home, I thought about the words of President Kimball's talk, and what they meant to me then, and how their meaning has changed for me now.

And oh, how they've changed. The voice is so much clearer, the words so much more meaning. Our faith ever stronger.

I thought of those words, and knew that Heavenly Father has a plan for us, the Magpantay family. He has a plan, divinely designed, unique to us. A plan that will take us on so many journeys, ups and downs, and forwards and backwards. Day by day that plan plays out in our lives, and how often do we really take the time to appreciate all of our Father in Heaven's hard work? All of the blessings that he has bestowed upon us, and that he has in store for us? How many times do we wish things were different? Rather than appreciating that every down has an up, every back a forward, every trial, a blessing, that is created divinely for us, individually, and as families?

So today is a day for our Dads; our Fathers.

I held my husband and kissed him today, and told him he is a Daddy, and that I know Seth is watching him on this blessed day.

And I got to be held by my own Daddy today, he squeezed me tight and kissed my cheek and held my hand, and it took everything I had in me not to cry when we left him this afternoon. Thank you for being the best Dad for me, and for all that you have done.

And I got to pray to my Father in Heaven, in my heart I thanked him for our trial, and for the blessings that we have received so far for enduring it so, and for the blessings that I know He has in store for us if we continue to be faithful. And I thanked Him for His divine design; His eternal plan of happiness which we are blessed to have a knowledge of, which means that we can hold and love and cherish and nurture our precious, perfect little boy again.

"Any fool can be a Father, but it takes a real man to be a Daddy."
Philip Whitmore Senior.                        

To the man who walked me in...

...And the man who walked me out.

 To the two best Dads I know,
I love you, forever.
Thank you, for being the best.

Friday, 15 June 2012

One for the weekend.

Love Story.

I haven't done a "One for the weekend" in a while, and seeing as it's Friday, and I've not much else to do, I thought I would today. With the focus being on my wonderfully amazing husband.

{From here,}
I think I will make something like this for my home one day...I love genuine and rustic look!! 

When I think about mine and Pete's story I can't help but smile.

When I am feeling low or angry or some other type of negative emotion, Pete sometimes reminds me of particular times we shared when we were dating. Our favourite memory to reminisce about is bike rides at my parents house. On summer days when Pete was visiting our home for the weekend, we woul borrow my parent's bikes and cycle to the supermarket, which was about a mile away, to get some lunch or dinner, or sometimes just for fun. I remember the first time we went I hadn't cycled in a loooong time, and I rode through a prickly bush and crashed into a wall. Pete loves to tell that story.

Those are some of my favourite parts of our story.

Also, the time when Pete and I decided on our Wedding Date...

We'd been dating for about two months, not yet engaged. I knew already that I wanted to marry him, and he knew that he was going to marry me. We just gelled together. We just worked. We were so happy. We were sat in my parent's dining room, pen and paper in hand, trying to figure out our plan of action. We wrote down so many things that day... September 2011, March 2012, August 2012...August 2013... We discussed every single date, and wrote down all of the pros and cons.

All of the answers were pointing to March or August 2012, but for some reason, neither of those months just didn't feel right. We talked through our feelings, our hopes and dreams and goals, and just talked about how much we loved each other. And we just knew the answer was 2011. We wanted August, but knew we had to wait for Pete's brother to come home from his mission, so we decided on three days after his mission ended (he was still technically a missionary at our Wedding, as he hadn't been released by his Stake President back in Germany - he looked fab at the reception in his barong tagalog and his missionary badge!)

Recently I have been thinking about all of the steps that Peter and I took to get to the point where we are now. It's incredible how fast time has gone. It feels like New Year 2010-11 was just yesterday, walking through Hyde Park, hand-in-hand, first kiss...

When I think about how far we have come from that point... How much we have grown, how much we have learnt, how much we have been through, and we've not even been married a year... Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with gratitude. I am so grateful for Peter, my husband; my rock; my best friend. He completes me; he makes me feel whole; he perfects me. He is just fab.

I recall our Love Story in my mind, and reflect on the times we have had over the passed year and a half - how great my husband is, how great he makes me feel, and how great we are together. I am so grateful for the times we have shared so far as a little family unit, and with our little Seth, and I so look forward for the times to come, over the Eternity that we are sealed together for. How exciting that is, to know that my fantastic husband is mine forever.

I know that I can truly say, with an honest heart, that

Every Love Story is beautiful, but
Ours is my Favourite.

Pete, you're the best. 

Thursday, 14 June 2012

When a baby dies before labour begins.

When we were still in the hospital, just after we found out that Seth's heart was no longer beating, we were offered a leaflet a number of times, and refused. A leaflet? How would a leaflet help? What is a leaflet going to say to make any of this better?

We went home to gather the things that we needed, family arrived and cried with us for a short time. We went back to the hospital with my parents, and totally not ready to give birth to Seth.

A little later, a midwife asked us again if we would like to see the leaflet. By this point I don't think I had said a word for at least 45 minutes. Pete said okay, my Mum said that she'd like to have a look too.
She returned shortly after and handed my Mum the leaflet, she skimmed through and then handed it to Pete. I remember closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep, willing it all to be some terrible, terrible dream and wished so hard to feel a big kick inside my bump, a little rumble, a heart beat...

"It's quite nice actually, babe," Pete had said. "It's not awful. Would you like me to read some to you?"

At this point I opened my eyes. I hadn't yet seen the leaflet. Didn't know what it was called, or what it was even really about.

I looked over to Pete and saw it in his hands; read the words printed on the front.

"No." I said and rolled over. "I don't want to hear it right now."

I remember the tears rolling down my face and hot and ticklish into my ears.

The words had hurt me. Cut straight through my throat with the sharpest knife.

I knew that the words were true. It was just that no one had said it so plainly yet. Die. To die. When a baby dies. Baby dies. Babies die? So young, so pure, so fresh, so innocent, still growing? Stillborn? What did that mean? Stillborn meant just this - when a baby dies before labour begins. 

The thoughts raced through my mind. 

He died. He died. He died.  

My mind couldn't comprehend it, yet this leaflet said it so plainly. So bluntly. Just put it out there. I felt like it was shouting at me, even when I wasn't looking at the words they were screaming through my mind: 

"Your baby died. Your son died. Your child died." 

Somewhere between these thoughts and tears I drifted to a different state. I woke up soon after in pain, like annoying period cramps. I heard Pete, flicking pages of the leaflet. I asked him to read to me.

"Finding out at any stage of pregnancy that your unborn baby has died, or is dying, is a devastating shock. We are so sorry that this has happened to you..."

As he so softly read the words of the leaflet to me, confusion intermingled with pain, and somewhere hidden in the crossed wires of my mind, there was peace. The words gave me great comfort to know that I was not alone. I knew from those words that there was help. I knew that I would be supported. I knew that I would be okay - it would be difficult, it might tear me apart some days, maybe even most days - but I would be okay. 

I think back to that time, and I'm strangely grateful for that experience, and the other experience I had in hospital. 

I'm grateful that I was able to do that one last physical thing for my son, by naturally giving birth, and letting our bodies share that experience. I'm grateful for all of the wonderful Midwives and Nurses and Doctors who helped me through that difficult process. I'm grateful for the love and support I felt there, and that, considering the circumstances, my stay was made as positive as it could have possibly been. 

And when I think about it, it is all thanks to Sands.

Sands provide the training necessary to the Healthcare professionals to know how to rightly deal with such a horrific situation. They train the staff in compassion and sensitivity, so that the grieving parents of the passed baby do not feel alone, and know that they are cared for. They train the staff in how to create memories of precious little ones, so that parents do not go home empty handed. Although not with their cherished baby, they can go home with memories and keepsakes and pictures of baby, and the time spent with them.

And this is all thanks to Sands. 

Just like I posted earlier this month, June is Sands Awareness Month. 

Help spread awareness of the charity to help support grieving parents, and provide medical professionals with the training needed to help care for the families of a lost little one. 

I was lucky to give birth in Swindon GWH, as they have had extensive training and communication with Sands to provide help and support to grieving parents, but someone else across the UK, and across the world, may not have been given the same support and care as I received. 

When a child is stillborn, hearts break. Sands help patch up those broken hearts, and piece lives back together after a devastating loss. 

Tuesday, 12 June 2012


There are so many things that I need / would like to do right now, but I just have no motivation to do anything at all.

Like I said yesterday, I just want to put things on hold for a minute to breathe, but I'm not finding that pause button any where.

Quite appropriate though, is that Peter and I have decided to study Patience this month as a family in scripture study and Family Home Evening. It's something that I've always struggled with, and am struggling with right now.

I think to myself "I'm doing all the right things, I'm doing everything that I am meant to, I'm living the way I'm supposed to, I'm a good person, where are my blessings!?!" But, the truth of the matter is, I'm missing one vital thing in my plea:


Eugh. Patience. Who thought of such a thing? Even the sound of the word gets on my last nerve sometimes.

PAY - SHUNCE. Bleugh.

But it's true. In the words of Take That, we all need to "just have a little patience". Darn.

These are the things I currently have to be patient for:

  • Peter to get home from work
  • Illness to subside
  • The rain to stop - every one is always happier when the rain stops...
  • A job
  • Whether or not we'll move
  • Seth...
I think that this is the attribute that the most people struggle with, worldwide. At least, it feels like it. It definitely is I think. It feels like we're always waiting for something. And as soon as that waiting is over, a new kind of waiting begins. How annoying. 

With Seth, I understand that I need to be patient. And I'm okay being patient until life is done. I know with him, all I have to do is try my best in this life, and I'll get to see him again, hold him in my arms, and kiss his face and be his Mum. 

It's all the other stuff that's so frustrating. 

Sometimes, I get so angry, that I want to tear the walls down and scream and shout, and tell everybody who I see that "Life is not fair!" But I know that will probably just make things more rubbish. 
So all I can do is curl up in a ball and cry into my pillow.

On those days, nothing makes anything any better. Not even chocolate.

I think everybody has those days though, right? When they just want to tell the world to go away? And make their own dream land where everything is just right? I think Dream Land makes everything worse though, too. It just makes you even more sad about the world we currently live in. At least for me.

No, wait...There is one thing. 

The only thing that makes these days okay, is PRAYER.

In prayer we can pour out our hearts, our souls, our biggest fears and our deepest desires. Even if you're not entirely sure that there is anyone listening, it sure does feel good to just say it.

I'm lucky enough to know that there is someone listening. Someone who can ease the pain, and help carry the burden of every day crappy, sucky living; someone who understands; someone who isn't going to argue back, or helplessly try and make things better. They might respond, but only when all is quiet, and when the heart is at peace. An answer may come to those who wait, those who listen, those who desire for an answer to come. 

But that all comes back to patience. And that's why I need to learn as much about that attribute as possible. I'm waiting, so desperately for an answer, a whispering, a still small voice, a humbling, a comfort, a peace in my heart, a knowledge to my mind, an arm around shoulder, a lift from within...

All I have to do is be patient. 
Life is full of difficulties, some minor and others of a more serious nature. There seems to be an unending supply of challenges for one and all. Our problem is that we often expect instantaneous solutions to such challenges, forgetting that frequently the heavenly virtue of patience is required.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Just breathe?

Today it is all about Seth.

 I didn't plan for it to be, but it is.

I've been thinking about my little boy all day. And reading things to help me understand better, such as "Gone too Soon", and "Life Everlasting".

I bought some cute little artificial flowers for his grave today, and can't wait to lay them down. And I've been thinking up some more ideas of things to lay down at his grave, to show how much we love him.

I've talked about him with a friend, and read about him on her blog.

I've talked with Pete about how much I miss him, and cried for him, and wished I could hold him in my arms.

I don't know why today has been all about Seth. I usually have him on my mind all the time, and think about him whilst doing other things. But today, I've just been thinking about him. Just him. Only him. And how much I love and miss him.

I can't believe it's been almost three months. I can't believe it's almost his due date. I can't believe how fast time is going passed. I wish I could hit a "slow down" button, or press pause and just breathe for a minute.

Sometimes life goes by way too fast and we want things to just slow down...But before I know it, life will be going too slow and I'll probably want to speed things up. But that's just the way it is.

England's weather is just pants right now. I know we're famous for rain, but not this much, surely?
I'm just hoping that as it's raining so much now in June, it best be sunny in August.

It's days like these I wish we were back in the Philippines. And I wish Seth were still here...

{Chris, Ida, Erik, Tatay, Nanay, Seth, Me & Peter,
Mt. Samat, Bataan, Philippines, Dec. 2011}
Family are the best, aren't they? This is Peter's immediate family, and they are just wonderful. I am so grateful for them, and that I have been welcomed and accepted by them as a Magpantay. They're one of the two best families to be a part of - the other being my own :).

Seth is Peter's parents first (and only, so far) grandchild. 
One of the first things I thought of when we found out that Seth had passed away, was how heartbroken they would be. They had so many plans and hopes and dreams for our little Seth, and they love him so much. I know that we'll all be able to fulfill those plans and hopes and dreams with him one day.

I wish we could be with you more often, Magpantay's. You're the best.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

My piece of Peter-Pie.

There's tension right now in our front room.

It's the last three minutes of the Germany VS. Portugal match in the European Cup, and Pete's on edge. It's 1-0  to Germany, but who knows what can happen in three minutes!?

Before we got married, I had no idea that my husband had any interest in football. I grew up in a family where football was only something played, and only by boys (call us traditionalists), but we only ever watched the so-called "beautiful game" when the World Cup rolled around, and only until England were inevitably knocked out...

So I'm not used to the football fatuation Pete is in to right now.

But I love him. I love him so much. In all of his football-loving, handsome-faced, sweet-worded goodness.

He is the perfect man for me.

I could never have wished for any one more than the wonderful husband that I have.

He's been my total rock. My beacon, my source of faith and hope. My source of joy at this most difficult time. He keeps me going. He keeps me strong. He lets me be ME, and loves me for ME. What more could a girl wish for? I'm so lucky.

He's just fantastic...On the edge of his seat, chequered shirt, chequered shorts (what a combo!), just tensely waiting out these last three, vital minutes. What a beauty!

Did I ever mention his current favourite pet-name for me?


It changes every few weeks. (I secretly hope this one sticks...)

Oh, how blessed I am to have such a man.

I love you, my Peter-Pie. You are just the best.

Phew. Germany won. Relief!!

Friday, 8 June 2012

Just reach back.

Yesterday was a stressful day.

I had been planning to do a little project as a surprise for my husband, and I promised that he'd have it by yesterday. It was a bit of a rush to get in done in the morning, but I did it! And here it is...

{A reminder of our time with Seth}
I really wanted something in our home to display the time that we had with our little boy, with all of his family right there. My family top left, and Pete's top right. Bottom left is on the edge of Lake Windemere on our Honeymoon, the middle top was the day we started telling everyone we were pregnant of November last year, taken at the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, and bottom right is in the Philippines in December, 14 weeks pregnant, and awfully sick, but in a beautiful place, and so happy.

Pete came home for lunch, and almost cried. It was a perfect surprise, and we found some string and hung it up in our front room straight away. It's a perfect reminder of happier times.

Afternoon rolled around and I became anxious. I had a job interview that afternoon. I've been actively looking for work for about 6 weeks, almost with luck, but in this financial climate, jobs that you don't need many qualifications for are pretty scarce. I liked the sound of the company, and was really excited to just be going to an interview, and be given an opportunity - I was starting to feel the reward of hard work.

I did my hair all "corporate style", and wore a winning interview outfit, and made sure my make-up was perfect. I know it's not all about the looks, but despite what people say, I believe that first impressions do count for a lot, especially in the workplace. I topped up on my knowledge of the company quickly before I left, double-checked my CV, glanced once more at my appearance, said a prayer and left.

I left 45 minutes before the interview time, it takes 20 minutes to walk, but I wanted to arrive early, and give a little time for any small mis-haps along the way. It was raining a little, but it was quite a sheltered walk, beneath and in-between a lot of trees and fairly tall buildings - it didn't matter if my feet got a little wet, you wouldn't be able to tell with the shoes I was wearing, and the umbrella sheltered my face and hair, so I was good to go.

It was mostly an uphill walk, so I paced myself, knowing that I had the time to as well. I angled the umbrella just right to keep the rain off of most of my body, and was keeping excellent time. I took my time crossing the road, careful to avoid all of the puddles, even the tiny ones - I wasn't taking any risks, I needed to look my best.

I reached the top of the hill, and it was straight for the rest of the walk along a main road. I took my time, text a friend whilst keeping a watchful eye out for any puddles, and made sure to be light-footed to avoid any dirty splashes across my tights. I took out my phone to check a text, and glanced up, and that's when I spotted it first. One of those humongous just-off-the-pavement puddles that stretches about three metres along the side of the road - treacherous to any person who carelessly walked by. I saw the stream of cars up ahead, not taking a second's notice to me, the passer-by. I stopped, waiting for the seemingly never-ending flow of cars to come to a halt. I waited for a good minute and a half before there was much of a break between any of the vehicles, but when there was I took my chance, making for a faster walk, careful of the splashing rain on the concrete from my footsteps, when I realised I wasn't the only one waiting for a break in the cars...

A giant silver Land Rover was waiting too, and had too, taken the opportunity to sneak around the corner amongst a gap in the cars. I looked to the puddle, and back to the fast approaching car - there was not time to go back or forth, I would be splashed, I looked to my left and right, and to my right - a driveway to hide in during the passing of the beast-like car? I backed into as quickly as I could and held my brolly over my face and shut my eyes tight -

And then I felt the sudden ice-cold soaking of dirty water from the road hit my whole left side. I'd been got. Despite my efforts, the typically English weather had got the best of me. There were no cars now...If only I'd waited a minute more... I slowly walked back to the pavement, right out of the way of the perilous puddle, and down a little side road under the shelter of a tree.

I was wet, and cold, and I started to cry. I got out my phone and dialled my husband at work and fell apart completely.

All the care and caution I had taken to be prepared and ready for this interview had completely, it felt like, gone to waste. How could I turn up like this? What on earth would they think of me? Some stupid little girl, desperate for a job, turns up soaking wet, with tears streaming down her face?

I cried. I thought "WHY ME?! Have not enough bad things happened to me already?"

I decided to say a prayer. I prayed and cried a little more, and then thought of Seth.

After all that had happened, have I given up yet? No. I've been close, but I've kept of going.
I thought of Jeffrey R. Holland, and how he said when things go wrong, all we can do is endure.
I thought of Ashley Sullenger, and remembered that I can do hard things.
I thought of NieNie, and of her brightness and beauty and positivity, and how with adversity comes great reward.

It seemed like the silliest thing, but getting soaked yesterday taught me a huge lesson.

In this life, we are tried, we are hard-shipped, we are tested, and we are pushed to our very limits, sometimes hanging by the last thread. But should we give up? Never. For if we give up, who will do the work that we are meant to do?

The Lord has a plan for each of us. At times, this plan may seem cruel - the load may seem too much to bear - but with the Lord, all things are possible. He won't literally descend and physically help us carry the load. But He will send angels, and He has sent them. And He does listen to our darkest fears and deepest desires, and He does allow us to see how things are possible. He puts people in our paths who will help us on our journey, and puts us in places where we will learn lessons.

All He requires of us is to do our best in this life. And when our best is only part of the way, He makes up the rest.

This is how we heal. This is how we learn about ourselves, find out who we are, and who we're meant to be. And this is how we endure.

I cannot give up. I will not give up. I have a little boy waiting for me on the other side. He is doing his part, and I shall do mine.

This life is hard. I don't think it gets easy. Not even with a big house and lots of money and a nice car. Emotionally things might be okay, but physically they may be tough. Temporally things might be swell, but spiritually, it might get hard.

We will always have trials, we will always be tested, adversities and afflictions will always be present in our lives. But when we are feeling alone, when we are down to hanging by that last thread, and pushed to our absolute limit, remember that there is someone there.

He is reaching out His hand - just reach back.

"...Peace be unto thy soul; thine adversities and thine afflictions shall be but a small moment;
And then, if thou endure it well, God shall exalt thee on high; thou shalt triumph over all thy foes. 
Thy friends do stand by thee, and the shall hail thee again with warm hearts and friendly hands."
Doctrine and Covenants 121: 7-9

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Long Weekend.

Peter and I were just able to spend a fabulously long weekend together. We had our appointment Thursday, he worked from home in the afternoon, then had Friday off. We went to a beautiful wedding of our good friends on Saturday, church on Sunday and visiting Seth's grave, followed by Bank Holiday Monday, and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee yesterday - so like I said - fabulous!

But now he's back to work.

And our home feels a little empty again.

Whenever we come home together from being out somewhere, even just for five minutes, we both walk through the front door and sigh. There's someone missing from our house. There's a spirit missing from our home - and you can really feel it.

I enjoyed this wonderful long weekend just passed so much that I kind of totally forgot that Pete would ever have to go back to work. But late last night after scripture study, it hit me, and I fell apart.

I've silently wept a couple of times the passed few days, but it's been so wonderful to have Pete home - here with me for six whole days! - last night I remembered that today he'd go back to work, and I would be alone again. And I sobbed. I held him so tightly, I didn't ever want him to leave. I wanted to hold him forever.

Thinking about it made me miss him, and I missed Seth. The constant ache I have in my heart had subsided slightly over the weekend with my husband not away from me for more than 5 minutes at a time, but it all came back then.

My heart hurt, my arms ached, my spirit sighed.

I missed my son; in my mind his perfect little face was just out of sight, his smell was just out of range, his hand just out of reach...

I yearned to hold his frail little body, to sing to him, to tell him stories, to give him all of the love in my heart, and to just be his Mum.  

I fell asleep in my husband's arms, as he told me how I'd Seth him again, I'd hold him again, I'd be able to pour out all of that love for him; to him. He would be mine once more. And I would be his...

I dreamt of green fields, and white flowers, and of wanting Seth, missing him. I dreamt that I looked to the cloud scattered sky, and felt his arms around me. I dreamt that my feet were bare, my heart was open, my eyes were closed... and Seth was nearby.

I woke up grateful, for family, for Eternity, for blessings in my life, knowledge of the plan of happiness, and all that my Father in Heaven has given me, and most especially grateful for Seth.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

And this is my reward.

At Church, I'm a Counsellor in the Young Women program, and I absolutely love it.
At our Mutual Activity this week, we focused on Individual Worth, and had a fabulous time doing this: 

Homemade oatmeal facemasks, lemon sugar handscrubs, and rice footsoaks, to make us all feel beautiful! Not that we look it here...

I also gave them all an envelope with letters from their families and some close friends telling them how much they love them, and how fantastic they all are. It was all very emotional. It's difficult to be a teenage girl sometimes, and they often need reminding that they ARE amazing, and as their Young Women leader I have the privilege of helping them realise

We always have such a fabulous time.

Today our Young Women lesson was all about the value Knowledge; how we obtain it, how we use it, and where we can find it.

I agreed to conduct the music before the lesson started as there was no one else there at the time who knew how (quite yet! It's something we'll work on...), and then the teacher decided that we'd sing "Teach me to walk in the light". One of Seth's songs, that we sang at his funeral.
I hardly made it through the first verse. I could not sing, I could feel my jaw quivering as if about to break into tears, my hand was on auto-conduct in time to the music, but started to feel so heavy, I just wanted to chuck the book down and run away. Run home, and make it all disappear somehow...

...When I remembered this. I remembered that I can do hard things. Life is hard but we must endure it. As Jeffrey R. Holland said "All we can do sometimes is endure." It's difficult, it's not easy, it's hard, but I can do hard things.

I didn't sing the rest of the words as I could feel my throat closing up in protest, but I didn't cry. I didn't chuck the book down, and I didn't run away. I thought about Ashley Sullenger, I thought about the phrase "I can do hard things", I thought about Seth, I thought about my Father in Heaven, and how they are waiting both waiting for my family to come and join them, and I thought about what it all meant to me. Before I knew it, it was the end of the song; my hand had waved the last ending note, and it was time to sit down, and I was okay. I had done a hard thing, and I felt good.

In this life, we are given much that we need to overcome, to endure, to see through and to face. We are not given these trials and challenges to hurt us, or to make us feel weak. We are given them so that we can learn, so that we can become stronger, better people, so that we can earn our seat in Heaven. And once we have learned to live with our burdens, we can look back and tell ourselves that we have done a hard thing, and feel good for having earned our place in God's Kingdom, for having endured the hurt and pain, and coming out the better person.

This life is not easy, but there are people and things that make this life easier to live. Use those things, hold tight to them, be courageous in the face of affliction, and know that You Can Do Hard Things. 

I can do hard things, I will do these hard things, for I will return home with a smile on my face, and gratefulness in my heart, and I will take my seat in the Kingdom of God, right next to my little boy, knowing that I have endured, I have conquered, I have done a hard thing, and this is my reward. 

{My beautiful niece little Maysie Moo, & Me. One of those little gems that makes this life a little easier to live.
What a cutie of cuties!!}

Friday, 1 June 2012

Sands Awareness Month.

Yesterday, Peter and I had our follow-up appointment at the Hospital for our little Seth.

We were both so anxious on the drive to the Hospital - going back to where my little boy was born was so strange. We even had to go to the same floor, and pass the ward that I stayed on when being induced and recovering from giving birth to Seth.

One of my worst memories of the hospital was leaving after Seth was born. I remember waiting for the lift, and through the glass behind me, I spotted a set of beaming parents walking out through the revolving hospital doors with a weeny new born, snuggled up in blankets with little hat on, peacefully sleeping in a car seat as its parents walked so slowly and carefully, taking the new addition to their family back home - possibly to meet their excited siblings, or Grandparents who had anxiously awaited their arrival through the night.

I remember I could almost smell that tiny baby, that new-born smell that I'd been so excited to smell.

I watched the parents look to each other - probably in disbelief that they had produced such a perfect and wonderful creation, probably anxious about Baby's first car journey, and deciding that they would drive extra super carefully, and Mum would sit in the back with Baby, probably dreaming about their future with Baby, how Baby would change their lives...And not sparing a moments thought for me, and my Son, or the other 16 women whose baby would be stillborn in the UK that day. They were probably thinking about how lucky they were to have this creation to take home with them, but not thinking about what it's like for the unlucky ones, who walk out of those big, revolving hospital doors with a box instead of a baby.

I remember looking down to my box. I clutched to it, I held it to my chest, close to my body. I touched the golden feet that are printed on it's lid, I thought of my little boy. My baby. Where his body lay at that moment, and how badly I wanted to stay in Hospital. I wanted to stay where he was, even if he wasn't with me. I wanted to stay in my hospital bed, with my "Call Nurse" button next to me. I wanted to carry on being looked after, so I wouldn't have to face the world without my little boy.

We had to wait for a lift for almost 10 minutes. A very healthy-looking elderly couple came along, and started to complain very loudly about how long the lift was taking. The lady decided to take the stairs, inviting her husband with her, but he bluntly and rudely refused, saying that "the lift is here to be taken, and I'm going to use it". We saw his wife reach the bottom before the lift came.

As the lift doors opened, he lurched forward, in front of me, and other people, with wheelchairs and pushchairs. I couldn't help thinking how if I'd had my baby with me, he might have acted differently, a newborn baby might have put him in a better mood, brightened is day and put a smile on his face, reminding him of the beautiful things in this world, and that there's no need to be so rude, especially to strangers. But he didn't look at me. He didn't notice me holding on to my Memory box for dear life. If he took the chance to just look at what I was holding he might have realised, taken a second to think about why I was holding a baby-yellow box with tiny feet printed on the lid. But he was just too rude, too snubby, and too impatient to even take a second glance at me, Peter and my Mum, all with devastated and apalled expressions, all in disbelief at his blatant rudeness.

It is only now that I realise that he couldn't have known. Even if he looked over at us, and saw me holding my box, he would have probably just confused him. He probably wouldn't have known what it was I was holding, or why, or what had happened.

This month is SANDS awareness month.

When you're expecting a baby, you hope, you dream, you imagine. Nobody expects anything to ever go wrong. Before we knew Seth had passed away, I knew what stillbirth was, but I had no idea that it still happened, especially in this day and age with modern technology and all that, and I certainly never thought about it happening to our family. Who knew that a baby could die when it was still in the womb? Safe and warm and protected inside it's Mother's body.

But when it does, the world comes crashing down. Lives change, hearts break, people leave hospitals with a box in their arms. Before, I had no idea that such things could happen, and there are so many people out there now who still have no idea, or do not understand, or cannot comprehend such a tragedy.

When we were in hospital, we were offered a number of leaflets and materials to explain things in more detail from the view of other parents who had experienced a similar loss. We read those leaflets in hospital, when we left, when we were planning Seth's funeral, and still now every so often. These leaflets were from Sands, and without them, Peter and I would have had no clue what to do. Sands helped us take the next step, then another, and then another, until we got to where we are right now - healing, and learning to live with our loss.

Sands gave us our memory box, which is now our most precious possession, containing all of our sweet keepsakes of our little boy, including little hand and foot-prints, casts of his hands and feet, our hospital bracelets, two little teddy bears - one for him and one for us - and our precious, precious pictures. What would we have done without this box?

People need to be aware of the circumstances. So many people think that you pass the 12 week mark and your safe - and Peter and I mistakenly thought the same things. We thought that we were fine, that nothing bad could happen after 12 weeks, we also thought that passed the second scan everything was fine - any defect or abnormality would have been detected then and it wasn't, and we were safe.

But did you know that 50% of all heart defects - physical and functional - aren't detected until after the baby is either born, or has died? And some aren't detected at all. We didn't either. And this is just one of many statistics that you can read about here.

Including 17 babies are stillborn every day in the UK. 

Isn't that statistic just shocking?

Please spread awareness of the charity Sands this month. They help parents who have lost a little one every single day. They have helped Peter and me so much so far, and I know they will be a big part of our lives for the future.

Don't be ignorant to the cause, or the case.

Losing a baby is the most devastating thing. Hopes and dreams are smashed by Stillbirth, and many parents never receive an answer as to why this precious baby had to die.

Sands helps these parents learn to live with their loss, and with the lifelong grieving.

Even though our babies aren't here with us, they will always remain a part of our lives.

"God takes many away even in infancy, that they may escape the envy of man, and the sorrows and evils of this present world; they were too pure, too lovely, to live on this earth; therefore, if rightly considered, instead of mourning we have reason to rejoice as they are delivered from evil, and we shall soon have them again...The only difference between the old and the young dying is, one lives longer in Heaven and eternal light and glory that the other, and is freed a little sooner from this miserable, wicked world."Joseph Smith, March 20th, 1842
History of the Church, 4:553-554.

In the most loving and precious memory of Seth, Adam, Eden, Jacob, Jack, Shaun, and all of the other little babies that are so sorely missed in homes all around the world today.