I stayed at my mums for a few weeks after H left. I couldn't bring myself to staying in the house on my own with J.
After I'd dropped H to the train station I drove to my mums. I pulled up outside the house I grew up in, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. I did not want my mum or J to see me cry, I'm a big girl. So I put on my smiles and went inside. I can save the tears for when I'm alone.
H sent me a text just before he got on the plane, just a little goodbye and that he's going to miss me. I think I read that text about 100 times that night. As J slept next to me, my face only lit by the light of the phone, I sat up in bed and cried. I prayed to the Lord that he would be safe, and that no harm would come to him. Before H left he took me to his sisters church (that he once attended) to say goodbye to a few people, little did I know he was giving his last letters to a close friend. Having been brought up Catholic this church was a whole new experience for me. It was fantastic, it filled me with hope and peace. My faith was restored, and I was able to pray in the knowledge that He was listening.
H's sister had also just had a baby girl, so I decided to continue going to church each week to see my new family. Before H left we also visited his mothers church, this church was similar to the one in Cardiff (both Born Again). Everyone prayed for H, and laid hands on both of us. They prayed for his safe, healthy return, and they prayed for me to find peace and be strong whilst H was away. I cried. It was so moving. Everyone continued praying for H whilst he was away. I prayed every day.
The first night without H was horrible. I was glad of the text I could read over and over. I cried myself to sleep that night, phone in hand.
I didn't hear from H for a few days. We went from talking all day, every day to me watching my mobile and willing for it to ring. I learnt that my phone would become surgically attached to my body. If I missed a call I was heart-broken. Luckily H knew my phone would be near me in some way so he would always phone back in the hope that I'd answer. I always did. After every phone call there is a lull. You say goodbye and sit there for a minute or so just looking at the screen. I tried to imagine the conditions he was in, but it's hard to when you're on a comfortable sofa with friends and family around you.
I had a small network of Army wives to keep in contact with. One being A, the girl I was in university with. Once I found out I was pregnant I made a conscious decision to finish University. Nursing was not for me, and the stress of H being away plus the baby, I did not have the energy. A had already left in the December.
Knowing that there are women in the same boat as you was a comfort, but when they're freaking out it takes a lot to stay calm and strong. I remember the sick rising to my mouth when A text me to ask if H was ok. The first soldier in H's battalion had been killed. I was not H's next of kin, his mother was who lived 20+ miles away. I started freaking out, all I could think was "They're travelling down to tell me, I know they are. There is no way they would call me first because I'd know". I frantically called a close friend who's boyfriend had been on the Herrick before H. I was hysterical and had convinces myself that it was H. Numbly I rang H's parents. There was no answer. I tried to stay calm but my voice trembled as I left a message asking to be called back.
My phone rang, it was H's mother. She calmed me down and reassured me that it was not H. Relief washed over me. Then guilt kicked in, how selfish of me to freak out thinking it was H. Some poor woman has lost her husband, and some poor mother had lost her son. It may have not been my soldier, but it had been someone's. I said a little prayer for the family who had lost they're hero, and prayed for my H.
It was a great comfort for my close friend to knock on my door. She had been there, done that and knew what to say. I suppose you could say she became my knight in shining armour whenever I needed uplifting. I thank her for that.
It was time for my second scan, the scan that can tell you whether you are carrying a little boy or girl. I knew that H wanted a boy, but I was carrying so differently to my last that I thought I may have been having a baby girl. I sat in the waiting room with my mum and H's mother. I looked around at all the other pregnant women, sat with they're boyfriends or husbands. They probably thought I was a single mother, but I wore my Help 4 Heroes band with pride, my baby's dad was doing this country proud.
Once I was in the room and being scanned I asked nervously if the lady could tell me what I was having. Excitement grew inside me, she said the words "You're having a baby boy". I cried tears of joy, I could not wait to tell H the news!
My phone rang almost as soon as I walked out of the scan, it was like he knew. I told him we were having a little boy, I could hear the happiness in his voice. He shouted to everyone in his FOB "I'm having a boy".
I was so pleased that H was so excited, but I knew he wanted to see another scan. I did not need any more scans at the hospital now, so I booked a 3D scan for R and R. It was a lot of money, but worth every penny for my soldier to see his baby.
The date for R and R shone brightly like the light at the end of a tunnel. H was a bit of a silly romantic, he did not want to be picked up, he wanted to get a train home and to just walk in at an unexpected time.
I cleaned the house, made myself look as glamorous as I could with my bulging baby belly. I warned him that I was rather big now, he said he did not care and couldn't wait to feel our baby boy kick. I could not wait for him to give me one of his magical kisses and make my world stop.
I sat anxiously on the sofa. This was it. I placed my hands on my bump "No gruffelo for the next two week chickabean, you can hear the real thing now". I heard the key, the handle. I couldn't sit there and wait for him to walk into the living room, I jumped up and ran into the hallway. It took me a few moments to recognise him. He was very skinny, very tanned and had dirty blonde hair! "Hello baby" he said. I ran up to him and cried, and there it was - he kissed me and my world stopped.