Sunday, 11 December 2011


Even though, at times, I can still feel the coldness of rock bottom as I'm only dangling a few feet from it, I didn't actually realise things could actually get worse! And as I drop, my back cracks the cold stone of rock bottom and I plummet lower!

Arguments with H are never easy. My life, so it seemed at the time, was the worst it could have been! Accusations of being a cheat. They cut, they hurt, I bled! Maybe I say things at time without actually thinking of how the person on the receiving end thinks of it. A cheat I am not! And considering I was cheated on, badly, by my ex I just simply could not do that to someone I loved.

Amongst the accusational texts I had a missed call from a number unrecognised on my phone. "Nice try" I thought, I genuinely thought H had tried calling me off someone elses number to catch me out.

Aha, a voicemail. I called my mailbox, a mans voice spoke. "Kirsty, this is Uncle Tony". My stomach knotted, I knew what was coming but prayed it was something else. "Your dads had an accident, he's in intensive care. He went into a diabetic coma and was rushed in this afternoon after he was found" he said. I was choked, my eyes streamed and I could not breath. He's going to die!

I inhaled fast. I could not hide my fear. I thanked my uncle for calling, he was apologetic for baring bad news. I called my mum in a panic to come have the children for me. The children watched tv unaware of the trance I was in as I sat at the top of my stairs, rocking myself and crying hysterically. J came out as he could hear me crying "Get downstairs" I screamed at him. He scampered off, I felt awful but could not move or call to him.

If I call H now will he think I'm making this up for the sob story card?! I called him hysterically, I tried breathing to explain what had happened. I found it hard to say the words and broke down. H was granted a rail pass and said he'd get on the first train back to Wales. Did he care, or was he purely forfilling his husband role but with no feelings? The latter was my thought.

My mum turned up, she would not let me drive in the state that I was in. I text my friend to come look after the children so my mum could take me in.

Was my dad going to die?! Was my husband going to leave me?! I grasped to the side of the pit I was in "Please Lord, do not let me fall further" I thought.

My friend arrived, with trembling arms I hugged her. She reassured me best she could, and my mum guided me to her car. The fear inside me grew, but I was with my mum, she had seen me cry but now I had to be a big girl.

I saw the hospital, my stomach flipped and I thought I was going to faint. He was in there right now in a coma, on a ventilator! My mum squeezed my knee. I smiled at her with watery eyes.

She held my hand as I walked towards the hospital. We followed signs to ICU (Intensive Care Unit). We rang the bell, I have never been so scared in my life. We were not allowed in to see him as they were running tests. The nurse spoke to me but I heard nothing. I felt my mums arms around me, I felt numb, I responded as best I could.

We walked to the café, slowly. "Tea please mum" I said. She paid, I found a seat. We sat by the window, we were about 3 storeys high and could see the helicopter landing spot and A&E. I sipped my tea, the cleaner sang as she buffed the floor "...any dream will do...". Joseph and his technicoloured dream coat. I moaned to my mum about the cleaners horrendous voice, try to lighten the mood. My mum laughed but still looked at me with concern. I was hurting, but I knew she was too. Afterall she once loved this man. "He's going to be ok right?" I asked. "I don't know dear" my mother responded. She forced a smile at me, I forced one back.

After an hour, or maybe two, of waiting we were allowed in. Once again the nurse spoke as she led me to his bedside, I heard nothing. We haulted at the foot of his bed, the nurse explained what was happening to him, or what had happened and what they were doing with him. I heard nothing. I looked at my dads lifeless body on the bed. He had a towel wrapped around his head to keep him warm. He had pipes down his throat and tubes going in everywhere. The machinery around him was full of lights, sometimes it bleeped. Silent tears rolled down my face. I reached under the sheet to grasp his hand. His skin was as cold as ice. I looked at him, I looked at the machines. I looked at the towel wrapped around his head, I giggled. "If *H* was here he may mistake you as Taliban and shoot you dead" I whispered. H was on his way, I longed for his touch and reassurance.

My mother and I sat there just looking at him for a long time...

"Please be ok" I text my dads mobile phone.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011


The sun doesn't always shine in my life.

I'm not even quite sure how to write this post, or what to put in it to be honest. If I ramble I apologise!

When I'm happy I feel like I'm on top of the world and nothing can stop me! I feel more like me, and I can make jokes and laugh. A real laugh! Why can't I always feel that way!

H and I had a fantastic weekend. After three weeks apart it was so good to see him! I had craved his touch, his voice. I was so happy to sit on my sofa and snuggle up to my man. I was happy!

This may sound silly, but I felt so chuffed when H asked me to go to golf with him. He's always said he plays golf to get away from things to clear his mind. The things he used to have to get away from was me. The thought that he actually wanted to spend that time with me made me so happy. He said he'd hire a buggy and we'd drive around the course, and have some good chats. Secretly I knew he wanted to show off his golf skills, haha! But he wanted to spend time with me, serious time!

We drove up the windy road to the Celtic Manor. I'd dropped him off here before, but I'd never been excited for that. I was excited this time! I was dressed up in some navy trousers, pink Lyle & Scott jumper and a pink camp. I looked like a golfer, so at least I fitted in! Armed with a picnic I jumped into the buggy. Eeeek! This was going to be awesome! H played whilst I watched, beaming with smiles! We shared giggles, kisses and I helped him find his balls. His golf balls that is!! He only lost it once, on the first hole!

It got dark too fast, so we only reached the 16th hole. But those 4 hours were brilliant. Some H and I time that was so needed after three weeks of struggling without him.

He had a long weekend home, and didn't have to leave until the Tuesday. Now it's Wednesday. It's horrible sat here without him. It may have only been five nights with him home, but I enjoyed cooking his dinner. I enjoyed watching our programmes cwtched up on the sofa (cwtched is welsh, shall I say cuddled up on the sofa).

Now that I'm alone the dark cloud rolls in. I sit here with eyes filling up, and a trembling lip. Why is it that when I'm alone all I can think about is Afghanistan, and about how it will be when he's deployed in four months time.

When the dark cloud hangs over my head it's hard to smile, it's hard to be happy, to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Curling up in a ball sounds good, but I know I have to press on. Do the dishes, fix the kids lunches for tomorrow, and get myself to bed at a reasonable hour!

H sends me soppy text messages, and they do make me smile. After three and a half years of being together he still brightens my mood with just a text. He's my leaning post. The dark cloud has a sun shining behind it, that sun never goes, it only hides. It's trying to shine through. Maybe tomorrow it will blind me!

Monday, 24 October 2011


I suppose I have to tell H about my depression, as he will be wondering why I'm popping pills every day! I did not want him to think or feel that because of this he has to get back with me. I do not need sympathy and I want him to want to be with me, not to feel that he has to because he feels bad!

I rang him in tears, he sounded genuinely concerned. It was nice to hear that reaction in his voice, in an odd way. "I've been diagnosed with depression". Saying that out loud to a loved one did not sound right. I felt like a nutter! I explained everything to H. I also explained how I felt about the situation. "All I want is to be happy again, I really love you. I need you to want me, to love me. Please don't give me false hope just for feeling sorry for me".

"I've had a lot of time to think. I want to help you, I want to stick by you. I do love you. I've realised something, I've realised that I've fallen into a pit too. I just don't seem to care about much at all since Afghanistan. I mean, sometimes I care, but sometimes I feel nothing. I've spoken to one of the boys, who lost his marriage be use of this. This won't happen to us. We still have stepping stones, but at least we've both hit realisation." He really did care, I thought. Hearing those words was like music to my ears.

I started my medication. H wanted to come home to me there and then, unfortunately it was a Wednesday. When the day came that he came home, he kissed me. That's all I'd wanted, to feel that kiss! The only way was up!

As H and I walked across the stepping stones, holding hands and guiding each other, I waited patiently for the medication to kick in. Two weeks my doctor had said, it had been two weeks! The crying had stopped, but I could still feel the cold stone of the bare floor of rock bottom. H holding my hand warmed my body, but the anxiety within me sometimes took over my mind!

My follow up appointment was booked to see the doctor. I told him the crying had stopped, but I was very anxious about silly things, like going to church, going shopping. I felt sick when it came to things I had to do as routine. The doctor has upped my medication, doubled the dose!

Seven weeks on the medication.
I still have down days and moments of weakness. I've started crying at my desk in work. Sometimes I know what's triggered me off, sometimes I just cry. H has turned back into my rock. He knows I don't want sympathy, but he knows when to hold his comments and hug me.

H's next tour of Afghanistan is nibbling at my mind constantly. He's being sent out a month earlier now, and I feel stupid moaning, I feel stupid crying, but I can't help it. We make plans for when he returns, but the thought "what if" plays on my mind. I try to shake it off but it takes hold of me and I crumble.

H loves me, and I love him. We are back on the right path, and thankfully, together we are pulling each other through.

Think of a wonderful thought!

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


Following my previous blog post, I am sure you're all fully aware that I struggled with adjusting to H being home on his last leave at home.

The Wednesday after this leave Family Day at camp was scheduled. I'd planned to stay with the only wife from the battalion that I was close to. I was excited to see her, but my mind was still confused as to how I felt about going to Family Day and putting on my smiles for everyone.

I drove the familiar route to the battalions previous barracks, as my friend (N) had not moved to the new location. I started my drive late, as I'd been working all day on the Tuesday. The route was tedious. I had driven it so many times I'm sure I could do it with my eyes closed! I set my iPhone to shuffle and linked it up to my car. I had been driving for a couple of hours when I reached Reading. My junction was coming up. The song changed, on came Snow Patrol - You Could Be Happy. My stomach did somersaults, and it was most definitely full of butterflies! The emotion and raw feeling of my relationship hit me. I held back the tears as I had the children in the back. Whenever I used to listen to this song I used to feel a bit smug, thinking that my relationship was perfect and nothing could take that away! How did I find myself in this current, so real, rut?! I felt like I want to drive to my husband and shake him. I had not spoken to him properly since he left to go back to work. I craved for some loving words, a loving text. All I wanted was a reminder that he did love me, and that I did love him. I knew the love was in me, but it felt suppressed. My mouth was dry and my body ached. That song, that album flooded my mind with the past. The perfect past. I could not pin point when we had started pushing each other away.

I got to N's house. All the emotion from hearing that song pushed to the back of my head. I was just being a drama queen, just being silly.

I was extremely anxious about seeing H, the children on the other hand were very very excited! Having never been to the new barracks it was stressful enough getting there. Time to put on my smiles! H gave me a kiss upon arrival, what had I been anxious about? The day went fabulously and we had a great laugh.

The day somehow turned sour. As N and I were getting ready to leave, H disappeared. I went to his room to see where he was. He sat on his bed watching Dragons Den, obviously annoyed at something, but what? 'Great, here we go' I thought!

It seemed that I had apparently had attitude and I was always moody. H continued to say that I am never happy anymore, and refused (in his drunken state) to walk me and the children to the car. My blood boiled. How dare he ruin my perfect day? I could not see in any way that I had been in a bad mood or had attitude.

I stayed with N that night again. After putting the boys to bed we stayed up and chatted. I cried. My mind and sanity was fragile and I had no idea what was going on with my relationship. I worked myself up into such a state that I made myself ill, drained and deflated. My energy levels pointed at zero.

Still in a state of confusion I drove back to Wales. Having not spoken to H my situation had not been made any clearer in my mind. Things went from bad to worse. After a night out with a friend, H came home in a horrid frame of mind. I had sat up all night crying, not knowing what was going on or what was to come.

I wanted to talk, I needed to talk. It seemed that H was not quite ready to talk, or even that he wanted to. I felt sick with worry, and anxiety. My mind was racing at 100mph. Before I knew it I found his wedding ring in my hand, and I heard the words "We've tried, and we've been through this so many times. It's not working. You're not the girl I fell in love with, you're miserable all the time".

I could not breathe! What? How? Why? My head spun.

For the rest of the weekend I stayed out of his way. What could I say? I was convinced he was a nutter, delusional! Of course I was happy. It was him! The time came for him to go back to work. I was too upset, too hurt to attempt to rectify anything. I was numb. We both agreed that we needed space. He needed time to reflect and see that he is the one with the problem. How dare he think this was me! We decided on no contact unless necessary. Reflection does not need to be clouded over with negative thoughts or desperate words. He hugged me before he left. I did not want to let go, in fear that this may be the end and this may be my final hug. I did love him, extremely. I just had no idea what was going on.

He left. I cried. Then I cried some more.

I was convinced that H would reflect and see his errors and would come back. I had to hold onto something, and that was my something. I could feel the love inside me heating up. It was still there, I knew it was, but had H's gone out?

Days passed and I continued to cry. I cannot describe this feeling other than numb. If I wasn't crying, I was empty. He made me whole, could he not see this? I went into work, I cried. I had not eaten properly for days, almost a week. I could not sleep. I was empty and numb, surely I had no tears left to cry? They continued to come.

People started to worry. I started to worry. What was going to happen? It had been almost a week now. I still could not eat, restless nights became the norm. I had had enough, but refused to call H in fear that I would push him further away.

I decided to reflect myself. I tried clearing my mind of the emptiness. Sounds silly right?

I sat there and realisation hit me. I was miserable all the time. I cannot remember my last day of feeling happy. Had a slowly sunk into this dip? I felt like such a fool. "Go and reflect" I'd said. "You need help" I'd said. "Just admit it's you, you have a problem" I'd said.

Suddenly I realised I needed help. Maybe it was me. I knew it was a definite that I needed help sleeping. My mind raced. I spoke to a friend. It was time to get someone elses point of view, someone else who knows first hand how I am feeling. I was still numb. My body was lifeless.

I telephoned the doctor, in hope of an appointment. 'If I could get one decent nights sleep' I thought. Sat in the waiting room I felt a bit silly. I felt fine. Why was I going to the doctors? I'm going to come across as a nutter if I go in there and there's nothing wrong with me. I had not cried all morning. There was nothing wrong with me.

My name came up on the screen. In I went. At the first question my eyes filled up. I tried to talk. I had felt like this for so long that it was hard to believe I had a problem, that it wasn't just the way I was. The doctor was excellent. Talked me through everything. Most he knew, due to my previous breakdown in the doctors chair with a different doctor merely a few months before. After a quick assessment, a few questions, a few more tears and trembling voiced answers, the doctor realised this was not a recent change. I had depression. My problem is that I am so used to being able to put my smiles on. I exhaust myself. Unfortunately by doing this I had managed to push the people closest to me away. It was time to accept help!

Monday, 29 August 2011


So today marks the last day of H's three week summer leave. In roughly seven months he will be leaving for Afghanistan. It was this time before his last tour that we met, seven months before he left. So, last time we were wooing each other, we were in the honeymoon period. This time we are well established, we're married, we have a gorgeous son. Last time I had J, but our relationship was mainly just H and I. Right now my mind is pickled as to how I feel about H's next tour. Now his summer leave is over it's time for him to train himself (or for the army to train him) into a killing machine. I feel like this time around there will be no wooing, I'm going to be put on a shelf and be picked up when I'm needed for a quick reality fix. Let's hope my feelings are wrong.

I understand that I'm not only married to H, I'm married to the army too. However I do not want the both to merge when it comes to my relationship, I am married to H not an Action Man.

This leave has been a different one. It has been great to see H with the children, there were Sergeant Major moments, but when I see the three of them together my heart aches. The children get used to him being home then he disappears again. Poof! Like a fairy God mother in a pantomime, "He's behind you" - oh no wait, he was, now he's gone.
If I ask T where Daddy is, his response is "Daddy gone, out the door".

As for H and I this leave, it has been very weird. The first week was lovely, but it quickly turns into that statement you hear so often from people who have been on holiday - "A week is too short, two weeks is too long". My oh my, this leave was three weeks. The amount of times I prayed for patience and strength. I found it very hard to adjust to having someone in the house every day, someone who doesn't go to bed before you, therefore eliminating your chill down time. I use that time to watch mind numbing TV. A time when I can do nothing. No conversation.
The result of this made me feel a bit like a sardine, even though there were only two of us in the room. I felt a bit suffocated.
It seems that he just flutters into my life, and expects me to adjust straight away, then he just flutters away again. Like the moment a butterfly lands on you, you're all anxious and scared to move just in case it flies away. You heart pumps, then when the butterfly's gone, it is like you have never even been touched.

Whilst H is getting under my feet, all I keep thinking is that he's going back to work soon. Then when the day comes that he's off I hurt. I have wasted my time with trying to adjust. Why was it so hard this time? I never wanted to become on of "those" wives, the moaning ones. But I couldn't hold it in any more. I went to a friends house and just let it out. That really helped. We shared experiences, even though are partners are in different regiments. It accured to me how important it is to know people in the same boat as yourself. I went back to H feeling quite refreshed, but not yet adjusted.

When I feel like I'm finally adjusting, and my house is no longer a pit, and that pile of army things that came with him is sorted, he decides to flutter away. Why does it take so long to adjust? Did I actually adjust, or did I just relax at the thought of him going back to work? Who knows, but either way I hope it happens sooner with his next leave time. I need to prepare myself for his return a little better, none of my friends have to prepare for their husbands company! This life never gets easier, even when they're just in this country.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


My opinions change often with the option of whether to live in an Army house (pad) near my husbands base. It was never an issue before H & I got married, because it wasn't an option, and I had firm beliefs that it was a no-go option and I would never move.

I do however find it hard at times when I talk to the one friend I do have that lives in a pad. She talks about coffee mornings, and has the option to go on little trips provided by the battalion. I get nothing, I often wonder if the Welsh Guards even know I exist!

I often feel very alone living at home in Wales. The three girls I do talk to are now ex-army partners as their husbands/boyfriends have left the army following the battalions last deployment. I've started getting closer to one of the army girlfriends, but now her partner is leaving the army just before the battalions next tour.

The anticipation of H leaving for Afghanistan again is horrible, never mind the thought that this time I will be alone with no-one around me who actually truly understands. Sure I have my friends and my family, but will they be hurting when I'm hurting, will they understand the hurt? And then there are those moments when I have to bite my lip whilst I listen to them tell me that they know what I'm going through because they're husbands/boyfriends go away on holidays for a week and tell me how hard it is for them. All I hear is "blah blah blah". I have to hold back from screaming "ATLEAST YOU KNOW HE'S NOT GETTING SHOT AT". They compare the fact that they may die on the journey over on the plane. What? So H doesn't also go on a plane to get to AFGHANISTAN where he is also a target to be killed?! ARGH! I just smile and nod.

At least with fellow army wives I can say "I'm sorry, I'm not in the mood to be around company" and they will understand and not get offended. A lot of my friends no longer call or text me to see if I want to go out, or even to see if I want a coffee. They are the friends that don't understand and never will. I suppose I'm a little grateful for their lack of interest in our friendship, why do I want people like that in my life?

I am very blessed to have found life-long friendships in my church family. I can be myself with them and none of them judge me. They pop over just to see if I'm ok, and if I need any help. They sit and pray with me, they watch me cry, they watch my laugh. They may not understand what I'm going through, but they know how to make me feel that little bit better, especially when they come over with cake!

My family are ok at understanding, but they have their own lives to deal with. Having become an only child at the age of 14 I know that my mum is always there no matter what. She cooks for me when I'm low to ensure I eat, she takes the children out when I need a break, and every Monday she takes J to his karate lesson because I can't as T is in bed. But even to my mum I can put on a front, and smile when I'm dying inside. This is because I don't want to hurt her by seeing me cry. I know that sounds silly, but that's the way my mind works sometimes.

During H's last tour my good friend A was still an army wife. We often met up for lunch or dinner. We were both pregnant, so neither of us wanted to go to the pub and forget our situations. We would just waddle around! It was nice. This time around I will not have my fellow waddler, her husband is now working on civvy street. Yes she can relate and relive her experiences, but this tour will be a different experience to last, can I take her opinion as comforting? Time will see.

One reason it took me so long to up and leave J's father was due to loneliness. And then I started this life, a life full of loneliness. Fortunately it is also a life of pride. Had this life been with a "regular" guy I would've booted him out by now. Never home, out with the boys during the week, only seeing his children at weekends. I may have chosen to date a soldier, but it was a matter of weeks before I fell in love with him, it was not a conscious decision to live this life, it was a decision made by my heart.

My reason for not wanting to move into a pad is because I cannot bare the thought of moving my children from school to school everytime the battalion move. They will have no "proper" friends, and to me that way of life is not stable enough for a child. In those moments when I'm trying to persuade myself that it will be a fun life for the children I then remember where my husband is currently based. The surrounding area to my husbands camp is 100% not suitable for a woman who is often left on her own, never mind bringing up children there.

I live in hope that one day the army will recognise me as my husbands wife, and will involve me so I no longer feel on the outside of the circle. Army life is definitely a bubble.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011


I woke up one Friday morning, realising that in just over a week I would have been a married woman for a year. Wow! Time goes so fast, I couldn't believe it. I sat there and thought "One year is Paper gift, right?! Divorce papers?". That made me chuckle. I didn't want to buy him paper, or a book, or even photographs. I pondered a while, then the perfect gift popped into my head, the gift required a trip into Cardiff. I knew which shop sold it as H and I had walked past and he'd commented on wanting to get it for his dad, even though I knew he wanted it for himself!

Penderyn Whisky. H has a history with this whisky, and you will now guess why he wanted to buy it for his dad. In H's youth his father had been given a rugby ball shaped bottle of Penderyn whisky. There were only ever 250 of these bottles made. His father had no intention of drinking it, but kept it on a shelf in the kitchen.
After a night out with the boys, H and a friend arrived home slightly tipsy (well probably extremely drunk, H has hollow legs!). They thought it would be a good idea to open and drink H's fathers whisky. They drank it all. I'm not sure what consequences this action created but I'm 100% sure H's dad wasn't very happy the next morning.

J was out with a friend, so I went into Cardiff with T on my own. The first place I went when I got into the city was the Welsh shop that sold the perfect gift. I headed straight for the whisky counter. The guy talked me through the gift boxes they sold, and whilst he was doing so T was shouting and pointing "Daddy, Daddy!". I looked over the man's shoulder who was serving me, and hanging on the wall in a dark wooden frame was a picture of a young boy wearing a bright red tunic. I scanned the picture, counting the buttons on the tunic. "That's not Daddy, he doesn't have 5 buttons". T looked at me and back at the picture. The man behind the counter said "Oh that's my nephew, he's a Grenadier Guard". I explained that my husband was a Welsh Guard and the man proceeded to ask if he'd ever been in Afghanistan. We spoke for a while, then he looked at me and said "His mother has said if he ever goes back it would kill her, too much stress. She was petrified whilst he was there". So many emotions flooded my head in waves. I smiled and responded with "Yes it is quite difficult, but you just have to accept it I guess". I paid for my purchase and left. This guy had me thinking, H and I had got married, and H had met Tomas, but it could've been so different. I was extremely blessed to have H in my life, and blessed to know that God is faithful and protected him whilst deployed. Talking to that guy also reminded me of the life I had chose. I know my decision was the right one, however hard it gets. Within the last year we have had our difficulties. The first year of marriage isn't all about holding hands and skipping through meadows.

Looking back on our year of Mr & Mrs is a strange one, what can I see that has changed? We still lived in the same house, I still only saw my husband at weekends. Life doesn't change.

I look into the future, into our next year and the things we will face. Another tour, Herrick 16. It loomed like a dark cloud, it crept into my mind every silent second. In work I would hear a song from his last tour and my eyes would fill up, the anxiety overwhelming. I tried to shake it off, but I let things in, and sometimes they overtake me. During H's last tour I was just his girlfriend/fiancée, this time around I was his wife, his next of kin. I have nightmares of uniformed men knocking at the door whilst I'm at work. This terrifies me. I loved him more than ever now, and in' just going to love him more when it's time to say goodbye for 7 months.
I do shut the thoughts to the back of my mind, but they lay dormant and sting me every now and again.

One thing that plays on my mind is the children, J has been through this before, at least I know he's my corner stone and keeps me stable. But this time T will be knowing, he will understand that his Daddy has been gone for a while. T was barely a year old when H went to Kenya for 6 weeks. It was hard. I redecorated the living room whilst he was gone, and it was leading up to Christmas.
I was the "single" woman lugging a Christmas tree through B & Q, I was the "single" woman squeezing the tree into my little Fiesta, and I was the "single" woman sawing off the end of the tree in the front garden to fit into our stand. I did all this with paint on my hands and clothes, as I had literally just completed the living room! I felt independent and strong, but I was still surgically attached to my mobile willing for it to ring. Whilst H was in Kenya I hardly heard a peep, I think he was in his third or fourth week before I received a phonecall, I sent him emails though (I got the address from a fellow Army wife).
When H was back in the UK I drove to his barracks to pick him up. The excitement was unbearable! I knew he would look sexy, all tanned. I turned into the barracks and stopped before the gate. The butterflies were ridiculous, I could feel my stomach doing somersaults. I caught a glimpse of a tall, thin, uniformed soldier. I stared. It was him! I jumped out of the car, and ran. I gripped him and squeezed. He smiled at me and we kissed. It may have only been 6 weeks without my man, but 6 weeks was enough with hardly any contact at all. I could count on one hand the amount of calls I'd received from him.
H was very excited to see the boys. He'd bought them presents. My dad was at the house looking after the boys, and I let him know when we were on our way home. It was late, and there was snow.
When we parked up my butterflies returned, I had no idea how T was going to react, or even if he'd remember his Dad. My father had kept him up so H could see him. We opened the door and I heard a squeal from the living room. T went crazy when he saw H. He remembered. He started running the length of the room, and head-butting the sofa. He jumped all over H, it was unbelievable, but lovely just the same.

I just pray that T remembers H after a longer period away, and I pray that it does not affect T in a negative way. It's a wait and see matter.

When I look back on my life with H I smile, when I look into our future I smile (even if it is sometimes forced). And right now, I look at H, I look at his perfectly formed lips, at his handsome eyes and I cherish it. I sometimes don't like the situations I find myself in, but when I remember why I'm doing them I smile. I do it all for him!

Thursday, 4 August 2011


I was brought up with God in my life. I went to Catholic primary and secondary school, also doing Performing Arts in a Catholic college (which I thought to be a wasted topic so dropped out after 8 months). I had been Christened, and followed this up with my Holy Communion. I did not go through with the Confirmation, at that age I was beginning to think "Why do I need yo' do these strict ceremonies to have a faith?!" and I rebelled a bit. I have never stopped believing in God, even if my faith has been a bit of a rollercoaster.

Whilst in Secondary school I attended mass every Friday, and my faith was apparent. Our priest was funny, he was rather young and used to play the banjo and sing a lot.

When my brother died, I did not go off the rails, or turn into an uncontrollable mess. I did however shut down a bit. If God was real why would he have let my brother do that to himself? If God was real why didn't he stop the pain I was feeling?

People treated me different after my brother died. I still wanted to be a teenager, why couldn't people just see that I was still me? I was still Kirsty! People did not need to smile that awkward smile whilst passing in the corridor. Just be normal, please!

Only weeks, maybe two months maximum, after my brother killed himself, I had a school tripped planned and booked to go to London. Just to be on the "safe side", my teachers thought it would be best if I and my roomy had a room (the only pupil room) on the same floor as them in the hotel. Why? I wasn't going to need them. I wasn't suddenly going to let everything out and open up to them!

I think my emotions and anxiety and depression became apparent one day at school, in a Welsh lesson. It was not my teachers fault, although I still wish he had looked up and seen me in his class before opening his mouth. He skimmed his eyes over all our miserable faces (not taking any of the faces in, otherwise he'd have realised that the next thing to come out of his mouth was not appropriate). He stood up, and trying to be a friendly teacher and be "cool", he started talking about the previous nights television programmes. His opening line was "Did anyone see that programme on prisons last night? It's crazy you know, even before they're settled into the room they get shown by other inmates how to tie the correct knot in order to hang themselves". All eyes on my table stared at me. I had no choice. I grabbed my bag, and ran out the door into the girls toilets. I heard my teacher gasp in horror as I walked out the door and he realised what he had just done.

After that I started having councelling with the schools priest. We never once sat and read the bible, and he never preached to me. But that was, maybe, the first time I saw God doing his thing through good people. That priest will never know how much he helped by just talking to me, and it's awful that I can't even remember his name. But I thank him for helping me through.

Upon leaving school I never followed God in any way. I was pregnant at the age of 17, and also rebelled a bit in my late teen/early twenties by going out and getting drunk at weekends.

As you've all read, I met my husband when I was 22. From leaving school until then I hadn't really given God a thought. I spoke to my brother, who I believed to be with God in Heaven, and I had attended a few services at a Spiritualist church in hope that my brother would give me a message.

It was time to be welcomed into my current church just before H was deployed for Afghanistan. It was a totally new experience for me. They sang and danced, and the speaker really spoke to me. Even though H would not be here to go with me every week, I took it upon myself to start going every Sunday, not only to see my sister-in-law but also to sing, to listen, to cry tears full of hope.

I read the bible, getting a lot from the Psalms whilst H was away. I spoke to God, I prayed for H. I prayed that he was home for the birth of T, I prayed that he came home in one piece, I prayed that he came home alive. I didn't only pray for his safe return, I prayed for his comfort whilst out there, and I prayed for myself, for inner strength to get me through each day. God answered these prayers.

When H returned home from Afghanistan I continued to go to church, and H joined me occasionally. I now thanked God for H's return, I thanked God for our baby boy, and I thanked God for keeping our family knitted even though we had been through some form of hell.

In February 2010, Valentines Day, H did not feel up to coming to church. I went alone. That day I raised my hand and gave my life to Jesus. I laughed, I cried. I was happy. Since that day, we have still had our struggles, but I look up at God and I know he will help me.

Some people do not understand why I am a Christian. But let me tell you this... When the person you love the most is in a dangerous situation, you need to seek faith and hope yo' help you through the day. And when you hear my following story you will see God's work in action.

H came home from Afghanistan and I finally got to hear some situations he had found himself in. One of these "stories" was very hard to hear, as things could have turned out so differently.

H was out on patrol at night, the route they had planned had already been checked for bombs etc. All was safe fir the boys to go ahead. Whilst on route God told H he needed to stop and not take one more step forward. H stopped. All the boys were shouting at him to continue on, but he refused. He demanded light on his path before he continued. As his path was lit up, two IED's could be seen in front of H's feet. One more step and he would have been gone. Some call that coincidence, but who was that voice inside H's head telling him to stop, and not to take one more step.

If you would like to, please read Psalm 18. I read this scripture a lot whilst H was away on deployment. The Lord is my strength.

Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT)

Monday, 1 August 2011


So I've met my best friend, I've fallen in love with him, I've had his baby and I've married him. Time to fill in a few gaps in this pavement.

Whilst H was in Afghanistan my birthday was looming. I was pregnant with T, so I could hardly drown my sorrows and forget the pain of spending a birthday without him by my side.

The anxiety whilst a loved one is away is very hard, and with a special occasion on the horizon, you crave for them more than ever. I remember it well. H had called a few days before the date of my birthday, he warned me so that I wouldn't be upset. He told me that he wouldn't talk to me now for over a week as he was very very busy and out on the ground a lot, he said he didn't have a phone in the base he was heading. My heart sank, even though he was able to wish me a wonderful birthday during that conversation, I knew it wouldn't be enough when it came to my actually birthday. I cried when I got off the phone to him. I cried because of the anxiety I felt about not talking to him for several days, and I cried because I wouldn't hear his voice on my birthday.

My birthday came, I stayed at my mothers. I was surrounded by family, but felt completely alone and separate from the world. I put on smiles whilst I opened gifts, and even though I really did appreciate my gifts, I tried so hard to look happy that I may have come across as spoilt, unappreciative, and rude. False smiles never win, they do not shine.

It was approaching evening time, my mother was taking me and J for a meal down the beach front. We could walk there from her house. I was merely 10 steps away from my mothers front door when my phone started ringing, could it be? I ran in front of J and my mum, fumbling in my bag to reach my phone in time. I looked down at it, tears filling my eyes. That satellite number flashed on my screen. "Hello?"

"Happy Birthday baby". I cried. If my mum and my son hadn't have been a few pace behind me I think I would have collapsed in excitement. He explained to me how he couldn't not call me, it had been killing him all of that day, knowing I would have been feeling alone. He told me how he'd had to run to a nearby base to use there phone, and stupidly told me that he'd been shot at whilst running there. He laughed it off. I cried.

I didn't need flowers, diamonds, lavish gifts. All I needed on that day was to hear my mans voice, and my wish was granted. H will never know what those 3 little opening words did for me that day - "Happy Birthday baby"!

My mum hugged me when I got off the phone. And we walked (I almost skipped, I felt that good) down the beach. I looked out at the sea. I asked for a moment, and I walked to the end of the pier, in my head the further out into the sea I was the closer I was to him, my man. I looked up at the skies, "Thank you" I whispered.

My birthday didn't feel so lonely after all. That one call made me forget the anxiety of the day that night. I slept well. I had heard from my best friend.

Think of a wonderful thought...

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


How can someone explain the anxiety, the excitement, the nerves of a Bride the night before her wedding?

One sleep! This was it, I had one night left as being "me". Not a lot will change once I am married, but I will have a new name. This was hard to get my head around. I sat in my mothers conservatory and scribbled my new signature on a piece of scrap paper. I was running out of room. A couple of weeks beforehand I'd text H's sister in a slight panic worried about whether I'd sign the register with my maiden name or my married name. It was to be signed in my maiden name, the last time I ever sign that signature. I practised my new scribble anyway, just to get the feel of it. It felt good.

I longingly wanted to text or call H the night before our Big Day. I hadn't seen him for a week as he'd been in work, on ceremonial duties outside The Queen's home, Buckingham Palace. H was glad that he had been promoted since his last time on ceremonial duty. This time he no longer had to stand still outside the palace, and randomly march when bored. He simply marched out and changed the guards. I took the children to watch him a few weeks before the wedding. J understood and was so excited when he saw Daddy marching along out of St James' Palace. We stood close enough to hear his distinctive Welsh accent read the guard his "rights" (if that's what they're called!). It was funny to see him, dressed in that trademark red tunic, and what seemed like a gigantic Bear Skin on his head. Once H had done his bit, I grabbed the children and we ran to the front of Buckingham Palace to watch the big, rehearsed, changing of the guard. H told us where to stand to get best view of him. It made me giggle, watching all these "toy soldiers" marching around. Even though H hates the fact he has to guard the Royal Family, I definitely felt proud as I stood there and watched him. Everything timed perfectly.

I had spoken to H the week before the wedding, but I knew I couldn't speak to him the night before. I'm by no means superstitious but I knew I wasn't to talk to him. He stayed at his mothers that night, and I stayed with my mum. I had a bath and relaxed as much as I could. I thought I wouldn't be able to sleep that night, but I slept like a baby.

'BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP'! I was already awake. The alarm startled me into the real world however. The day was here, it was really here. I looked over at the wardrobe where my beautiful wedding dress was hanging. I ran my fingers over the clear casing it was in. Butterflies flew around my stomach. My phone buzzed and the front door knocked. My bridesmaids. My gorgeous cousin S was at the door, and my dear friend L was on her way. I ran downstairs, my mum was cooking me poached egg and smoked salmon on a toasted muffin. Delicious. Once that had gone down we popped the bottles of Marks & Spencer's pre mixed cocktails. Another knock at the door and my hairdresser arrived. My hairdresser was also one of my best friends. Her mum was my florist and rang whilst she was with me to say that the venue looked superb. The hairs all over my body stood on end, and I gave a little shudder. Excitement ran through my veins.
With all of our hair done, we loaded the car with ourselves and our belongings (including my dress). We all managed to squeeze into my mums bright yellow Mini. Not quite the entrance of a bride, but luckily the hotel had given me the Bridal suite all day so I was getting ready there.
H rang my bridesmaids as we drove to the venue. They explained where we were and how long we would be to ensure he was hidden away in his room with his parents when I arrived. I grabbed my dress and ran up the staircase quickly to hid myself in the Bridal suite. "Kirsty?" I heard a Welsh accent behind me, I turned and saw H's dad. He gave me a smile and a wink, with that I carried on running.

I sat, fidgety, as my make-up was being done. My bridesmaids running around the room getting themselves ready. I looked over at L, who was cheekily laying out my Bridal lingerie on the four-poster bed.
The Febuary before the wedding, I had been sat in church and decided it was time for me to become a Christian. My mother-in-law & sister-in-law baptised me in the baptism pool within our church foyer. As I had done this, I therefore made H wait until our wedding night to make love. He was surprisingly cool with this, and said if that is my wish he shall be happy.
I blushed slightly looking at the lingerie. Butterflies once more swirled around my belly. "Pout your lips babe" my mum said to me. She applied the gloss over my lipstick. "There" she said "Beautiful". My mind quickly went off the thought of our first wedded night. It was time to step into the dress.

I now looked like a bride. A real bride. My hair was done, my make-up was done, I had a beautiful dress on. This was it. I looked at my bridesmaids, my mum had scurried off to get herself ready. We all looked amazing. L picked up the box of my Something New. I smiled at her and sat on the bed. One after the other she did the honour of slipping on my shoes. S passed me my Something Blue, I carefully slid my vintage French lace garter, complete with blue Swarofski crystal heart, up my thigh. My Something Old and Something Borrowed was one item. One of the girls gently draped my Great Nan's pearls around my neck and fastened the diamond encrusted clip. Tears filled my eyes as my father walked in the room and set eyes upon my dress for the first time. He coughed "You look beautiful" he said, and kissed me on the cheek. I wanted to grab him and hug him and tell him I love him, in fear of ruining my look and squeezed his hand and said "Thank you". My dad wasn't one to show emotion openly. That was enough.

My bridesmaids securely fitted my veil, and I was complete.

I linked arms with my father, and we walked together down the corridor. He held my hand tightly as I took baby steps down the stairs, my legs turning to jelly. The hotel manager met me at the bottom step, "Would you like a glass of water?"
I thought gin more appropriate, but accepted his offer. Other hotel guests gasped and whispered "she looks beautiful" as I walked through the lounge with my entourage. My registrar met my before I reached the room in which I was to wed. Her name was Jodie. She told me H was there, and drinking nervously from his hip flask. I could hear the sweet, calming sound of the harpist. My mind was hazy.
I looked down to see J (aged 5 at the time), dressed as a page boy, smiling at me. "You look pretty mummy", my heart leapt. I bowed down, took his hand and kissed his cheek. "Remember what you have to do, you have the biggest responsibility of all." He nodded. "When Jodie asks for the rings you must come forward and hold out mummy and daddy's rings. Ok baby boy?". He nodded again.
He took my niece's hand. The harpist started playing Canon in D. This was me, this was my part. I heard the guests stand up. My dad ushered my page boy and my flower girl through the doors, off the skipped. I looked at my dad, panicked. My veil, I wanted my veil over my face. What a time to decide huh?!
My bridesmaids rushed around me. Over my face the veil went. I breathed. In went my cousin S. Then at the next point, in went L. I linked arms with my dad, and he held my hand using his other arm. "I love you" he said, "I love you too dad". Off we went.
The smell of my Wedding Day Yankee Candles filled my nostrils. It seemed like thousands of faces staring at me, but we only had 60 guests. I turned into the aisle.

At that moment, the perfect moment, my heart definitel skipped a beat. H turned to look at me, Canon in D being played by the harpist still. His smile bowled me over. I felt like I was floating. He reached out to me, like Prince Charming with Cinderella, as I reached the bottom of my 1000 mile walk down the aisle. My dad carefully pulled the veil back from my face, and H kissed me.

This was the perfect beginning to the perfect day.

The day went by about 100mph, but I cherish every moment.

In the evening the DJ announced our first dance. The Script- I'm Yours. As far as H and I were concerned we were the only people in that room. A lot of people later told me that they'd managed to keep it together until then. My Prince and I.
We danced our first dance along, we then invited people to join the dance floor to our second dance. Our song, Set The Fire To The Third Bar by Snow Patrol.
I could not have asked for a better day or not.

I managed to drag my father up for our dance. We danced alone for the first minute or so, and I heard my mum say from a table nearby "She really loves him", she said this in a beautiful way, in a happy way. I blinked fast to stop my tears as a response to that statement. Half way though George Michael & Elton John - Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me, J joined us. We held J's hands and danced around the dancefloor, 3 generations.

That night H and I hurried up the hotel stairs to the Bridal suite...

All elements of the day fulfilled. Welcome to married life, as an Army Wife...

Monday, 6 June 2011


What is normal? I knew life and H would never be the same again after his tour to Afghanistan. Too many friends lost, too many people killed. He'd killed people, confirmed kills. How does someone deal with that?
You'd think T would've given his daddy a chance to get back into his family role before saying hello. I suppose life doesn't wait for anything. You just have to take it as it comes.

For the first few months of T's life, myself and H were a little disconnected from each other and the world. H would drink, and I remember him staying up until silly o'clock because he couldn't sleep. Within his first week of being home, and the first week of T's life, we had been to church and H had been for quiet words with his close friend. Something I was grateful of, H wouldn't talk to me about his experiences out there, not like he needed to. He needed to talk to someone who was able to understand, even if that person understood only a little. I would get upset if he spoke to me, have nightmares.
That night H lit a fire in our back garden, I gave him space. He needed to be alone sometimes, maybe he needed to cry, maybe he talked to lost friends, who knows, but I knew he needed time. He took with him a big Cuban cigar that my aunty had given him before he left, "This is for you, it's for you to smoke when you come home, safe!". In his other hand he took outside a bottle of Jäagermeïster, I'm not certain how much he drank.
I sat inside, J in bed, and T asleep next to me in his Moses basket. I was so tired from night feeds, I was curious but I didn't have to energy to peek on what he was doing. I don't know how long after I found out, but that night he sat out the garden, reading and then burning his last letters one by one. I'm glad of this, that is not a letter I'd like to find one day. It was written for a purpose, and thankfully that purpose didn't come to light. Curiosity used to sting me like a snake bite, but I knew that if I knew what he had written to me, to the children, it would haunt me for the rest of my life.

H was a good father. He'd always been excellent with J. If I wasn't breastfeeding I know he would've fed T, he'd wake up in the night and sit with me. When H went back to work I would sit alone feeding T, tears falling down my cheeks, I'd wipe them before they had a chance to fall onto T's face. I longed for his feet to be touching mine, for his cheeky kisses that would bring me to life when I was dozing off. At least he would be there at the weekend. I'd sometimes text him, but it was hit or miss whether he'd wake to his message. Those were lonely times.

I always wondered whether H would be "normal" again. He was thrown into war, only to be pulled out and thrown into fatherhood.
At weekends, and during his post-deployment leave we both floated around like zombies, me due to the night feeds and T draining every ounce of energy from me through the breastfeeding. H due to his lack of sleep and his intake of alcohol.

Once T was a bit more knowing, and actually did stuff like laugh, and follow H around the room, I think H perked up. The love from father to son was always there, but the frame of mind H must've been in seemed to fade it sometimes.
H loved play fighting with J, and J loved it too. They'd play pile on and tickle T together. It was beautiful to see these moments, like roses amongst the thorns. Life would get better, and go back. We just all needed time.

I was on a crazy mission to lose weight, I had daringly bought a wedding dress whilst pregnant. I had bought it in my pre-pregnancy size, and raced time to fit into it. I jogged a local park, and ate only a piece of fruit and a yoghurt for lunch.
I kept my dress in my mums attic room, to keep wandering eyes off it. Myself and a close friend dared a fitting, the zip was only going up half way. This was not good. I had to up my game.
In the June before the wedding I started a new job, routine I thought would help me from snacking. I also joined Slimming World. With H finally coming back to us, I would not let this minor issue (it was not minor to me) get to me, I would beat it, like H and I had beaten our separation and our crazy reunion.
Everything for the wedding was set. The stress of everything was being lifted. I could focus on my beautiful wedding day.

With a matter of months before the wedding I felt I was ready to fit the dress. As H was on ceremonial duty, he already had his outfit sorted! My mother and I slipped away, up to the attic. H grabbed my hand before I ran up the stairs after my mum. He kissed me, that was enough.
I ran upstairs with butterflies. I wriggles out of my clothes and stepped into the dress that my mother had laid out for me. She pulled it up, past my hips, I closed my eyes. I held my breath as she pulled the inner layer tight across my back, and with one pull the dress was fastened around my body. "It fits" I squealed. I looked at my mum, tears filling her eyes, she turned from me grabbed my veil and carefully placed it in my hair as we both looked into the mirror. That was the moment it was real, I was going to be a bride, a bride for the best man in the world. We giggled as I took it off and got re-dressed. The moment between mother and daughter the moment that dress is put on is magical.
"Right let's get married" I said when I got downstairs. With a kiss we sealed the deal.

Monday, 23 May 2011


As the countdown became less, I refused to pack my hospital overnight bag for when I went into labour. This, I thought, was tempting fate, and I was determined that this baby would not be born before my fiancé's return. I would commit myself to baby upon his homecoming.

The wedding planning was also coming along. After looking at numerous venues, I decided on the gorgeous New House Country Hotel in Cardiff. The views were magnificent, and you could see my hometown in the far distance. I took my mum to see it, and H's family, they all loved it. We originally wanted to get married on our two year anniversary of meeting, this date happened to fall on a Bank Holiday Monday, but the venue was free for this date. I rang the registrar, but they would not come out to marry us on this date. My heart sank! I rang the venue, and booked the nearest available day to this date. The 8th of August 2010. It seemed like a long time to wait, but I wanted our day to be perfect.

H had his homecoming date, which had stayed the same for some time, it was before my due date, but only by a day or two. This still worried me. I was convinced this baby was coming early, I had developed SPD (Symphosis Pubis Disfunction) and was on crutches. Even though I struggled with day-to-day tasks, I refused to call welfare to have H flown home. He loved his job, and if I could get by I would get by. I had friends and family around me to help every crutch-aided step of the way.
I always kept in contact with H's family while he was away, and his parents had bought the baby some things so asked if the could come over one evening to see me before H came home. This was fine with me, and I looked forward to seeing them.
The date they planned to come down came, and I made sure the house was spotless (with help from my mum). I was so tired and weak from the pregnancy that I didn't bother putting on any make-up. It was only the in-laws I thought, and with just over two weeks until my due date, I knew they'd understand if I didn't look my best.
H's mum text me throughout the day, letting me know that they had a few things to do before coming over but would be with me as soon as possible. This was fine with me, and I relaxed watching a bit of TV. I put J to bed, and waited. It was coming up to 7pm. With a fair way to travel, I thought I best text H's mother and check that everything was ok. They were on their way and wouldn't be long. I did think it weird that they would be popping up to see me so late, but shrugged it off, and waited patiently. I love new baby things, so I was excited for presents!
A little later I heard a knock on the door. I woddled to the door slowly, opening it tiredly. Only one person stood infront of me. Confusion washed over me, I stumbled back. My legs had turned to jelly, I held onto the stairs to keep myself up. I could not believe my eyes. Infront of my stood my fiancé! I don't think I quite gave him the reaction he was hoping for. I looked at him in a daze and asked "What's going on?". He nervously laughed, "It's me baby, I'm home". I lunged myself at him in tears. My countdown bell rang! He was home!
Still in shock, H guided me to the living room and sat me on the sofa. I did not know if I was dreaming. He held my hands together and pulled me closer. He kissed me gently on the lips as I cried tears of happiness.
My wait was over. My soldier had returned, all my prayers answered. He was safe, unharmed and home in time for the birth of our baby boy.
I did not get the excitement, and butterflies that all military WAGs get when waiting for their man to walk through the door after a long tour. I did not get the chance to make myself look beautiful, I didn't even have any makeup on. What a mess I must've looked! H laughed when I moaned about the state I was in, he looked me in the eye and said "Baby, you look gorgeous. You always look gorgeous". This made me blush slightly, as even though we had been together over a year, and I was carrying his child, the moment they come home from a 6 month tour it is like a new relationship. You need to get to know each other all over again. You need to familiarise yourself with their ways, and adjust back into the regular routine of having a partner. I was even slightly coy when it came to him kissing me. This feeling is exciting, and joyful. It makes the wait worth it.
His parents decided to come in for a cup of tea, I was still in a state of shock. I remember sitting there and looking over at my mother-in-law thinking "is this really happening"! They didn't stay for long, and we were left alone. It still felt like a dream. He was so handsome, and tanned. I could've looked at him forever. He touched my belly "Hello chickabean, Daddy is home and cannot wait to meet you". He bent down and kissed my bump gently, looking up at me he reached forward and kissed me on my nose. "I love you, Kirsty". Tears started rolling again, tears of utter happiness. That night I lay in bed, with the knowledge that my man was laying next to me, safe. I fell asleep with his arms around me and a big smile on my face.

I woke during the night with lower back pain. H was concerned but I told him not to be silly. I woke again, "It's ok babe, I'm only having some Braxton Hicks". Braxton Hicks is a term used for mock labour pains that you feel whilst pregnant. They are not labour pains. But as my pains got stronger and regular I started doubting myself. I was in labour, this baby was coming 15 days early! We counted the time between pains, roughly 5 minutes. Having had such a short labour with my first (one and a half hours of established labour) I had been told to call the hospital when first signs of labour were apparent.
I wasn't ready to go into labour. I was so nervous. H ran me a bath to help me relax, and rang my mother to come over to have J (I was unaware that my mum had been in on the whole surprise of H coming home, it wasn't a shock that he rang her. However it may have been a shock that I was in labour). It was 5:30 in the morning and I had been feeling the pain since 4am.
Once my mum was on her way, we rang the hospital to let them know I was coming in, and to fill the birthing pool for me. I could not believe that I was having the baby less than 24 hours after my soldier returned from Afghanistan.
Once it sinked in that I was actually in labour, and that this baby would be here today, I remembered that I had not packed all my things for the hospital bag. In a panic I grabbed all the things I had yet to pack. The pains were bareable, but H did all he could to help me relax. There were things I needed that I hadn't even bought yet. Once my mum arrived to look after J (who had woken during the commotion, and was super excited), she said that she would pop to the shops and grab the few things I needed and drop them into the hospital later that day.
During this time I kept thinking 'Poor H, he has not had any time to adjust back to normality', I worried that he would freak out, and not be able to stay with me during the birth. I quickly blocked that thought out, as the pains became stronger. He told me he was fine, and I kept apologising, which he thought was silly as this labour was out of my control.
We got to the hospital to discover I was only 2 and a half centimetres dilated. Wow, this may be a long wait. I spent the new hour or so bouncing on an exercise ball, and gripping H when the pain came. I said "If you were worried about the taliban, you haven't seen anything yet", he laughed and kissed my forehead. Then at 12 noon, whilst laying on the bed in the hospital watching Philip Schofield on This Morning, I doubled over with pain. Gripping H like a Koala, I curled into a little ball. H rang the buzzer panicing, and a midwife came rushing in. I think I passed out with the pain, either that or I've blocked it from my memory. As I came around, I opened my eyes. "That's what we call a toe curling contraction" the midwife said to me. Not bloody wrong! H tried his best to keep me comfortable.
The midwife examined me, and I was four centimetres. Finally in established labour, that explains the pain. It was time for the gas and air, and the birthing pool. As it was lunchtime, and I was a patient, they offered me a lunch. I was in full blown labour, and wasn't particularly hungry. The midwife said to H "we're not supposed to do this, but as you have just come home from Afghanistan, here's lunch for you". He sat in the corner with his plate of fish and chips, while I moaned and groaned in the birthing pool. Even though I was in a great deal of pain, I felt a sense of pride, the midwife did not need to do that for H, but she did. It hit me that people appreciate what our men do. I wanted to cry, but the pain subtracted that emotion as I was too busy screaming.
I started freaking out when it was finally time to push. I was bobbing up and down in the pool, and couldn't get enough pressure on my feet to push hard enough. "Get me out, get me out" I said in a panic. As I stood out of the pool, as I wanted to push baby out on the bed, my waters broke all over H's new trainers. "Welcome home baby" I said as I giggled. He looked at me mortified, but helped me walk to the wheelchair. Once in the delivery room H helped me onto the bed. It was time. I pushed baby out at 14:34. A two and a half hour labour this time!

H was such a big help during the labour, I could not have pushed baby out without him being next to me. My biggest fear of all whilst he was away, was having to push that baby out knowing that he would not be one of the first people to meet our little guy. I looked over at him, holding our baby boy. His eyes glazed over, happiness pouring out of him. He cwtched T, and tickled his little nose. Relief washed over me.

What a whirlwind of events! I had my hero and my baby boy, all within 24 hours of each other. There was my 'wonderful thought' that I'd been dreaming of. I was overwhelmed with joy.

Monday, 16 May 2011


It was like a dream having him home. I was able to touch his skin, run my fingers through his long hair, and look into his eyes. He was actually in front of me, real!
We had so much to pack into these two weeks. We had our 3D scan, and a few days break in London. Sadly one of H's good friends had died before he came home on leave. He was able to attend his funeral, and asked if I could join him.

I had only met this friend once, and that was in passing. I had dropped H to a local supermarket car park for his friend to pick him up and take him back to camp. The only thing I remember was his friend taking a wrong turning off the roundabout, driving towards my house not the motorway. I giggled the whole time, as I was driving behind them. A quick U-turn and a beep and they were gone (in the right direction I hoped).

During the service I did not know whether to show H sympathy, or leave him be. I stood next to H, but did not hold his hand or touch him in any way. I watched from the corner of my eye his hands shake and the quick movement of wiping away tears. I did not show that I could see, I thought it best that I let him deal with it in his own way. The last thing he needed was sympathy, and me hanging off him. Even though I did not know this soldier who had died, I still cried. To see his parents, his sisters, they all stood there so proud. I heard funny stories of the soldiers cheeky, drunken antics. RIP young soldier.

We had our 3D scan. H was very excited to see him son in putty form (that's how it looked to us). The lady who did the scan was lovely. She double checked the baby's sex for us, and he was definitely a boy. He was very cheeky, it took a while for the little scamp to move his hands from his face. But there he was, he was beautiful. H was so pleased to have had the opportunity to see his baby inside the womb. He would speak to my bump, and kiss it. We had our name, now we just had to wait to meet him. I still prayed every night for H to be home safe, and in time for baby's birth. Homecoming date was forever changing, one moment it was before my due date, then it was after. There was no telling when it would be.

Our trip to London was lovely. We wondered around Covent Garden, and ate lovely meals out. As H was previously based in Wellington Barracks (next door to Buckingham Palace), he knew all the nice places to go. He took me to a comedy club that was one of his favourites, then we ate a gorgeous steak in Sophie's Steakhouse. Our London trip was almost over, R and R was almost over. I did not want either to end. It was almost time for another goodbye, and I could not bare the thought of watching him go again.

Once we arrived back in Cardiff we were in no rush to go back to the house, so instead we decided to extend our alone time by going down Cardiff Bay for a few drinks. H took me into a bar called Terra Nova. He ordered our drinks, mine was a lime and soda water. He then led me up the stairs, and then up some more stairs to the top of the building where there was a "crows nest". As the pubs decor was based around a ship, there of course would be a large round platform named "The Crows Nest". Confeniently the nest was empty. We looked through the windows at the view, I could see my home town across the waters. We sat on high bar stools. As I admired the view, H stood up from his stool and then got down on one knee. I looked down at him, my smile beaming. He held out the most gorgeous white gold ring, and an amazing centre diamond, with four smaller diamonds on each side lining the front of the rings band. "Kirsty, will you marry me?" he asked sheepishly. "YES" of course the answer was yes, the ring was gorgeous for a start, and I loved him very much. He stood up rather sharpish, even though there was no one around he was petrified.

There was no doubt in my mind that H was the man I wanted to marry. Even though I knew he had no plans to leave the army, I accepted that this would be my life for a long time. As long as I had him I was happy. Oh my gosh, I now had a wedding to plan!

Another goodbye! I thought this time it would be easier, as it was time to countdown to his return from this tour for good, but it was still hard. R and R felt like the Army was teasing me. 'Here he is for a couple of weeks, but we'll be snatching him back'! At least I now had a few things to concentrate on - A) Our baby boy B) Our wedding, and C) The countdown.
A few years before meeting H, I had my cards read. A few of the things said had proved to be true, but these were vague comments that, I suppose, could apply to numerous situations. 'A powerful man would try to make you do something that you do not want to do' - My son's fathers dad tried making me have an abortion. 'A hospital bed' but no leads as to why this was there - The unplanned pregnancy of my first son, I did not have the easiest pregnancy as I developed pre-eclampsia which resulted in numerous months of hospital visits and stays. 'You will marry a man in uniform' - Well, J's father was a mechanic, but aspired to join the fire service, "could that be it?" I had thought. Little did I know that my man in uniform would be in bright red with a "muff" on his head (the lovely Bearskin)! She had predicted my marriage to my soulmate. He was the one.


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.

Sunday, 15 May 2011


Our love soared, and I was blooming. I may have only been three months pregnant, but I had a definite little pot on me. I was growing a little baby inside me, his little baby.

I was very nervous of this pregnancy, not having H around. With homecoming date still unknown I couldn't stop thinking about going into labour with him thousands of miles away. 'He hasn't even left yet' I kept telling myself. I touched my belly and felt butterflies "You'll meet your daddy, don't you worry little chickabean".

H had read a few pregnancy books for dads. He bought Chinese chime balls, and told me that when I was feeling happy to roll them in my hand so that baby could hear the chimes, that way when baby is sad once born we can play with them and the noise of the chime will make baby happy. I remember him kissing me and saying "Remember baby, whatever you feel baby feels too so please try not to be upset". These words did make me upset, but also made me feel safe. H was really taking this pregnancy malarky well, and was showing me how much he cared for me and baby. He also read that babies recognise peoples voices once born, this bothered H as he was worried baby wouldn't know his voice. So he chose a book that he loved to read to J, The Gruffelo. He recorded himself reading the book and made me promise that I would play it to my bump over the next six months for baby to know his voice. I didn't solely play this recording for baby to know his voice, I listened to it when calls were rare and I was scared of forgetting the sound of his voice myself. Amazingly I did not get bored of hearing the story, J would often ask me to pay it for his bedtime story, and follow the words in the book with his finger.

H and I went away for a weekend before he deployed for Afghanistan. We stayed in a gorgeous little cottage in North Wales. We used this time to relax and forget what the future promised. For those few days/nights we were just a normal couple. We were able to be ourselves, and not worry. H would run me a bath, and I could relax whilst he started the fire and chose a DVD for that night. We may not have spoken about what was coming, but it was always there when I was alone, and during the quiet moments. We would cuddle on the sofa, my head on his chest, and silent tears would tumble down my cheeks. It was nearly time.

One night we lay in bed, talking about Afghanistan. Soldiers try to be hard, and terminator-like, but no matter how prepared you are, going to war is a very scary prospect. With his arms around me, a hand touching my belly, we lay there and cried. He may have only let a few tears fall but it was enough for me to know that he was human, and he wasn't a machine that was built for war. No soldier wants to die, but (as H says) they all know what they signed up for and they know there is dangers in the job.

The dreaded day came. It came too soon. I had to drop H to the train station where one of the boys was going to pick him up. There wasn't much to talk about that morning, I think H was worried to speak incase I broke down into tears again.

We got to the train station earlier than the arranged time. Neither of us had eaten breakfast, so we went to McDonalds for some food. Once we had eaten all I could think was 'Oh my gosh, this could be our last meal together, and it was McDonalds'!! We drove back to the train station then and waited for the boy to come and pick H up. I can't describe the feeling you get when it's time to say goodbye. It's more than a knot in your stomach, it's the feeling of dread and hope rolled into one. I looked into his eyes, praying silently for his safe return. He held my face with one hand and kissed me. It was the kind of kiss where neither of you want to pull away. In that moment you want the world to stop, so that what happens next never comes.

H's lift pulled in next to my car. This is it. I watched H take his bags from my boot and load his friends car. I breathed in through my nose and out through my mouth. The tears filled my eyes, but I smiled at H, I did not want his last image of me to be a broken woman, sobbing into her steering wheel! I do not remember who pulled away first, but that was the moment he was gone. That may have been the last time I kiss his perfectly shaped lips, or look into his gorgeous green eyes. The tears rolled all the way home. "Think of a wonderful thought"!


I would like to put a few "names" into my blogs...

'H' is for my partner, standing for Husband.

'J' is my little boy

'T' will soon stand for the baby

I thought I best let you all know for future reference!
Thank you all for reading, I have had great feedback!

There is more to come...

Wednesday, 4 May 2011


The love between my husband and I developed quickly. Even though I knew from our first (remembered) kiss that he was someone very special, it took me a while to say the words. I say a while... A month at most, which is a while after the initial feeling of giddiness and butterflies, and the world stopping around you!
I remember the night I said it. It was our first weekend apart since meeting. He had stupid barrack guard! The thought of a weekend without him hit me like a thousand knives. I did not want to be sleeping in my bed alone on a Saturday night, not when our weekends were sacred. So I decided to join my family on a night out down the pub. It was karaoke, a favourite of mine (I was to learn).
After a few pints, I was a classy girl back then. A gay friend Bryn, put us down to see a duet. Lionel and Diana's Endless Love. I was texting my fella all night and told him I had to sing. He told me I was to ring him and leave my phone on the table so he could listen. I was extremely nervous, as the last time I had sung in public I was in college studying Performing Arts, and I was upset during the whole thing as my dad did not look up at me once while I sang. I was later told it was because he was crying.
So, the DJ announced it was my time. I rang my man and left my phone. Bryn and I had a blast, it was a rush and I loved it. From then on I wasn't only my man's "Little Scrumpet", I was also his "Fallen Star".
After a few more drinks, I rang him. I don't remember how or in what context I said it but the words "I love you" were said. And the feeling of joy and happiness is remembered as the words were repeated back to me!
The next morning when we spoke on the phone nothing was mentioned about the previous nights announcement. I was a bit gutted. So I said "I do remember what I said last night". I remember hearing the relief in his voice as it was realised that I hadn't said it as a drunken statement. I suppose from then it was official, love was in the air.

The run up to Christmas was manic that year. I had a new man to buy for and an over excited four year old. The Christmas spirit was alive.
I had no idea what my man was buying me, but I had been given a clue as to what my most special gift was - 'It is yours to keep forever, you may never touch it or hold it, but at times you will be able to look at it'. What could it be? I am useless at guessing, so I had to just wait.
I was so excited, our first Christmas together. When Christmas came, we stayed at my mothers on the Christmas Eve. We watched my son open his mountain of presents, then drove home alone to open our gifts to each other together. I was like a child again. We opened our gifts one by one, taking it in turns. He handed me a DVD sized gift, however it was thicker so I knew it couldn't be a DVD. I opened the wrapping carefully, I was so excited that I actually wanted to just rip it to shreds, but I had to remain ladylike. And there it was. Around a silver metal box was a black slip with a star on it. He had bought me a star, named it after me. He said that he bought it for me as I was his star, but also because he was due to deploy that coming April, and now wherever we are, we both know that we are under the same sky looking at the same stars. What a beautiful gift! Amongst my many gifts was also something I will treasure, a bracelet with the words 'Think a wonderful thought'. He told me that he bought me this so that when he is away I can look at it as a prompt to remember the good times. Whilst the tears were rolling, it did not make it stop, but it did make ne smile underneath them.

The new year was upon us now, celebrated with champagne and strawberries. This year did not only present exciting things, it was also the year of situations I never thought I'd find myself in, and never belief myself strong enough to get through them!
It was the beginning of February, and we had been invited up to camp for families day, a day for us to learn more about what our men would be doing whilst in Afghanistan. For my four year old son it was exciting, it was tanks, guns and helicopters. My son then believed that camp was Afghanistan, his stepdad was in no real danger he had a room and a bed. It's merely the goodies against the baddies, a cartoon. To me it was all tanks, guns and helicopters, which equalled war, a very serious one too. The day was held for us to understand more, I did not understand at all. It was all frightening. I felt nauseous, and could not eat. Was this the effects of being presented with material for war? However, watching my man with a gun was rather sexy, infact VERY sexy!
It was now Friday the 13th. A bad omen for some, however not for us. I had, for the second time in my life, left a stick on the floor of my bathroom and run. This time it was because he wanted to see first. I sat on the bed anxious. He strolled into the bedroom, head shaking, test in hand. He looked up at me, his eyes do not lie. He grinned, bounced towards me, jumped onto the bed! We were pregnant! We giggled and were very excited. Wow. One thing scared me, upon hearing my due date from the midwife, neither of us knew if he would be home for the birth. This is one thing we would have to pray for.
I was due October 17th, a week before my sons birthday.

I spoke to my midwife and they brought my first scan forward a week to ensure that my boyfriend would be there for it. He was due to deploy a week or so after my scan was booked in.
I was already showing, and only suffering slightly with morning sickness. As this was my man's first, he wasn't sure what to expect, so I was waited on hand and foot whilst he was home. It was lovely.
Despite the happy pregnancy hormone floating around my body, deployment lurked. I cried, a possible effect of pregnancy? Hardly, I cried before I was pregnant. 6 months sounded like such a long time. However the months leading up to his deployment date sounded like minutes. This time was precious.
We went for our scan. There 'it' was. Our little baby. It's heart flickering on the screen. I could have cried, but I held back. My man was so happy that he was able to be there, you could see the happiness in his face. His baby. The radiographer printed off extra pictures of our little "chickabean" for my man to take to Afghanistan with him. We took the images and had them laminated. He placed them carefully in his notebook. They would keep his morale high, the thought that he was coming home to his baby, enough to keep anyone alive.

After seeing our baby, it became real. I was pregnant and within weeks my man was deploying to war. All I could do was pray, and then pray harder.

Thursday, 28 April 2011


Once my whirlwind romance started with my man, there was no turning back. This was the beginning of my new life! My happy life.
I remember meeting his parents for the first time. I had pondered for hours about what to wear, and worried about if they'd like me. His mum is a born again Christian, which (at the time) scared me slightly. I ended up wearing little white pumps, skinny jeans with a long, black cardigan done up. 'Right' I thought 'I need to hurry up or I'll be late'. With just over 20 miles to drive, I rushed, only to hit traffic! Needless to say I was late, and can never seem to break this tradition.
I met him at my car, where I'd parked in his Mam & Dad's street. We were walking down the road to meet his parents in the pub.
We walked in, heading straight to the bar. I thought that maybe they were tucked away in a corner out if sight, or in the lounge area. We picked up our drinks, turned around and there they were. The first words they heard me speak was 'oh shit!'
We sat down, and dismissing my shocked reaction, I got on really well with his parents. I think I had syked myself up so much about meeting them, due to the fact that my track history with boyfriends parents was nit good. Despite taking my son's dad's youth, I was also blamed for the fact that he cheated on me. Getting back to my new, lovely in-laws to be - I think I had syked myself up so much that I forgot that they were actually only human too. And, if I'm honest, probably glad that their son had finally decided to settle down and introduce them to a girl. I was his first serious girlfriend, he told me this was because he didn't see much point in wasting time with girls who he obviously was not interested in spending the rest of his life with. He had finally found his 'Little Scrumpet' as he liked to call me.

Our first few months together (the "honeymoon" period) was amazing. I have never felt so lucky, so loved and so happy. I knew he was the one for me! I received flowers every month on the date that we met, and I cannot go into the sex. All I can say is I have never had it all so good. I was on top of the world!
We spoke for hours every night on the phone whilst he was in work. This often resulted in one of us falling asleep on the other end, this was usually me! But neither of us could bring ourselves to say goodnight & goodbye. It was horrible being so in love but being miles apart, me in Cardiff, him in Surrey. However, I am a firm believer in you cannot choose who you fall in love with. And, boy, did I love him, I was not going to let the distance stand in our way.
We soon learnt of our common love for the band Snow Patrol. We both had their album. We would often listen to it at the same time, even though we weren't together. I would tell him to listen to number 8. But he said number 7 made him think of me. I listened to number 7, only to be a little confused as to why that reminded him of me. That weekend when I put it on the stereo (song number 8), he stopped and said "This is the song that makes me think of you. This is number 7". The pieces fixed together, we had both been listening to the same song, but had different versions of the album. The song I hold dear to my heart is 'Snow Patrol - Set The Fire To The Third Bar'. Even now I can listen to that song, close my eyes and still feel the butterflies of young love.