I wrote this the day after Freddie's passing. Instead of changing all of the language to seem as if I wrote it today I decided to keep it as is.
Before all of "this" I never fully understood what a tender mercy was. They talked about them all the time in conference talks and at church but honestly I had no idea what they were talking about. However, after the week we've had there have been so many tender mercies from the Lord and I finally know what it means.
I wanted to share a couple instances that meant so much to us.
Before last week, we hadn't planned on delivering with my OB or in Arizona at all. We've wanted to move back to Utah for the Summer so that we could be closer to family when the baby came and Fred would be able to get more experience with a busier golf season.
Upon going into labor, we found ourselves wishing we were in Utah simply because in our situation we wanted to be surrounded by LDS people. People who wouldn't look at us strangely if we asked to do a blessing or gawk at my funny under clothes. People who would share experiences or thoughts with an LDS perspective, and have compassion knowing what we believe in and how to possibly comfort us.
Not to say that non-LDS people don't do any of those things. Because we know they do...
After delivery, I was assigned a new nurse. We were scared. worried. and still in complete shock that we had just had a baby. My new nurse came in, introduced herself, and told us that soon we would be able to see our little boy. When she was leaving, she said, "Are you LDS?" we said yes. Unsure of where this could be going...She then said "I thought so. I'm LDS too and if you guys would like to do a blessing for you and for the baby that would be okay. We can make sure it happens before they life flight him."
Immediately we felt comfortable and were able to openly discuss what we'd like to happen before we had to say goodbye to our baby as he left for a different hospital.
My nurse was great. She was very supportive and made sure that our priority was to get me out of there as soon as possible so we could get to where our baby was.
After leaving that hospital to basically take residence at another, we constantly wished that we had an LDS nurse, social worker, or doctor. We were surrounded by professionals all week that didn't seem to have the compassion or faith that we did. They were all wonderful but very matter-of-fact and blunt in regards to our situation. There was less about the after and more about the death, which made everything even harder.
Tuesday, April 12th, was our hardest day. We knew the decision we had to make and dreaded it. About half way through the day (after our meeting with the doctors), our nurse Kerri approached us at Freddie's bedside and said, "I noticed you guys were LDS. I am too. I also lost a child - so while I can't imagine what you're going through in this situation. I do know the pain of losing a child. Can you imagine going through this without the knowledge that we have?"
We immediately teared up and felt a huge comfort. Through tears I told her that we had been praying for her. We knew that she was meant to be our nurse especially on that day. Kerri spent a lot of her time that day talking to us about her experience losing her daughter 20 years before and how her testimony has grown since. I know that she was inspired to tell us the things she did and while she even said that she hoped what she had to say helped in some way, she helped us in ways she may never know.
One thing that she said really touched me. She said that when she went through her similar trial, she felt as though she had a choice. To let this define her in a way that made her bitter, angry, and different for the rest of her life or she could use this experience to shape her into a stronger person, mother, and wife and allow the atonement to take her burden and make her a better person. She chose to move forward to be a better person. She said that even 20 years later it still made her cry but that the more she talked about it the better she felt. She said that someday we would be in the situation where our story would be one that touched someone else's life.
I am so grateful for the all of the tender mercies we've received and continue to receive. This is something that we will never get over - but that is the beauty of it. Little Freddie has changed our lives, and we are being molded into what we hope will someday be stronger versions of ourselves. This trial is one that no one should ever have to go through, we hope that someday we can help another family in some small way.