Saturday, 20 April 2013

Guest Post {Homeschool on the Croft}

Today, it is my joy to introduce you to a lady who I can truly call a friend. 

We met YEARS ago, when I was just a girl, and she was expecting her oldest child.  I always recalled meeting this teeny (but rather largely pregnant), bubbly and very welcoming lady, with her lilting Island accent. 

Years went past, and I distinctly remember hearing about what you are about to hear about, and praying for her.  I was expecting my second child at the time, and it really touched my heart and drove me to the Lord, to pray for His hand upon my own situation. 

More years passed by, and I found her blog, before finding that she had joined the same Good Morning Girls group that I was on!

Then, I was finally able to meet, in person, the lovely little lady herself, through connections on Facebook.  Once again, Facebook has been wonderful in facilitating a precious friendship, and I value the wit and wisdom that Anne brings to my life.   God is good!

(Anne is second from the right, I am on the left, in case you weren't sure!)

So, enough of me.  Let me hand over to the writer of Homeschool On the Croft, to introduce her own post.  Oh, and get your tissues ready.  It's an emotional read. 

Hi, Joyful readers,


I'm Anne, I come from the Isle of Lewis which is the largest of the islands in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. I grew up less than a mile from where I now live with my Builder husband and our four children - children, who are, for the most part, not even children anymore.

My *baby* is ten tomorrow. He told me when he was four that he would reach five, but then he would stop so that I'd always have a baby. He *said* that, but has he done it? Nope. He continues to sprout and to add the years onto his age. And so now we are on the brink of double figures for my BABY.

Caroline, though, didn't ask me on here to sniff and bawl, to moan and groan about my baby's non-baby-ness. She asked me to visit with her to tell you about the day my non-baby baby was born.
Ten years ago tomorrow, this was my experience ...

On that day, in April of 2003, we were given our fourth child. Our second son. I also almost lost my life.

I was in Week 33 of my pregnancy. Bearing in mind that I was a whole two weeks late with my other three pregnancies, in my own mind I had eight or nine weeks to go. At the time, I certainly did not feel organised. Then again, I wouldn't have been organised at forty-two weeks either, knowing me!

My sister and I had been in Inverness for a couple of days. I remember we had a mad rush driving from Inverness to Ullapool, but caught the ferry just in time. We laughed so much whilst shopping, and on our mad dash to the ferry. How little we knew of what was just around the corner.

This was to be the first of our children born in Lewis: we'd been living in Glasgow when the other three were born. We were now living 25 miles from the hospital, and because I'd always had very quick labours, we used to joke about this baby being born in the moor on the way to town! We knew that we'd have to head off once I began contractions.

On that Sunday morning, my waters breaking woke me (I'm sorry, I don't want to be graphic, but the story can't really be told without some general labour details!). I sat up in bed, woke hubby and went into my normal panic mode: I sat and did nothing! 

A short while later, we were off. My sister-in-law stayed with our other children, and we began our journey to town. We arrived at the hospital half an hour later, still totally unaware of the situation we were in. This baby was six weeks early -eight weeks earlier than I'd planned on! We were in shock, but apart from that, I wasn't unduly worried. 

When we arrived at the hospital, the midwife we met led me - not to the labour suite - but to the ward. Because we'd had our other children in Glasgow, the midwives in Stornoway weren't to know that my babies normally made quick appearances into this world! I seemed, to her, in the very early stages of labour, but when I hesitated, she agreed to take me straight to the labour room. 

Let's just say it was just as well! The Wee Guy was born very shortly after this, and everything seemed normal at that stage. After the midwife had cleaned the baby up, she handed him to me. This was when I realised I felt odd. I nodded to her to give the baby to daddy. I felt so weak, but couldn't even say it to her. I remember she looked at me, realised I looked 'odd', took a look at my hands and said to another member of staff: 'Her peripheries are going purple!'. She pressed the emergency button, and it seemed that within seconds the room was filled with doctors and other medical staff. 

I was aware of everything that was going on. I was especially aware of the looks on the doctors' faces. I was seriously ill. I knew it by their expressions. The truth was written all over their faces: I was dying, and they didn't think they were going to be able to save my life.

They were mentioning clots, pre-eclampsia, blood pressure. A couple of times, I saw a look of resignation on the doctor's face. 

I knew I was at death's door. The room was full of people. They were busy, but it all seemed quiet. I lay back and thought of the time. It was late morning. Sunday morning. The morning of the Lord's Day. I thought: 'By afternoon of this Lord's Day, I will be with my Lord. What a Lord's Day it will be for me! I will see Him face to face.'

I thought of my children. I prayed for each one of them individually, and handed them over to my Heavenly Father. I remember thinking that no matter how much I loved them, He was able to take better care of them than I ever could.

I realised I would be in Heaven because - and only because - of Christ's saving work in my soul. I had done nothing to earn my salvation. I deserved none of God's grace, yet here I was, on the threshold of heaven. God gave me total peace at that moment. Only His grace would have allowed me to feel that way because, humanly speaking, I would never have 'let go' of my children in that way. 

If you are a mother and you're reading this, you will know that there is nothing -nothing - that your mother's heart will hold on to like it will to your children. My instinct is to protect them, nurture them, be with them. And, of course, I think nobody can do what they need but me - their mother. To have had that peace, then, that Sunday morning, was nothing short of miraculous. I praise God for the peace He gave me. Humanly speaking, my blood pressure was so high, the doctors were waiting for my organs to fail, and for me, ultimately, to die. Any additional anxiety, surely, would have made things even worse.
But I thank God especially for that peace, because I understand that His grace can take us to places we would think impossible. The bond I have (and all you mothers will know what I mean) with my children seems too strong for me to be able to let go of it. But God showed me that day, that He is able to draw us to Himself with bands of love that are stronger than anything this world knows of.

I spent the next week in High Dependency. I remember on Day 3, a nurse saying to the doctor that my 'bottom line pressure was down to 124'. It was down to 124, and that was seen as an achievement!

In all, I spent three weeks in hospital. The medical staff never really understood what went wrong. There were more questions than answers. I ended up, apparently, with  pneumonia in both lungs, but some doctors disagreed with the diagnoses, and believed it was fluid in my lungs; I had a heart condition that may have been the result of the extreme blood pressure, a clot, pre-eclampsia, or a combination of some of these conditions and/or others. Every day the Builder drove over to see me at the hospital. He made the journey filled with dread each day, not knowing what new discovery they'd made or what new symptom I displayed. He was beside himself with worry!

During the second week, when my lungs were filling with fluid (though that hadn't been realised quite yet), and breathing was becoming increasingly difficult, I remember sitting up in bed, propped by pillows. I couldn't lie down because of lack of breath, and I couldn't sleep. I hadn't slept for about thirty-six hours and I was desperately tired. As I sat there, I couldn't even pray. I just wanted to sleep! I remember such an assurance coming into my soul that although I was unable to pray, I was being upheld by the prayers of my brothers and sisters in Christ. It was the first time ever I was made truly aware of the blessing we have when others pray for us.

It's a lesson I've never forgotten, and I know it affected the way - to this day - in which I pray for others.

God does hear prayer. And those who were praying for me that night (and I know there were many) were more of a blessing to me than they can ever know.

Before this illness, I'd never had more than a cough or a cold. I was as healthy as could be, and the truth was that I never, ever expected illness could hit me. Oh, I know I would acknowledge that my health was a gift, and that we don't know what a day might bring.... But really? Did I mean this? I'm not sure that it was any more than idle words. I lived as though I were invincible.

I'd had three children before this. Having them was as easy for me as going to Tesco for my weekly shop. I went into labour, had a baby, stayed in hospital for the obligatory eight hours, went home, and resumed life as though I'd done no more than go to Tesco. No kidding! It didn't occur to me that this kind of thing could happen to me.

But God showed me - really showed me - that we have nothing....nothing.... but what He gives us. Every day we have on mercy's ground is an undeserved gift. Every day of health and strength is a blessing for which we ought to give thanks. God was good to us as a family: He left me with my family, and for that I am so thankful. I wish my life was one of greater service to Him, but I know the experience changed me forever.

I know that life is fleeting. However long we have - it will pass in a blink.

I know that nothing in this life really matters other than having Christ as my Saviour, and that my children would have Christ as their Saviour. Nothing compares with this in importance.

Now, eight years on, I have no health issues whatsoever as a result of what occurred at that time. When the doctor finally discharged me a year after Calum's birth, he admitted that he had no idea how I'd survived. When I told him that God hears prayer - it was His will for me - the doctor sighed and simply said, 'Well, something bigger than us saved you, because I have no idea how you're here'.

It was not my time. But one day, it will be. 

A HUGE thank you to Anne, for sharing her story here.  You can read more about the thrills and spills of Island life on her blog.  You will not be disappointed!  And, if you like sheep, beautiful scenery and dogs, you will be especially thrilled. 


  1. Thank you, Caroline, for the opportunity to again tell of what the LORD did for me. I hope HE has all the glory ...

  2. That is indeed a beautiful testimony to the Lord's provision! AMEN! Thank you for the encouragement, Anne!