My name is Lavinia Sidal and I am from Tonga. I served a mission in the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission 2004-2005 and in 2008 I met my husband Richard during our time as students at BYU-Hawaii. My husband grew up in Fiji and served a mission in 2006-2008 in the Ogden Utah Mission.
THIS IS OUR STORY
As my husband and I were setting a wedding date in 2009, I received a call one early morning in March of the same year that my mother passed away in a hospital in Tonga. Her long battle with cancer had come to an end. I was shocked and lost because my mother was everything to me, she was not only my mother but she was my best friend. Four months after receiving the news, I received another call my father passed away. It was a dark time in my life, I asked myself, “How can I go through this pain of losing both parents so fast like that?”, I haven’t recovered from mourning over the death of my mother and now, mourning, for both my parents. I knew the only way to deal with grief and pain was to turn to the gospel of Christ for comfort and hope. Despite the grief and pain of losing my parents, two months after the passing of my father along with the support from wonderful family and friends, my husband and I were married in the Salt Lake Temple, September 2009. This day in particular, was full of tears and happiness. We returned to BYU-Hawaii to complete our education.
Thee beautiful Sidal Couple
We always knew we wanted children, we both love children and being one of 14 siblings, I have always wanted a lot of kids! As a newlywed couple we went for a doctor’s check up to see if I was ok to have children, only to discover that I had polycystic ovary system and was told I will have a hard time conceiving. We went home with a heavy heart thinking I may never have children. Eight months (2010) into the marriage we went to the hospital because I had some unusual bleeding, this is when we discovered that I was pregnant but in the process of miscarriage. The doctor believed we had twins and that one had come out already and the other one died inside. I ended up having D & C surgery to remove it. We were both sad yet happy that I can have children. Because I grew up in Tonga and wasn’t educated about productive system, we learned quickly about these matters.
In 2011, we found out I was pregnant again and felt so much joy in our hearts, this time the hospital discovered that I have a heart shape uterus or septate uterus and that I will have complications. I was serving as a Relief Society president at the time. Five months into the pregnancy I was rushed to the hospital in an ambulance because I was in pain and had no idea that I was in labour. In the hospital we found out that our baby girl was coming out already and so I had to deliver right away. Our daughter Luseanita was born premature at 5 months on August 22nd and we held her for 2 hrs before passing away peacefully in her father’s arms. We love this little spirit and our hearts were heavy as we flew back to Tonga to bury her with my parents. How can tragedy strike again? Nevertheless we know life goes on and families are forever, how wonderful is that? After the loss of little Luseanita my doctor recommended to have surgery to correct the septate uterus. My husband found that his student’s insurance won’t cover for that kind of surgery so we were left devastated.
In 2012, we found out I was pregnant again and we were full of joy again. I had lost a best friend at the beginning of the year together with her baby and we were sad. At 4 months we went back home to Fiji to renew our visa to return to America. We were scared knowing that in the Islands there were no high risk doctors available for me, but we had faith and went home. I was 5 1/2 months when we were in Fiji. I went for a check-up and found that I dilated already. I was told to stay in the hospital for 2 weeks and later went into labour. Our second daughter Roseline was born again premature at 6 months in August 28th. The doctor told us that the hospital in Fiji didn’t have the right equipment for premature baby so we will have to wait and hope as they put our baby in the ICU. My heart was heavy as I watched my tiny little baby struggling for life every day. My husband was not allowed at all in the ICU so I was the only one who went to see her. Sadly after five days in the ICU they told us that Roseline was sick and that she was going to die. Our little Roseline Netanya passed away on September 3rd, 2012. I started to complain to Heavenly Father why things like this kept happening to us. On top of this, we didn’t have money to bury our second daughter because my husband wasn’t working at the time. Despite being angry and frustrated we know that we cannot turn our back on our maker for he will never turn his back on us. He answered our prayers through other people. We had friends, mission friends, family and even strangers from everywhere donating money for us and because of their kindness and incredible love, we were able to fly again to Tonga to bury our second daughter with her sister. I was really sad that some of my own people blamed the death of our daughters after their funerals on my husband just because he was from Fiji. That is something that we have to learn that we can’t blame others when tragedy strikes. We need to educate ourselves more on modern medication. We were grateful the Polynesian Cultural Center hired my husband and we returned to Hawaii right after we buried our second daughter. We know that the Lord still loves us, I know there are days when we yearn for our two little girls and days where we doubt our faith and faith in our Lord, but every time we go to the temple our hearts are filled with joy again and again.
In 2013, I had surgery to correct my uterus and in 2014, we had our little miracle baby girl Lusetania ‘Anitema Makanalani Sidal, she was born on November 10th. We are grateful to friends and family from all over the world who prayed and supported us in so many different ways and who continue to show love and support towards my family.
My husband has been in the bishopric twice now and we love and continue to serve others. I am forever grateful for the gospel of Jesus Christ for without it, we wouldn’t be able to be with our daughters forever and also my parents. I know temple covenants and the power of priesthood is real. I know that if we endure to the end, holding fast to the iron rod, we will see our maker someday and I will be able to thank him for being there for us. We are also grateful for friends, church member families and both our family for helping us keep the faith burning. We love our Savior and grateful for His atonement to help my husband and I heal our pain.
Featured Image Above: Thee stunning Lavinia Sapoi with her gorgeous miracle baby girl and supportive husband