SANDS Awareness Month: Cate’s Story – 2000 miles

June is Sands Awareness Month, when both Sands, and their supporters, work hard to increase awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death and the everlasting impact experienced when a precious baby dies during pregnancy, at birth or shortly afterwards. While many more people are aware of the pain of baby loss because of the work of Sands and other organisations, many people still have no idea and it remains a taboo subject.

And whilst I have shared our story, countless times, and been overwhelmed by the love and support you have shown our family, and Joseph’s memory, today I wanted to share another Mummy’s story – the story of Cate, Mummy to Raz and Elsa, and her mission to raise awareness of stillbirth and neonatal death and the life changing effect that they have.

My son, Raz, died in December 2015, 30 weeks into a perfectly healthy and textbook pregnancy. No health care professionals had ever had a moments concern about his health, and none had mentioned stillbirth to me as a possibility. I thought that it was something that only happened extremely rarely, to babies already too sick to survive, to victims of medical negligence, not ones that kicked ALL.THE.TIME, that hiccupped and grew and thrived, that were so wanted, that were mine. 

 I never bought into the ‘it’s safe at 12 weeks’ mindset. I knew things could go wrong. But everyone told me that after 30 weeks he would be fine. That even if he were born prematurely he’d likely survive. On the day that he turned 30 weeks I got worried, I couldn’t remember when I’d last felt him kick (I’d had a grotty cold and hadn’t been totally with it). I rang the hospital and they told me to lie down, drink something cold and eat something sugary. Give it two hours, if I was still worried to call them back. One of the longest two hours of my life. I lay there going out of my mind. There was no movement. Not a thing. I knew it was serious, I knew he was sick. He must be resting up; everyone said he’d be fine.

We went to the hospital and the midwife tried to find a heartbeat – ‘The baby must be hiding, let’s move you somewhere we can do a scan to get a good look”.  What felt like an eternity while they scanned my belly. Then the dreaded words “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat”. After writing all of this down it seems foolish, but they were words I never expected to hear.

Just like that, my world crumbled. My darling son, who was so longed for. He was gone. 

One thing I feel that people don’t really realize or think about is that when your baby dies you still have to give birth to them. To meet them. To love them.  To have the innate urge to put some food in their open, lifeless mouth. To want to cuddle them up and never let them go. 

 The latest statistic is 15 babies per day die either after the 25th week of pregnancy, during or shortly after birth. 1 in 220 babies. One every 90 minutes. 

 In December last year, Raz turned two. We spent the day with him, just like any parent. But on that day I also started a yearlong challenge. To walk 2000 miles before his third birthday – to raise money for stillbirth research and also bring awareness to stillbirth.  Three weeks ago, I successfully reached my halfway point. My 2000 mile journey is the equivalent of walking from Bristol, my hometown, to Istanbul. At this point in my fictitious European tour, I would have just passed Vienna. 

 It’s been a long slog so far. Helped and hindered by my beautiful rainbow daughter. She’s 19 months old and comes on the vast majority of my walks. She’s not always a massive fan, but in the main she is very good about it.  Though I have to say, if you’re not impressed by 2000 miles, then surely throwing parenting a toddler into the mix, having to plan my walks around meal and nap times, as well as every day life, should get me some points! 

 Any money raised will support the Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, the only dedicated stillbirth research centre in the UK.  This centre works with Tommy’s and St Mary’s Hospital. Through their research they have managed to develop tests and treatments that have resulted in a 29% decrease in stillbirths across Manchester since 2011. 

If you would like to support me, please head to my JustGiving page (www.justgiving.com/2000miles) and give whatever you can. Even a few pennies make a difference.  Stillbirth is a woefully underfunded area of research and one that I truly believe could benefit from more investment. I honestly believe that this will save lives and prevent families’ hopes from being ripped apart.

 

Thank you so much to Cate for sharing her story, and for the hard work she has done, and is doing, to help fewer parents suffer such a devastating loss. You can follow her journey over at –

Instagram at @tw0thousandmiles
Twitter at @2Thousand_Miles
Facebook group 2000 Miles 

Also, please head to the Kicks Count (www.kickscount.org.uk), Tommy’s (www.tommys.org) and Sands (www.sands.org.uk websites for more information. And if you’re pregnant and feel like there is something not quite right, trust your instinct and go and get checked. Even if it’s for the tenth time that day. Mother’s intuition shouldn’t be ignored.  

 

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23 Comments

  1. June 29, 2018 / 4:15 pm

    Thank you for sharing Cate’s story it takes great courage for her to relieve the experience. Manchester Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre is a great cause, I cant believe there is only one research centre in the UK

  2. June 29, 2018 / 5:27 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story, it’s blogs like this that makes awareness stronger and reaches people that might not necessarily see it on other forms of social media. I will go and donate right now, let me just wipe my tears and hug my little ones very tightly. Lots of love xx

  3. June 29, 2018 / 5:38 pm

    Oh Cate, my heart breaks for you. It is incredibly brave of you to share this with us. I think it is amazing that you are raising awareness of such an important cause. x

  4. June 29, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your vulnerable story. I was unaware that there was organizations committed to raising awareness, which is just more evidence to how underfunded it must be.

  5. June 29, 2018 / 7:17 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I think raising awareness is important and sharing is really the first step for that. Much love to all of you
    XOXO

  6. June 30, 2018 / 2:50 am

    Oh, my heart. I’m so, so very sorry for your loss. I carried a little one just 9 weeks before we had to say goodbye. It’s been 2 1/2 years and I still feel the deep pain of that loss. I can’t imagine having to say goodbye to your sweet babe at 30 weeks. There are no words. :’-( Thank you for sharing your story.

  7. June 30, 2018 / 7:46 am

    Thank you for sharing your story, Cate. It is important we talk about this and raise awareness. Sending lots of love.

  8. June 30, 2018 / 9:53 am

    Thanks for sharing your story Cate. So important to raise awareness. Sending love and luck for the next half of your walk!

  9. June 30, 2018 / 2:26 pm

    Thank you cate for sharing your story. You are doing great to raise awareness. I can not start to imagine what you must have been going through. Such a moving post xx

  10. Elizabeth O
    June 30, 2018 / 7:45 pm

    What a heartbreaking story. Cate, you are doing a great job at raising awareness I cannot imagine what you and your family must go through. Sending love.

  11. July 1, 2018 / 7:00 am

    I am in tears. My daughter’s twin died at 12 gestation and we were devastated. I feel for every mom who lost a baby and I am so sorry to read this story. The cause is a great one and I hope it gets all the money it deserves!

  12. July 1, 2018 / 5:13 pm

    That is such a gut wrenching story. I know the loss of a child has to be one of the worst things in life. And then to lose a child like that . . . so terrible. I’m glad you are reaching out to people and sharing stories to let others know they aren’t alone when they suffer through it.

  13. July 1, 2018 / 7:04 pm

    Wow the statistics are quite shocking for this day and age. you wouldn’t expect so many babies to die on a daily basis after 25 weeks. I can’t imagine how it feels for any of these women to go through this.

  14. July 1, 2018 / 11:15 pm

    Wow, this is something that we all should know and I can imagine not easy to share your story. I do hope it helps spread awareness, for me, I know it’s helped me know. I had no idea these statistics.

  15. Tonya Tardiff
    July 2, 2018 / 1:57 am

    This is so very sad. I had no idea about how common it was. Thank you for sharing her story and bringing awareness to SANDS.

  16. July 2, 2018 / 11:31 am

    It must be have been so hard to have to go through this awful experience. However it’s wonderful that you are supporting other women and making awareness . Good luck with the fund raising.

  17. July 2, 2018 / 11:59 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. Through the statistics you’ve highlighted how common stillbirths are even today. I have had a couple of friends who had still births. As their friend it was devastating to hear their news.

  18. kim
    July 2, 2018 / 1:47 pm

    I’m so very sorry that you have had to experience this (what I’m sure is) incredible pain. I can’t even imagine. Your little one was beautiful. But what a great cause you’re supporting and I love that you’re making others more aware of this.

  19. July 2, 2018 / 4:06 pm

    Thank you for sharing Cate’s Story. Appreciate it. Shared it to others as well to spread awareness. Thank you for sharing Cate’s Story. Appreciate it. Shared to to others as well to spread awareness.

  20. July 2, 2018 / 8:28 pm

    Thank you for sharing Cates story, it’s so sad that anyone should have to go through this pain and loss. Well done on creating more awareness

  21. July 3, 2018 / 11:51 am

    You are such a brave lady Cate. Good luck with the fundraising – that is an incredible challenge to complete

  22. July 3, 2018 / 3:41 pm

    Beautiful photos and what an amazing lady Cate is. So brave to share her story and to do something practical to help other families too. I will share her story and I hope she raises lots of money. xx

  23. July 11, 2018 / 1:48 am

    Oh my… So sad for Cate. I didn’t know that could happen until a doctor-friend of mine also lost her baby on the 40th week. She was about to give birth in a couple of days. Doctor checked her and the baby and said that everything is perfect. Then the baby suddenly died in utero. Only God knows….

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