Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Update

Hello all, thanks for taking the time to read this.

I just wanted to post an update about the challenge, and also explain a little bit about the situation I'm in now. Since the start of the year, we have walked 470 miles (excluding holidays and illnesses) and have raised £1157 for Tommy's baby charity! It's been a really eye-opening experience and has been difficult at times, especially in the wind and rain, but the support we've received and the money that's been raised has made it all worthwhile.

As you may/may not have noticed, I've been significantly quieter on Twitter and on this blog than I used to be. As I explained a little while ago, promoting the challenge was taking up a lot of my time and was beginning to encroach on my studies, so I had to cut back on the amount of time I was spending on it! I've still been reading all your messages of support, and it's been lovely to know you're still thinking of us.

Recently, things have been a bit difficult and I've developed some health issues that I hope to overcome, but which have affected the things that I can do on a daily basis. I'm currently seeking help so that I can put these issues to bed, but until that's happened, I've realised that I need to try and alleviate some of the pressure so that I can rebuild my coping mechanism. I've thought long and hard about this, and it isn't a decision that I've taken lightly at all. While I don't want to end the challenge altogether, I don't feel able to continue at the pace at which I started it.


UPDATE - Following the publication of this blog post, I've been approached by the lovely Kylie from Not Even A Bag of Sugar, who has very kindly offered to pick up where I've left off and continue the 1000 Miles Mummy challenge. Kylie's son Joseph was born prematurely at 27 weeks, and she has since become a prominent figure in the premmie community, and is a staunch supporter of Tommy's. Kylie will be posting her own updates from this blog and also on the Twitter page. I'm sure you'll all show her the same support that you've given me over the past months! 

For obvious reasons, I don't want to go into too much detail about the changes to my situation, but as I said before, this isn't a decision that I've taken lightly, and I've held off for months now as it's really not something that I want to do. I do hope that you'll all understand - the money that you've donated has gone directly to Tommy's and is being used right now to help save the lives of unborn babies - none of that has changed. 

I'm sorry to have to do this. Thank you all again for your support and kindness, you've been brilliant.

Heather x

Thursday, 1 March 2012

183 miles!

So sorry I've been quiet recently - my degree course is requiring a lot more concentration and time than it has done before, so while I'm still finding the time to walk, I'm struggling to find time to update my blog and post on Twitter. I've decided that my blog posts will now only be weekly as I simply don't have enough time to write them daily, and don't want to end up churning out a load of rubbish in order to do so. I'll also be quiet on Twitter, which is a real shame as we've had so much support and sponsorship from people on there. If anybody is willing to volunteer themselves to help raise awareness and support for our challenge on Twitter, then that would be greatly appreciated.

In other news, I've had an email to say we'll be featured in Take a Break in the letters section, it'll be the 22nd March! Hopefully that'll give the campaign a bit of a boost!

Thank you, please do keep donating, it really is important - www.justgiving.co.uk/1000milesmummy x

Friday, 24 February 2012

165 Miles!

Firstly I must apologise for having been absent the last few days - due to illness and the mounting pressure of an essay deadline, I've found it difficult to sit down and write my blog. However, the walking has continued and I'm now at 165 miles! Tuesday was a bad day as I'd set aside 6 hours to study and then planned to walk to the childminder's house to collect Lola, but by 4pm I felt awful and had to lie on the sofa with my eyes shut! So unfortunately I was unable to walk that day, but thankfully I'd already done some extra miles through the journey I've walked to Lola's creche, so I've been able to borrow from my bank of spare miles in order to make up for it.

I was feeling much better on Wednesday, and my friend joined me on Thursday for our walk around the Marine Lake. There's a couple of photos below, it was a lovely day although getting the whole way round the lake was a bit difficult with the pram once the concrete path turned into a sand dirt track!





Yesterday's walk was lovely too - we went to the park to feed the ducks and then played on the swings and the slide. Lola walked the whole way around the park and loved getting really close to the birds and roaring at the dragon carving!

Remember you can donate at any time - www.justgiving.co.uk/1000milesmummy

Thank you!
x

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Saralouise & Tobias' Story

Last year (2011), me and my partner were expecting our first born child, unplanned and as much of a shock he was, we loved him from the very first moment we saw him. As months went by, every movement, every kick, every hiccup we felt, until our sudden bundle of joy had stopped wriggling.


I was 33.5 weeks , so not to long to go... I said to my partner "I'm a little worried, I want to just nip to hospital and have a check". Obviously he thought I was over reacting but non the less we went. We thought we would be in and out, we never in our wildest dreams imagined we would be staring at a screen whilst the nurse tells us our son has passed away. I had never felt pain like I had felt then.


6 months have only passed and it's still quite raw as you can imagine, I no longer feel pain, I feel lost, empty, like a part of me is missing. I think I will always feel like that. Our baby tobias is the most beautiful thing that ever happened to me and his father, and he will never be forgotten. Just wish things were different.


I'm writing this because I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last person to experience this heart wrenching loss but if people were more aware they can keep an eye on their babies movements, listen to your midwife read the books and count the kicks, I was never given this advice or books or I may of found out sooner.

Monday, 20 February 2012

£1000 and beyond

I can now proudly say that we have raised over £1000 in just 50 days. Thank you to each and every one of you for making this possible and for the tremendous support you've shown throughout our fundraising. I never imagined that we'd raise this much money, let alone that we'd raise it in the first two months! So thank you!

I realise that I've not really told you very much about myself, and given that we now have lots of new supporters on Twitter, I thought it might be nice to explain a little more about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it. In 2010, I gave birth to my beautiful little Lola, weighing a perfect 8lb 8oz and encapsulating all my hopes and dreams for the future. I was a frequent user of a baby forum throughout my pregnancy and I loved reading the journals of other mums-to-be on the same journey as me. During my pregnancy, I shut myself off from any mention of stillbirth or prematurity or pregnancy complications as the thought of it, naturally, terrified me. I think this is a perfectly normal reaction - the vast majority of pregnant ladies don't want to hear about stillbirth. What troubles me now is that learning about the causes of stillbirth and prematurity can greatly help in preventing these tragedies from occurring.

When my little girl was a few months old, I stumbled upon one of the journals of the mums I'd been following on the baby forum. I'd only dipped into a few of her journals during my pregnancy, but I couldn't believe what I discovered that day. Her baby, due in the Winter of 2009, had been born still - 3 days before her scheduled C-Section. Chloe's Mum, Sophia, launched herself into a campaign to raise awareness of what she believed could have saved her daughter - Count the Kicks. I contacted Sophia and offered my help and quickly became heavily involved with the campaign, which is now a registered charity. I ran auctions on Facebook to raise money for Count the Kicks, and also arranged a Sponsored Sing-a-long at my local children's centre. All of these simple yet affective schemes helped to raise over £6000 for the campaign. Count the Kicks are succeeding in breaking down the taboo surrounding stillbirth, you can follow their work here: www.countthekicks.org.uk

In Autumn of 2011, I resigned from Count the Kicks to concentrate on my next venture - my degree. I started studying for my History degree with the OU in October, and this soon came to consume the vast majority of my time and energy. Towards the end of the year, however, I began to miss fundraising, and decided that I would do something in 2012 to continue making a difference. That's when, on New Years Eve, I hatched my 1000 Miles Mummy challenge - and now here we are!

The most important point I want to stress through all of this work is that stillbirth needs to be talked about. It is much more common than most people think. Around 6500 babies are born still every year in the UK and yet there is a massive lack of readily available, consistent information for expectant mums on what they can do to spot the early signs of a problem. Don't get me wrong - it's not always preventable. But sometimes, it is. In contrast, around 300 babies die from cot death each year in the UK, and there is so much advice given about this to expectant mums. So why is this different? Why are we led to believe that stillbirth is such a rarity when, in actual fact, it is 21 times more common than cot death - a subject that is openly spoken about in antenatal classes and midwife appointments.

I just want to make a difference. The work that Tommy's do to help protect tiny lives is amazing. They need your support and help in order to continue this vital research and to raise the profile of stillbirth and prematurity in the UK. The £1000 we've raised so far will go towards helping Tommy's open a fourth research centre, focusing on early pregnancy loss.

Thank you so much, once again, for all your help.
www.justgiving.co.uk/1000milesmummy
x

Sunday, 19 February 2012

153 miles!

Well firstly I must apologise for not writing my blog yesterday! I totally forgot, I was so busy yesterday and needed to knuckle down with some uni work that it completely slipped my mind. Yesterday was 150 miles day! So that felt like a lovely achievement - we're now 15% of the way there, still a long way to go but already so close to £1000! Just £71 left to be raised! One of my Twitter followers, Craig Lawrie, has very kindly agreed to donate the last £30 provided that we raise the remaining £31 ourselves. So all we're waiting for now is for you lovely people to give whatever you can in order to get that extra £31 in the pot, and then it's over to Craig to take us to the £1000 mark! I'd absolutely love to do this today, it's totally achievable and with a little bit of help from you, we'll get there.

Please give whatever you can to www.justgiving.co.uk/1000milesmummy or you can text MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070!

Thank you! x

Friday, 17 February 2012

147 Miles!

Sometimes, people ask me how I keep motivated to walk 3 miles every single day. The answer is simple. 17 families experience stillbirth every single day. That's 17 heartbreaks, 17 crushed dreams, every single day. And that's just in the UK. For them, there is no relief from that pain. There's no option to take a day off from the pain, or cut the pain short. They have to ride that journey every day for the rest of their lives. Walking 3 miles a day is no sacrifice at all in comparison with this. Whenever I wake up and dread my walk, I remind myself of why I'm doing it, and why it's so important.

We're just £12 away from raising £900 now. We're drawing ever closer to £1000 and I just can't wait to hit it! Please donate anything you can to www.justgiving.co.uk/1000milesmummy or text MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070!
x