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 -

Thank you!

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:

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.

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 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 or text MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070!

Thursday, 16 February 2012

144 miles!

We've raced across the 140 miles mark now and heading towards 150 yay! This week has been amazing - can't believe we're only £22 away from hitting £900! So, so close to £1000 now, how exciting! Thanks again for all your support!

I've been locked in battle with an essay most of the day and so only started my walk at about 3:45pm. It was wet and miserable but I sheltered at my Mum's half way through before walking the rest of the way back. Noticed today that I've been struggling to take a deep breath while I'm walking - my chest feels quite tight. I'm okay and can still breathe, don't feel light-headed etc but it's something for me to keep an eye on!

Thank you for pushing me and raising awareness, we're getting there!

Please donate to or TEXT MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070!


Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Hannah & Calvin's story

I never even thought I wanted children. Until I hit 30.  Then it hit me like a train, a huge overwhelming urge, that started with a flippant comment by my (now) husband in Asda.  We agreed we wouldn't ever become the couple that used ovulation kits and charts.  We'd just lose the protection and hope for the best.  Initially, it took a year to get pregnant, and when I had my first scan, they told me they thought I was carrying 5 babies.  I nearly died with fright.  As it happens, there were 6 babies, but I sadly miscarried at 11 weeks. They told me at the first scan they weren't that hopeful as there were so many of them, but although I quietly hoped, they were right and they lost their heart beats.

We took a little time out, terrified it might happen again.  A doctor told me that this could be something I just do...maybe one month I release no eggs, the next month 6.  That this could have been why it took me a long time to conceive.

I eventually realised that the need to become a mother, outweighed my fear of having a multiple birth, even a multiple miscarriage.  So we tried again.  This time I got pregnant within about six months.  I spent the first 14 weeks or so switching from terrified to horrendous morning sickness, literally hugging the toilet between 10 and 12 times per day.  I eventually got signed off work for 4 weeks, as doctors were worried I might become dehydrated.  Thankfully, I was only carrying 1 baby, and after the 14 week period, everything became calm again, the whole pregnancy was pretty easy and calm, and the only crazy aspect was my ridiculous craving for Elton John music.  All the time, from first thing in the morning, listening to him all day in work, right up until bedtime...I was never even a particular fan of his prior to this pregnancy...but ridiculously, I couldn't get enough of him.

At the end of the pregnancy, I was huge, and shattered pretty much all of the time.  I left work at the end of my 36th week and had a month of peace. Sleeping, walking my dogs, eating fruit, and preparing my nest.

I ended up going 8 days over when I finally started contractions. It was 15 May 2010, early afternoon.  I was so excited, as was my fiance (now husband), Paulo.  I knew it was early on, but I was having light contractions around every 7 minutes.  That evening, I called the hospital.  They told me if possible to wait till they were about every 4 minutes.  I told them I would do my best.

Although the contractions weren't incredibly painful, they kept me awake all night.  The following morning, 16 May 2010, I called the hospital again and said the contractions weren't regular, but were coming between every 4 and 7 minutes.  They told me to come in to be checked.  When I was checked by the midwife, she said it was very early labour, but I was only 1cm dilated, and that especially the first baby, it can be very slow.  They sent me home.

Around 6pm, the contractions were about every 4-5 minutes, but still inconsistent.  I called the hospital again, and they invited me back.  After checking me out, they said I was still only 1cm dilated and sent me home again.

That night, although still inconsistent, they got a lot more painful.  I think partly due to the lack of sleep from the night before, I got a bit tearful and worried I wouldn't have the energy to actually give birth when baby decided to make an entrance.  At 2am on 17 May 2010, my fiance told me to call the hospital again.  He was worried and didn't know what to do.  Again I was asked back.  When they told me I was still only 1cm dilated, I burst into tears and told them my fears.  This was now my second night without sleep.

Because it was late, and because I was upset, they said to me, why didn't I stay there overnight.  They told me I wasn't being admitted, but that it might make me calmer to feel like I was at least in the right place.  In my hospital bed, I tried to stay quiet, to give my fiance at least a little sleep, as it would also be a long day ahead for him too, but at 6am, with no sleep once again, I pressed the buzzer for the midwife.  I was desperate not to be seen as an hysterical first time mother, but the pain was hugely magnified by the lack of sleep.  She offered me paracetamol, and I told her they did nothing.   She said she'd speak to a doctor.

She came back, and said more than anything, due to the lack of sleep, they would give me pethadine.  If I wanted it.  She said it wasn't normally given under my circumstances, but due to the lack of sleep, it would probably just help me rest for an hour or 2.  So I agreed.  Maybe too easily.

I woke up at 7.30am, just as a midwife came in.  She told me I would shortly be examined, to see whether I had progressed during the night.  If I had, then I could stay.  If I hadn't, then I would have to go home again.  She went to get her examining implements.  My heartbeat and blood pressure were fine.  She just had to check my baby's heart beat.  Calvin.  That was his name.  Calvin.

She couldn't find it, but said it was perfectly natural, he had probably turned and in a funny angle.  She got a different piece of equipment. Tried again.  Still couldn't find it.  Got the senior midwife in.  She couldn't find it either.  With either piece of equipment.  They each tried to reassure me that everything was still fine, and I refused to think about the unthinkable.  They said the easiest way forward, was to just give me a was accurate, it was clear, there would obviously be a picture for me to look at and reassure myself with. I said ok, and they went to get the mobile scanning machine.

I think I knew my son had died when they came back. They brought a consultant, the head midwife, a whole bunch of other people.  There were 9 of them in my room. Plus my fiance and me. I looked at him, and he gave me his most reassuring look. His look made me scared, I could see the fear in his eyes.  The consultant looked at the scanning machine for a long time. It actually could have been a minute.  It felt like a decade.  I could hear my own heart hammering away in my ears, and then she told me, the consultant I mean, she told me.  She was sorry.  There was no heartbeat. A piece of me died that day. A piece of me that will never recover.

They induced me, to help me get into established labour quicker.   They gave me an epidural, and so much more pethadine, to make it as painless as possible.  Cutting off my head would have been less painful. I gave birth at 12.33am on 18 May 2010.  I pushed so hard to deliver him before the 18 May, as that was my mums birthday.  She had been so excited about Calvin, she had recently retired, and had promised to have him when I returned to work.  It was such a bitter irony to give birth to him on her birthday.  Even when he was born, I felt a strange elation, I had been so looking forward to seeing him.  And when I did, well, he was just beautiful.  Perfect in fact. And I kept looking, just hoping for him to prove the Consultant wrong, that they had made a mistake. I just said, "breathe baby, just one little tiny breath"...and waited.  It obviously didn't happen.

We had our cuddles.  For an hour or so I held him.  Then they took me away.  To a private room.  I'm pretty ashamed to say I slept.  I think my body just shut down.

The next day, I left the hospital.  Went back to my empty home.  It was torture. It's like the sickest joke in the world to be on maternity leave with no baby.

The postmortem revealed nothing.  They had no idea why or how he died.  Possibly pethadine had an effect, but they said it wouldn't kill a healthy baby, only a baby in serious difficulty.  Who knows what happened? It's torture not knowing.

In November 2010, I found I was pregnant again.  It was a horrible pregnancy.  Full of worry, full of stress. Physically, it wasn't a difficult pregancy, but I was going out of my mind with worry.  I was now classed as high risk.  I was called to the hospital regularly for scans.  I was 7 months pregnant when Calvin would have been 1 year old.  My fiance and I wanted to 'celebrate' our boy, our beautiful angel.  I told him I was terrified that 18 May would forever be the saddest day in the world for us.  We wanted to do something, something good, for us, for our beautiful boy, for our families, who had been a tower of support for both of us.

So we got married.  A very, very quiet service.  We told our parents on the day.  And that was it.  We had Calvin's ashes with us when we got married.  And then we had a dinner out for all the family that night.  And told them what we had done.

On July 12 2011, after being induced at 38 weeks, I gave birth to a beautiful son, Daniel, who is now 6 months old.  I adore him, he is perfect and my honeybee.

But I will never forget my firstborn, Calvin, who would have been 2 on 18 May 2012.  Daniel cannot fill the void I have from Calvin. It is indescribable the pain, even now, nearly 2 years on.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

138 miles!

Phew, almost at 140 miles now! I've got two essays to write before the 2nd March so I'm feeling a bit up against it, so sadly won't be around as much tonight as I'd like to be, but as always I'm aiming for another £13 to be donated today so that we can stay on track for reaching £1000 by the end of the month!

Today's walk was good, I had to rush a bit this morning in order to get to creche on time, but I had quite a relaxing walk back. I even mowed the lawn for the first time this year straight after I got in - I was feeling inspired!

Hoping some of that inspiration rubs off on me when I'm writing my essay tonight...!

Please continue to donate - we're only £170 away from hitting the big £1000 and I just KNOW it's achievable before the end of Feb, we've just got to keep pushing. Please help me!

Thanks so much!

Monday, 13 February 2012

135 miles!

Just got back from walking my 135th mile! My sciatica kicked in on the way back though which meant I could hardly put any pressure on my right leg at all. Very painful, not had it much since pregnancy but occasionally it rears its ugly head. Hoping it'll die down soon as I definitely don't want to miss any walking!

So the brilliant news from last night is that we hit £800! Well, in fact, £805! I'm absolutely thrilled - that's £100 raised in just two days! Thank you so much! As you know, I'm aiming to smash £1000 by the end of February. Because of how much we've raised over the last couple of days, we now only need to raise £13 each day between now and the end of the month in order to smash our target! Please help in any way you can - no matter how small your donation, it all counts!
TEXT MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

132 Miles!

Yay we've crossed over into the 130s now! This weekend has been brilliant for morale, I'm feeling really positive and have a spring in my step knowing how much has been raised! The support has once again been fantastic, and I can't thank you all enough for putting up with me sending numerous tweets/statuses throughout the day! Your donations are now mounting up and we've raised £778! Just £22 away from £800 - it'll be amazing if we hit this tonight!

When I stepped out the door for my walk this afternoon, it definitely felt warmer than it has been recently, so I'm really hoping that it's a sign of things to come! Could do with some nice warm weather so that I'm not having to go out in all my layers and big walking boots! Would much rather a dress and sandals! Roll on Summer!

Once again, you can donate to or you can text MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070! Anything you can give, even if it's just a £1, will be brilliant and will take us a step closer to our target.

Thank you so, so much!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Fantastic day!

Wow what a great day we've had! After setting a challenge this morning of raising £10 today, we've ended up raising £45 which means we're now at £750! Not only that, but I promised that I'd walk an extra mile if we hit £750 before 3pm, and that's exactly what happened! I'm so, so pleased - the response today has been great! But I'm not one to rest on my laurels (sadly!) and I've now set myself the task of raising an extra £250 before the end of February! That's about £15 a day from now until the end of the month! This is achievable - today has proven that. But it's going to take a lot of work and support - I need everyone to help and rally round with raising awareness of the challenge so that we can get the most money raised as quickly as possible!

Really looking forward to seeing what happens - wouldn't it be amazing to say that we raised £1000 in our first two months?! I really hope to be in a position to say this on 1st March, and more importantly, think of what £1000 can do for Tommy's and their research! I received a letter from them today explaining that they'd love to open a fourth research centre, specialising in early miscarriage. I hope to be able to play a part in making this dream a reality - please help me!

Online -
Text - MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070
In Person - give me the cash and I'll donate it via Just Giving

Thank you!

Friday, 10 February 2012

125 Miles!

Well I wasn't sure I was going to be able to do my walk today. I woke up and had a really bad shooting pain right up the left side of my back. It hurt even to sit down and I couldn't lift Lola out of her cot this morning, I just had to let her hold onto my shoulder and then quickly swung round so that she made it over the railing! I took some ibuprofen and sat with a hot water bottle on it for an hour or so which definitely eased the pain, so I was able to go for my walk a few hours later. Cold again!

Please please keep sponsoring me -

Thursday, 9 February 2012

122 miles!

As I'm sure you can imagine, the weather this week has been less than inspiring! The worst thing is the slipperiness (if that's even a word!). I stopped off at the shop today and there's a big tiled area outside it, and I was literally skidding all over the place. If I didn't have the pram to hold onto, I'm sure I would've fallen over at least once! Just can't wait for the weather to get a little bit warmer so that it's not so miserable all the time!

My little girl has started going to creche three days a week, so I've been walking there, which is a 4 mile-round walk. I've only been adding 3 miles to my total each time though as I'm now starting to 'bank' miles in preparation for a few days in March and April where I won't be able to do the full 3 miles (hen do, cousin's wedding) I'll keep you all updated about this - if I ever miss a day's walking, I promise to make the miles up.

I'm hoping to raise £750 by this time next week so I really need your help to get the word out. Please keep telling your friends and encourage everyone to sponsor me! Ideally I'd love to at least be sponsored a £1 per mile, currently it's 70p (for the 1000 miles, anyway)

The link to donate is


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

David Fazollah Upeska Ashwell

The Brief and Beautiful life of David Fazollah Upeksa Ashwell: having a baby with an undiagnosed rare condition.

As you begin to read this, it is worth noting that this is rare; this is unlikely to happen to you – but it happened to us and we have a story to tell. 

On the 4th of March 2012 our son David should be one year.  I say should have been, because at 15 days old, after 13 days of his short life spent in PICU units at the Freeman Hospital Newcastle and The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, David died in my arms. 

At 1518 on Friday 4th March after an unremarkable delivery and a very easy pregnancy David Fazollah Upeksa Ashwell was born.  A beautiful boy weighing 3.6kg or 7lb 14oz with lots of dark hair and the softest skin imaginable came into our world and we were overwhelmed with love and emotion.  I was rather exhausted after over 11 hours of labour but every second was worth it for the stunning boy that appeared.  I held David in my arms through the corridors and was met with admiring glances at our beautiful son.  I was so proud of my gorgeous little man, and was so looking forward to showing him off to the world.  Little did I know then, how our days were numbered and how much I would treasure that feeling of holding him in my arms.

To cut a long, and very difficult, story short David became ill on his second night, first night at home.  Over the next 10 days or so, David would show signs of improvement followed by great dips of deterioration.  On the 13th day of his life, David went to theatre to have a lung biopsy.  After two weeks of watching David being poked, prodded and attached to machines that made loud noises, this was yet another traumatic day.  But the worse was still to come.  On the 14th day of his life we were given the results of the lung biopsy.  David had Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia (ACD) a rare and fatal lung condition.  There is no cure, there is no treatment; it was time to turn the machines with all their incessant beeping off.  All our immediate family came back to Newcastle to say goodbye to the little baby who was going to be with us so briefly.

While we only had two short days while David was in good health, the following 2 weeks were the most difficult of our lives and, at the same time, the most consciously precious.  It frequently felt like being trapped in a nightmare from which we couldn’t wake and we pinched ourselves on a number of occasions. We had a number of highly fraught journeys up and down the A19 in the middle of the night, phone calls which brought only bad news and sleep was something which we caught in snatches on hospital waiting room chairs. 
However amongst the nightmare were some precious moments. The cuddles with David on PICU and the brief moments when he opened his eyes and looked straight into ours, when he gripped our fingers tightly. These moments made all of the waiting, uncertainty, and sitting on PICU worthwhile and provided us with some hope.

ACD is extremely rare, only 200 reported cases worldwide, so many basic questions need to be answered about this condition.  More research is required to try to answer parent’s questions, like will this happen again?  Simon and I have focused much of our energy into running The David Ashwell Foundation, which fundraises for ACD research.  We have a number of fundraisers including Simon and colleagues from James Cook cycling coast-to-coast in one day.  There is more information about the foundation and the fundraisers here: ities/davidashwellfoundation

While this is unlikely to happen to you, I think it is important to remember that infant death could affect someone you know or even someone you went to antenatal class with.  When it does, unfortunately, happen the parents-to-be will have just had the most huge disappointment of their life.  This is a particular kind of grief and a unique form of grieving; they are grieving a future with the child that never came home.  Everyone handles grief differently, but please don’t forget these parents, please include them.  They can say no, but it hurts more being excluded.  Being with young infants or pregnant women may be painful for them, however they simply want their own child and are not jealous or craving to have yours.  Don’t ignore them; don’t ignore the fact that they had a baby.  Try to show sympathy without crying every time you see them.  Being immersed in grief and having people talk to you with tear filled eyes doesn’t necessarily help, but then neither does ignoring the fact.  It’s a fine balance and it’s better to be up-front with them and ask ‘would you like me to talk about [baby’s name]?’  Most important, in our opinion, is to talk to them about that precious infant, because acknowledgment of that life, however brief is most precious. 

On a personal level, I miss so many things.  Mainly I miss my beautiful little boy and my chance to be his mother, but there are other small things.  Hardly anyone has asked me about the delivery after weeks and months of preparing for that event, it got overtaken by a somewhat larger event.  I don’t see or have any contact from any of my antenatal friends, I’d love to know how they are getting on, how their babies are...
Simon and I are almost 12 months down the line from losing our precious son.  Time doesn’t heal, you just get better adapted to living with your loss. Some of the most supportive people locally have been friends whose son is 3 weeks older than David and who we see regularly. Huge amounts of support have been found with the small group of international and UK ACD parents.  Our common shared experience unites us across all kinds of cultural even language barriers.  We have found comfort in turning our grief into energy to fundraise for a condition which is so rare and where so little is known.  Research will only happen if the group of parents worldwide fundraise. 

If we could capture and save the happiness, joy and contentment that we felt in the first few minutes, hours and days following David’s birth we would be smiling for the rest of our lives.  However events have turned out somewhat differently. My son is known to the wonderful nurses and medics on the wards at Freeman and James Cook, however to those who ask I am more than happy to share the beautiful and the heart wrenching story of our son’s short life.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

116 miles!

Just got back from what was probably one of the most challenging walks so far. I set off quite early as I was taking Lola to the creche - I had half an hour to walk there so was really pounding the streets. The problem was that the ground frost was making it really difficult to get a firm grip on the pavement, so I was wasting energy on trying to keep my balance! Very tiring. Once I got home, I felt quite ill as I'd just exerted myself so much. Hoping to set off earlier tomorrow to give myself more time to walk so that I hopefully won't burn out as quickly!

So thrilled that I managed to hit the £700 mark last night, please do keep donating! I've love to reach the big £1000 in the next few weeks but that'll require your help and support. Please give anything you can to


Monday, 6 February 2012

113 miles done!

My legs are really starting to hurt this week - I don't know if I've been walking faster or whether it's just because it's been cold and my muscles are seizing up, but every night this week I've been waking in the night with pains! Hoping it'll pass and that I'll be able to stretch the pain out eventually.

I've now raised £700 yay! Really pleased, that's now 70p per mile. Still need to raise more money though, aiming to get at least £1000 now so fingers crossed I'll be able to hit that over the next few weeks.

The blogs have been shorter this week as I'm studying all evening at the moment, so I apologise for being quiet, but as always your support really does mean so much and it's great to see the fundraising total going up and up! It really does give me a big boost of motivation before each walk

Thanks again, please keep giving!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

110 miles!

Sorry for the late blog, I've been studying all evening and decided to treat myself with a bit of TOWIE before settling down to write this. Today's walk was pretty uneventful, although it was the first time this year that I've not had to wear a coat for the whole walk! It was pretty mild this afternoon despite there being snow in most of the country. Southport seems to have avoided it so far, hoping it stays that way! 110 miles now completed and I'm really hoping to get some more donations in so we can hit £700! Please keep donating, it really does make a difference x


Saturday, 4 February 2012

No snow...yet!

I left for my walk nice and early this morning as I was desperate not to get caught in the snow - it was absolutely freezing. At one point, I wasn't sure I'd be able to continue, more for Lola's sake than anything, but I wrapped a few more layers round her and put the rain cover on the pram and she soon warmed up. I tried walking really fast just to warm myself up, which worked in the end, luckily! The wind didn't help either as it just sent chills through the gaps in my clothes - brrr!

There was only a slight bit of sleet this morning and there's been no snow since so far, it's been raining quite heavily all evening so I'm hoping that it'll be too wet for the snow to stick. Although I'm still a bit concerned about the amount of ice that could be around tomorrow, will just have to tread carefully and try not to slip over!

I've raised £640 now - so, so pleased! It keeps creeping up which is lovely to see!

I went into the big Tesco Extra today and was shocked to see that almost the entire newspaper stand was taken up by my face!! See below:

My Mum has been showing the article to all her friends as well, bless her!

Thanks again for all your support, 107 miles done now yippee! x

Friday, 3 February 2012

104 miles

I'm well and truly into triple figures now which is really exciting, if not slightly daunting! The response from yesterday's newspaper article has been lovely in terms of support, lots of people have seen it and got in touch, and I'm hoping there'll also be some more donations to follow. My Mum has just collected some donations tonight from her friends so I'll add those to the total once I've got them. I'm really, really pleased with the progress that we're making in terms of fundraising, hopefully it won't be too long before we hit the big £1000 mark!

I'm at a university tutorial tomorrow but I'm hoping to walk beforehand so that I can (fingers crossed!) avoid the snowfall that's forecast. It wouldn't be a problem except for the fact that prams are very difficult to push through snow, so I'm hoping that whatever does fall, doesn't stick, and if it does, then I hope it's disappeared by Sunday so that I can continue walking! I don't want to lose my momentum by missing a day due to bad weather, so I'm really hoping it doesn't get too bad!

I've now raised £635 - you can donate here:

Thank you!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

100 miles done & in the paper!

Wow, what a day this has turned out to be! I found out last night that my piece for the local paper would be featured on the front page, so needless to say I felt like a bit of a geek this morning buying it in Tesco with my face splattered on the cover! The checkout lady said she'd recognised me when she saw the paper this morning!

You can view the article online here:

The photos from the article are below!

I've also just walked my 100th mile - can't believe how quickly it seems to have gone so far! Although my legs were definitely aching this morning!

£620 has been raised so far which is just brilliant, please keep giving, the next big target is £1000 which will be amazing to hit! You can donate at or by texting MAMA50 followed by £1, £2, £3, £4, £5 or £10 to 70070 - texts are free so it'll only cost you the amount you donate!

Thank you so much! x

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Ella's Story

Ella Gilvarry - Born sleeping 12.11.10

My daughter Ella was born sleeping on the 12.11.10 at 2.57pm in Liverpool Womans Hospital My wife had a normal birth and Ella was as beautiful as her 3 sisters in every way but one! She never had the chance to laugh, cry, smile and show the world her beauty. WHY!

We knew we had lost Ella before she was born, we had been told at a routine midwife appointment 2 days previous. She was 39 week term when she died. My wife is a fit, healthy young mother and we never had any signs throughout the pregnancy of any issues. To walk into a maternity ward hand in hand knowing we would have nothing at the end of it was horrendous. No need for a car seat, a bag of clothes for a few days. Just a life of lost dreams. We were given a private room and my wife was induced, we sat patiently...The cries of new born babies everywhere, this was unbearable. After Ella was born, I cut her cord, as I had for her 3 sisters, I told my wife how she looked just like them, I broke down. At that moment my attention turned directly to my wife. My job was to protect her, support her, love her. The midwives did what they could but no words will cover these moments. In hindsight I should have asked so much more, maybe I was afraid of the answers. WHY!

We spent most of the day with Ella, we held her, kissed her and remarked how beautiful she was. We decided to allow her sisters to come to see her, they were 5, 3 and 18 months. We felt it was important that they knew Ella was born, knew what she looked like and understand that she was too special for this world. Ella existed and shouldn't be hidden away. It was lovely to see them stroke her and kiss her goodbye, I'm happy we did this.

The days after were filled with pain, pity and anger. I tried to create a bubble around my family, it's my job to protect them, we shut the world out. Ella's funeral was a very private event and I'm comfortable with how we dealt with it. I was hoping to carry her basket on my own but couldn't manage it. My dad who walks with a stick, helped me, I'm proud and grateful for that. The support and love we received truly changed my life. After 3/4 months of utter self pity we decided to try and make a difference. We decided that as Ella never had a chance, we would use her spirit to make a mark on this world. Before we lost Ella, I know nothing about stillbirth, knew no one that had lost (although I'm sure they were in my life) On researching this, I was shocked and horrified with the results that came back.4000 babies a year, average of 11 a day WHY!

How could we live in a country as advanced as ours, where 11 babies a day die and 30% of them are unknown deaths (4) I'm a practical sort of man and I couldn't understand that 4 babies deaths everyday are unexplained and we not only know nothing  about it, we are also doing very little about it. WHY!

We set up a fundraising foundation in Feb 2011 in memory of Ella. Our aim was to gather like minded people to raise awareness of stillbirth and also help sick children’s charities. We just wanted to make a difference and breakdown the taboo to stillbirth. People get shocked at how openly we talk about Ella and stillbirth, it's not a dirty word. Ella is my daughter, just like her sisters and I love her and will talk about until my last breath. In August 2011 we organised a charity team to take part in a 5km fun run in Liverpool for Tommys baby charity. We had 44 Team Ella runners from all over the UK and Ireland and we raised in excess of £8000 for Tommys. For us, this was immense and was a fitting day for Ella. It was the opposite to her sad private funeral. All our closest and dearest friends and family came, we had a marquee and food with happy smiling people everywhere. It was a celebration of her spirit. Ella never lived, but while we do what we can to raise awareness to stillbirth...She will never really die. In 2011 we raised £17,000 for stillbirth and childrens charities, this is how I've come to know Heather and the fantastic work she is doing. We aim to work harder in 2012 and do more, thats all we can do. I've realised in life now, that I can make a difference, I can help, charity is very important. WHY!

Because we can make a difference x

Ella's Dad

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