I cannot believe another month has gone. Today, it’s four months since we met Leo. Each month feels longer and longer, but when I do these updates, it really does help to remind me what we have achieved, as sometimes it feels like we are making no progress at all.

To find out what it is all about, this is my first post. This is all to honour a little boy called Seamus and his fifth birthday.

FUNDRAISE : To raise £5000 by Leo’s first birthday

It’s only when I look back at just a week or so ago, that I really realise the progress that we are making. The events have started now, and we had such a wonderful day at our first run, the Colour Obstacle Rush! It was wonderful to come together, have a really good day, and do amazing things for Leo. We were all messaging in the morning, as the last few donations were coming in and we hit £1000 and £4000 all together. Me and The Wife just sat there, looked at each other , and cried.

With that, and The Wife running her 10km last weekend we are now sitting on an unbelievable £4,541! I am staggered. We have raised £2000 for our local hospital now, which is such a comfort. We have started fundraising now for the Oxford Half Marathon in October which The Wife and a few of my colleagues are taking part in.

We have two smaller events next month to help add to the fundraising: we are holding a bake sale and a raffle, and on the 17th next month are asking people to light a candle for Leo and all the other babies gone too soon, to honour five months since Leo was born (five being his number) and SANDS Awareness Month. We are asking anyone who takes part to also consider donating £5. If you are wanting to take part, we’d be so honoured. The event info is here.

To see all of our events, and keep up to date with progress, feel free to follow along on Facebook.
WELLBEING : To do everything I can to be healthy mentally and physically

I am now on Day 70 something on #100DaysOfWellbeing and I have found this month the toughest. The days are lighter, but  overall the motivation is dwindling. I did complete my C25K though, and built up to running 30 mins straight which made me very proud. I then got an injury, and it’s thrown me right off. Ive found trying to get the ‘get up and go’ to leave the house is tougher, even though the weather is nicer. I am working on it though, and trying to make more of an effort. I am going to the gym this afternoon with The Wife and hopefully it’ll be a kick to get back into it. I don’t want to loose the progress I did make.

I have been taking part in #MayWeAllHeal and #CreativelyMe on Instagram which are two self prompt grief and baby loss projects. I have found it really helpful and almost like self counselling. It’s given me the opportunity each day to reflect on different aspects of my grief and I’ve tried to find different ways of expressing them. It’s also given us both the push to talk and reflect together, which I find is really helpful.

We are both finding that we are increasingly lonely. And it’s not because we are alone as such, we think it’s mainly because we are without Leo and it’s about adjusting to that. The phone is absolutely quieter, and those that aren’t in contact are staying that way, so I guess you could say that the circle is smaller and less varied. We are making efforts to tap into some new sources of support though, and are looking to go to SANDS meeting next month – we missed it last month, but I think we are ready to go.


STUDY : To read the Lancet papers and research stillbirth and IVF and respond in some way

I read the MBRRACE report today and have been following it on Twitter. I also got a pitiful response from our local NHS CCG in response to my questions of asking him how Oxfordshire will meet Jeremy Hunt’s target in reducing stillbirths, so I got angry and sent a reply…
I have started volunteering for MAMA Academy (more below) and part of that involves writing up maternity related news stories and I am finding this quite useful as a way to learn about all the various developments and changed in guidelines and issues in the world of maternity too.

I am waiting on my notes form the hospital (still!) and once we have had them and been to see the specialist team in Manchester, I want to collate everything, do a bit more research and send some more questions through to the hospital.
VOLUNTEER : To enquire about working with a charity or organisation to help others

I am really leased to say that I got brave and put myself forward to volunteer for both MAMA Academy and Aching Arms. Both charities were developed in response to the founders own experience with baby loss, and I feel it’s a positive step forward for us to feel that we are actively doing something to support the community. By getting my local hospital on board with Aching Arms I know that parents and families will experience a little bit more than we did by recieving a bear donated on beh all of another baby, and knowing the comfort ours gives us, I’m glad that we are able to do that for them.

By working with MAMA Academy I want to be able to keep myself involved with the maternity side of things also, I think it’s a great way to ensure that we stay empowered with knowledge, particularly if we have another pregnancy. I am still shocked at how much information that is out there, from charities, but isn’t delivered by your midwife or GP during pregnancy. You easily miss vital information because your aslime you would be told it, if you needed it.  I’m glad to help others and also ourselves by doing this.

So now ate three charities I’m working for!

I also spoke to the Stillbirth Stories team and they would like to include Leo’s story in their main project. The project will involve 10 families initially, telling their stories and be available for others to listen to online. They are hoping to use it as an online archive to signpost people to in the future. The project is in collaboration with the specialist team in Manchester, and we were so touched when they said that they wanted to include us. We should hear more about it in summer.
REMEMBER : To participate in some local & National SANDS remembrance events & take part in #CaptureYourGrief in October

The most exciting thing that has happened this month is the Pebble Proejct has started! It was so exciting and emotional to just know that they were up there, with Leo’s pebble. We had a little cry at the thought of him on an adventure. Getting the photo back was so lovely, and I’m looking forward to hearing all the other adventures, and being able to frame the pictures and put them up on the wall.

I loved being able to create new memories for Leo, and by doing the run we could do that. It was such a gold day and to have friends and family with us, made it so special. We gave him his medal, and told him all about it!

We also attended a Saying Goodbye service that I wrote about here which was a different but very cherished way to remember Leo.
If you would like to honour Seamus’ fifth birthday, please have a look, set yourself a challenge and don’t forget to donate. All the information is here. Please spread the word! 

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