Okay, so hands up, I admit it – I missed a month. The six month mark of Leo’s death and birth took us by some surprise, we naively didn’t think it would affect us that much (Ha! What silly people we are!) and so, I missed it and by the time I realised, I figured I might as well roll them both in to a mega update.
So here we are, seven months since Leo was born, and six months of this challenge, which has raised a phenomenal amount of money for both Tommy’s and SANDS. Read more about the challenge here, and read my original blog post here.
FUNDRAISE : Raise £5000 by Leo’s first birthday
As I mentioned in Month Four’s update, this has been hit and we are now pushing our way towards the £6,500 mark which is incredible.
Whilst it’s slowing down, there is still so much happening which is very exciting. We haven’t set a target again, but just going to see where it takes us. To hit the £10,000 would be mind-blowing, but I don’t think thats possible.
So on the fundraising radar currently…
- This morning, our friend Toby, raised £25 for Aching Arms selling bacon butties at work adding to Leo’s Aching Arms total of just over £200.
- Our friend Adi and family are soon going to be tackling the Birmingham Colour Rush and have smashed their target, with currently £837 raised for the Ashfield Fund at the JR Hospital.
- Next week, we are hosting a fundraising stall at RAF Benson Families Day in aid of Tommy’s – and we are really excited to finally get to raise some money for an amazing charity.
- A follower of our blog, Alice, is soon going to be hosting an event in Leo’s name later this month which is so lovely and kind.
- Our friend’s Siobhan and Sam are gearing up to the River Ness 5K next month in aid of MAMA Academy – Leo’s first event for MAMA!
- … and training in underway for the Oxford Half Marathon in aid of SANDS in October which is already sitting over £700!
WELLBEING : To do everything I can to be healthy mentally and physically in general
This is such a working progress, with every day presenting new challenges that we have to tackle. Since miscarrying, it has been my desire to get/stay/keep healthy and not go backwards, but it has also been really difficult to muster much motivation or enthusiasm – or mainly, maintain consistency as we are here, there and everywhere at the moment. Oddly, I had more back in Feb, March, April time…
We are both working hard though, and its not so much the results that I am concerned about, but the working hard at it. The Wife is working really hard to battle against the mental struggling of training for the Oxford Half (and I am so proud of her for doing so, as I truly see and feel how difficult it is for her to battle against grief, self-esteem and everything else). The challenge is to enjoy it, and the success is solely in the aim of crossing both the start line and the finish line in one day.
Whilst I *want* to loose baby weight, it such a shit to have baby weight to loose, with no baby. I am trying to not let it put pressure on me, and get down about it – I know, I know, we’ve been through enough yada-yada. I never wanted to worry about my weight at the beginning, as its so insignificant in the grand scheme of my baby having a grave, so I guess now that its starting to creep in, is just another sign that life is moving forward.
Mentally, we are on a waiting list for Cruse Bereavement. After an unsuccessful trip to the doctors, which left me feeling worse than when I went in, we self-referred to Cruse. Hopefully we will hear more shortly, but I am hoping it will just help us process all of the crap that we have to deal with. I’ve also been able to meet other loss mums, and that is worth about 10 counselling sessions! I haven’t blogged as much, and I’m ‘cheating’ on WordPress with Instagram… but writing, wherever that is, is helpful. As is creating and challenging grief into something productive.
STUDY : To research stillbirth and IVF
We got the opportunity to meet with Dr Alexander Heazell recently, which allowed us to turn over the last stone in the quest to ensure that we had all information that we could source about Leo’s death. Dr Heazell agreed with our hospitals assessment, which is a good thing – to know that we can trust their expertise. He did also explain more about certain elements of Leo’s post-mortem, and about some of the issues that they face in terms of research. One aspect that has sat with me, is the notion that they do not have an accurate idea of the number of ‘near misses’. I think this is so key to understand the somewhat ‘ease’ of stillbirth or neonatal death. So easily can things go from good to bad, but when things go good to bad, but do not result in death – how much is really known and understood about it?
My studying the past few months has taken a different focus, and has centred around learning calligraphy, or more specifically, brush lettering. Its been great to learn something new, and achieve. I really needed to show myself that I could achieve something again.
VOLUNTEER : To enquire about working with a charity or organisation to help others
Our volunteering for both Aching Arms and MAMA Academy now also includes fundraising for them. It may be just small amounts, but I’m glad that we can support those charities both in time and in money. By raising awareness for them, you never really know how many people you may be helping.
I’m about to start helping out with the MAMA Champions campaign, which will help highlight the charity within maternity services, and ensure that they key messages are getting delivered across the board.
REMEMBER : To participate in some local & National SANDS remembrance events & take part in Capture your Grief in October amongst others
‘Remember’ is a daily activity. Not a day goes by that we don’t talk about or do something for Leo. Whilst we don’t have to ‘do’ everything that can be done, it is really lovely to still find ways to remember Leo and celebrate his life.
GeoForLeo is doing really well, and he has gone on some magical adventures abroad and we have received some amazing photos, which is so heartwarming that complete strangers are prepared to do this. We have expanded to include Leo the Lion – the Third and the Forth to allow friends and family to take his footprints away with them. He is off to New York and Italy (at the same time!) next week, and has travel plans for France, New Zealand, Australia and DisneyWorld all before the end of the year!
Today, we received our 5for5 Pebble Project pebble back home, and I just sobbed and stroked it for about five minutes. Knowing that it has been lovingly taken to the top of five mountains, and returned to us with such compassion is overwhelming. I cannot wait to print out the pictures of him at the top of those mountains.
His name has been written in some many places, by us and by others, its such a amazing sight to see his name!
We have also had a fair few Robins join in our collection, which is really nice. Whilst loosing our little Robin was incredibly different to loosing Leo, and in some ways, the pain just gets swept up together – it still really nice to acknowledge and remember the teeny tiny Robin that could have been.
Again, these updates really provide a good check point for our grief, our journey and our focuses. I think the biggest shift for me in the past few months is accepting that some friendships will not survive this and that is okay, and instead of wasting energy and time mulling that over and being upset by it – I’ve chosen to putting that energy into new friendships and connections that do help, and making those work. And those connections that we have made are just incredible.