Petition and Media Attention Update

Hello Everyone

Thank you so much for all the support you have shown so far! I am overwhelmed but there is still a long way to go! Just thought that I would give you a quick update so that you all know what is happening…

As you know Sophie’s Story has been in the mirror twice which has really helped to push the petition, we have also been in the Kent Messenger Newspaper recently and had a very supportive letter from the House of Commons; I have been contacting people to try to gain more publicity and have now been invited to join the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss’ in The Houses of Parliament in Westminster, this is an amazing opportunity, and it means that our voices will be heard! Yesterday I had an interview with BBC Radio Kent which went really well too.

If you can then please share the link to the petition again! It would mean so very much to gain as much support as possible! Thank you… and don’t forget to ask others to share too!!! https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/cut-stillbirth-rates-by-half

Awareness: Please like the Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness Facebook page if you can.
Support: If you have been affected by stillbirth, miscarriage or infant death, then please feel free to join the Sophie’s Angels Support Group.

Thank you so much for your continued support

xxx

Sophie’s Angels and the Future

I am constantly trying to think of ways to support more people who are going through the loss of their child and raise awareness about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death. The Sophie’s Angels support group has become very successful, with many people making new friends and finding that connecting with other mums, dads, grandparents etc has helped them with their own grief. The Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness page has been amazing for raising awareness and breaking the taboo, and this blog is now being viewed all over the world which is just incredible.

The petition is going well… but it’s still very early days! However, the awareness it has raised concerning preventable stillbirths has been amazing! Sophie’s story and the petition have been on the Mirror Online twice, The Kent Messenger Newspaper, and tomorrow morning I have an interview with BBC Radio Kent. I have had a letter from the House of Commons in support of these changes. This wouldn’t be possible without so much support from friends, family, followers and other grieving families… so Thank you!

In the future I would really like to see Sophie’s Angels become a charity, and I am currently looking at ways to make that happen! I would ideally like the charity to concentrate on raising money for bereavement suites, cuddle cots, and memory boxes… not just for parents, but for siblings and grandparents too. I don’t feel that there’s enough support out there for siblings or grandparents.

So, exciting plans for the future! If you would like to sign and share the petition it would mean so much to many grieving families; and please feel free to join Sophie’s Angels if you have suffered a loss… it doesn’t matter how long ago that loss was.

Letter from the House of Commons!

I have, today, received a letter (which I’ve posted below) from Helen Whately at the House of Commons; she is our MP and the letter is very encouraging! In the letter she states ‘I agree with you that we must raise as much awareness as possible about baby loss. Our stillbirth and neonatal death rates are not as good as they should be given that we have one of the most advanced healthcare systems I the world’.

She has also given me pointers on who I can contact next, and asked me to contact the ‘All Party Parliamentary Group on Baby Loss’ as they are also campaigning to reduce the stillbirth and neonatal death rate, this was set up by two MP’s who have also suffered loss. I will be contacting them tomorrow.

She then goes on to say ‘I have written to the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt to ask about scans and what assessment the Department of Health has made for routine scanning post 20 weeks’.

This is amazing, we still need a lot more signatures, but the awareness of the problem IS being raised, and recognised. This wouldn’t be possible without your support… So thank you xxx

To sign and share the petition please click here.

To Join Sophie’s Angels – Raising Awareness, please click here.

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How I feel – 22 Months On

How has it been 22 months since you left us? On one hand time seems to have flown by and on the other it has gone in slow motion. It’s a very bizarre thing! I am trying to find the words to say how I feel; I have written and rewritten this so many times, and the truth is… I just don’t know!! I still have so many emotions, and so many triggers. People don’t tend to see the real me! They see the happy, strong, organised me; but they don’t see the ‘me’ behind closed doors! They don’t see the ‘me’ who is jealous of every single pregnancy announcement, and the don’t see the ‘me’ who suffers with anxiety, who is so protective of my other children, and paranoid about something happening to them that I had a panic attack when there was an incident at my son’s school… my son wasn’t even involved but it still caused a major panic attack. These are the things that I keep to myself, these are the feelings that people don’t realise affect me, this is the ‘me’ that I tend to hide.

Because I’m still not sure exactly how I feel, I will start by talking about the feelings and emotions that haunt me, before talking about the positive way I feel… as I’m sure that the good outweighs the bad!

After so many losses, I am still triggered by pregnancy announcements and birth announcements, I still struggle to see new born babies, and although I recently held my friends baby (who I adore) it is hard. I am sorry if this comes across badly; I am truly very happy when someone is expecting, and when their baby is born; but I still feel that pang of jealousy… I don’t show it, but it’s there! My anxiety became quite bad recently, and I finally (after months of my husband pleading) saw the doctor, I am now on anxiety meds and waiting for an appointment for therapy to help with my panic attacks… This was an important but difficult step for me to take, as I like everyone to think that I’m in control and everything is ok!

Now we move to my other children. As you know, I have 3 boys Brett (18), Brendon (12) and Aiden (4); all very different characters but all lovely in their own way. Brett is going through a hard time at the moment, we are trying to get an ‘all over’ assessment by the doctor (we have an appointment tomorrow), because since Christmas he has been really unwell. We’ve been to the doctors 3 times so far, but I’m hoping that by seeing a different doctor tomorrow we may get better results! He needs referrals to lots of different departments to find out why he’s so unwell; and hopefully get him back to college. I worry about him so much because he IS very unwell, and we don’t seem to be getting answers! My middle son Brendon is very outgoing, he enjoys sports and loves to take a football to the park with his friends. This causes me so much anxiety, I ‘have’ to take a step back and let him have fun… but it’s so hard! I like him where I can see him, and I can’t see him if he’s out playing! I try not to make it obvious; going out with your friends is a good thing… but to the ‘me’ that I hide, it is scary! Now we move on to Aiden; he is a ‘character’… that’s they only way to describe him!!! But, my goodness he seems to find danger at every turn! He is always hurting himself, knocking things over, bumping into things… these are normal things for a 4 year old, I know that, but I still can’t help feeling worried! He is probably my biggest worry at the moment, as he doesn’t seem to recognise danger, and he is always putting himself in dangerous situations (Opening the oven door, running in the road, putting his fingers in the hinges of the door etc).

Losing a child changes you, there is no doubt about that… but one of the biggest changes at the moment is the paranoia that something might happen to one of my other children… and this I find hard to shake.

Now I’m going to move on to the things I am grateful for. I am very thankful that I have such an amazing, loving family. Paul and I have become closer throughout the losses, and as I know this can tear relationships apart, I am really pleased that this hasn’t happened with us! My children are happy and healthy (apart from the health concerns with Brett, but we will sort that one out!!), and we are very close as a family; we always keep the lines of communication open so that helps a lot! I am also grateful that I can speak to my mum and step-dad, my dad and step-mum and paul’s mum and dad about anything and everything! We really do have a fantastic family and I owe a lot of my strength and courage to them! They have supported me with anything that I wanted to do, and been there to wipe the tears!

My friends are amazing! I have both friends that I see, and online friends in the loss community… after losing Sophie I ‘lost’ quite a few friends and was upset for a long time; however, the friends that I have now are the most amazing people! It is true that you find out who your friends are when something tragic happens!

I am really happy that I have been offered an unconditional place to study Midwifery at Canterbury Christchurch University in September. Not many people would be happy to receive an ‘Anatomy and Physiology’ book, or a blood pressure monitor for Christmas… but for me… I was over the moon!! I’m excited and nervous!

Sophie has also given me the opportunity to help other people, which although it hurts like hell sometimes, I feel very privileged to be able to do it! Sophie’s Angels has grown so much recently, and although biased, I feel I have the most amazing admin team! They are always there for people, and we all truly care about the members of our group; some of which have become good friends, or formed friendships on the group. It has been great to see the group change and develop! Our Angel Sophie has also grown which is fantastic! More people are hearing Sophie’s story and more people are interacting with the page. Our Twitter Page is slowly growing and I’m finding this to be good way to communicate with a range of organisations and people. I am thankful that we have had media exposure, and were in the Mirror Online twice last week! This article focuses on Sophie’s Story, and this one focuses on the things not to say to grieving parents.

I am extremely grateful with the support that has been shown for the Petition, there are far too many preventable stillbirths and this need to change. At the time of writing this we have 3,069 signatures… still a long way to go, but it is rising and it is gaining awareness! If you could sign and share it then it would be really appreciated.

So, yes, there are now many things that I am grateful for! And although I still get ‘triggered’ and find some things really tough, I can see that we have a happy and positive future ahead!

Forever loved and forever missed my gorgeous girl, but you are making a difference and you legacy will live on xxx

Cutting the UK Stillbirth Rate by 50%

The government are aiming to cut the stillbirth rate by 50% by 2020, although I am sceptical on whether or not they will achieve this unless they implement doppler scans and the Growth Assisted Protocol (GAP) for all pregnant women; at present GAP is used for high risk pregnancies, but as it only costs 50p per pregnancy it should be used for all pregnancies. It has been proven that regular doppler scan can reduce stillbirths by 50%, and GAP can reduce stillbirths by 22%.

Each year, more than 3,000 babies are stillborn in the UK, and 1,500 of these are thought to be preventable, Britain has one of the worst stillbirth rates in the developed world. Prof Kypros Nicolaides was interviewed by the BBC, he said ‘offering all women Doppler scans, which measure blood flow between the placenta and foetus, could save 1,500 babies a year’ Many stillbirths (like Sophie’s) are caused by placental insufficiency (if the blood flow is abnormal, babies are starved of food and oxygen). This can be spotted by a Doppler scan, but most hospitals use these only on the 15%-20% of women who are deemed high risk – as per national guidelines.

The BBC also reported that ‘All pregnant women who attend Prof Nicolaides NHS clinic at King’s College Hospital in London are offered the Doppler scan at 12, 22 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. We have demonstrated through extensive research that you can identify more than 90% of these cases and can easily avoid them, and we can do so through very simple adjustments in the way we deliver antenatal care’ He offers the additional scans with the support of King’s administrators, but consultants at other hospitals have been told to stop because they were acting outside NHS practice guidelines.

St George’s Hospital in London has also introduced the scan to all first-time mothers at 20 weeks, which costs £15 per mother if given at the same time as a foetal anomaly scan. Since this introduction, the hospital has seen its stillbirth rate drop by 50% in three years.

Prof Gardosi’s method involves measuring the pregnant woman’s bump and recording the measurements on a personalised growth chart. Prof Jason Gardosi, director of the Perinatal Institute in Birmingham, set up the Growth Assisted Protocol (GAP), which costs 50p per pregnancy, and can reduce the stillbirth rate by 22%. It works by giving each mother a customised growth chart developed using her height, weight at beginning of pregnancy, ethnic origin and how many children she has had. It tells her how large her baby is expected to be, for each week in the pregnancy and if the baby’s growth falls outside the expected “norm” for that individual woman, the mother is given extra scans to check that the baby is thriving.

Feel free to sign my petition to ensure that doppler scans and GAP are used for all pregnant women, you can find the petition here.

Click here join Sophie’s Angels Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Death Support Group
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