Sands Fundraising blog, charity, stillbirth, neonatal death, support
The Fundraising Team, Sands | 18 April 2018

In the build up to the Virgin Money London Marathon we're meeting a few of our wonderful #TeamSands runners. If you're interested in becoming a #TeamSands supporter, check out our list of exciting fundraising events.

Name: Paul "Stampy" Stamp

From: Winchester

Why are you running for Sands?

My wife Joanne and I met in 2003, married in 2007 and three years later welcomed our daughter Poppy. We'd always envisaged having more than one child and it was great news when Joanne fell pregnant a couple of years later.

It was when Jo was nearly 17 weeks pregnant, in 2014, that we learned the terrible news that she had miscarried. I'll always remember the message she left when she found out. Not really realising what the next steps entailed (the delivery of the baby after labour) - friends had suffered similar heartbreak, although you truly cannot understand yourself what's involved unless you go through it - we can only say that the privacy of the Sands suite at Basingstoke hospital, the care from the bereavement midwives in it and the keepsake of a memory box, funded by the charity, provided a ray of light on a very dark day.

Bad luck we thought. But in the coming months we discovered that a blood condition (APS) which causes clotting was behind the loss. We tried again, armed with knowledge (and injections, to be self-administered daily) that would up our chances of a successful, full-term pregnancy. Not a 100% sure bet but more likely than not. At least we had a chance. Loads of people don't even have that.

So when the call came once more - in 2015 and again at nearly 17 weeks - it was even crueller than before. I rushed home when Joanne said she had been told to go to the hospital because they couldn't find a heartbeat. But en route something else came through - 'Our baby has died today love'. 

We were both absolutely shot to bits. We had Poppy, yes, but it doesn't dull the pain of one loss and then a second, in almost identical circumstances. Even worse, you know what's ahead of you. 

Again we needed to make the dreaded trip to the hospital in the darkest weekend of my life for the baby to be delivered. Adele's Make You Feel My Love was the song on the radio as we pulled up to the hospital and now I'll always associate that song with that day. It can catch you unawares while you are in the car or doing the washing up.

Once again the midwives in the Sands suite provided compassion or shoulder to cry on, along with another memory box to take away for something to show that our babies were - albeit briefly - here.

Our consultant encouraged us to try again, based on a very comprehensive treatment plan (which still could have failed) and we were blessed and beyond relieved when Phoebe was born in 2016.

The more you speak to people, the more you find who have been in a similar situation. The comfort Sands provided during our two late miscarriages, and for many, many other people of course, is truly needed and we'll always be grateful. That's why I'm raising money for the charity.

It's hard to explain the impact these events have on you but when I think back to those sad times I also think of Sands. Let's hope they can keep doing what they do because they are very much needed.

paul stamp, sands, marathon

What has been your biggest challenge while training?

My biggest challenge was not so much a challenge but more a sacrifice on my wife's part, who has been looking after the girls and taking care of the house while I've been out for 2,3,4 hours on a Sunday.

What are you most looking forward to about being part of the London Marathon?

Most looking forward to having the Sands name on my vest on the big day. It means a lot.

What is your expected fundraising target?

Hoping to get to £1,500

What is your expected finishing time?

Maybe around 4 hours if it goes well

Where do I donate?

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