The Stories Behind Our 12K Challenge - Louise

I’m Louise, 32 from  Manchester. Dog lover, Wife and Mother to two beautiful little girls, but not in the way I had imagined.

Having always dreamt of the stereotypical life, of buying a house, getting married, and having children I would say back in 2018 I was well on my way to achieving my small yet perfectly satisfying goals. I was in a job I adored, working for a dog welfare charity, me and my Husband had just moved into our forever home followed by the wedding of our dreams. Children were next on the list and much to my naivety and ignorance we got pregnant within a month of trying.

A “low risk” pregnancy followed and as far as we saw it by May 2019 we would be bringing our beautiful baby girl, Rosie, home. Rosie did come home, eventually, and placed lovingly in our living room at the heart of our life, but in an urn not the Moses basket we had prepared.

On Sunday 12th May 2019 me and my Husband walked eagerly into the hospital ready to be induced 12days overdue, with nothing but excitement to meet Rosie. 30minutes after arriving the world fell from under us as we heard the words “I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat.” I remember the blackout my brain had in that second, and the inability to process what had been said. How could Rosie have died? We heard her heartbeat 3 days earlier and she was really well. We were told she was “happy in there” that my pregnancy was “textbook” it just didn’t make any sense. After a long and painful 24hours and a labour not much shorter we finally met our daughter, our Rosie bird at 2.55pm on Monday 13th May 2019. She was perfect. She still exists as perfect in my mind. We spent three days with Rosie in the bereavement suite cuddling her, singing to her, and telling her just how loved she is. I barely took my eyes off her because I wanted to remember every inch of her knowing I would never get to to see her perfect face again. Walking Rosie to the morgue on that Wednesday afternoon and leaving her there has to be the hardest thing I have ever had to do. It was a beautiful sunny day and seeing the sunlight shine on her beautiful face for the first and last time is an imagine etched in my mind forever. The physical and emotional emptiness I felt in the moment I walked away is something that has never left me, and never will.

The days and weeks that followed are a blur, yet the strong feelings of loss and grief are as clear as they were 16months ago. One feeling that was overpowering was an emptiness that I just couldn’t fill, and I looked all over to find something to help ease the gap. I came across Lucy and the newly launched Rainbow Running Club and I immediately knew I needed to connect with her and all the amazing women who were doing the same. As a runner prior to being pregnant I felt this was something I could really be a part of and at the first meet in Manchester I was blown away by how that feeling of isolation and loneliness that I feel comes with babyloss completely disappeared for the time we were there.

I was exceptionally fortunate to fall pregnant again five months after Rosie died and I attended rainbow running club whilst pregnant, along with a rainbow yoga evening aswell as finding some great friends through these meet ups. Pregnancy after loss is excruciatingly challenging, filled with more mixed emotions than you can ever imagine and some of the women I have met in the rainbow running club community online really helped to get me through. Thankfully, with the support and care of Professor Alex Heazell at the Tommy’s rainbow clinic in Manchester, on 6th July 2020 our second daughter Lottie was born safe and well. Making me the proudest Mother of two truly incredible little girls. 

Why did you decide you would like to take part in our 12K for 12 Month's Challenge?  "I decided to take part in the 12k for 12months challenge to help raise the profile of the rainbow running club community but to also celebrate how far we have all come in that time."

What are your plans for the day? On the day I intend to do a mixture of walking and running from my house to Rosie’s memorial tree. I will be doing this on my own but I know virtually that Lucy and all the other people taking part will be right with me. My Husband and Lottie will be with me too at the tree, they will be taking the easy route in the car!

How will you keep motivated during the challenge? Are there any parts you are nervous about?  Are there any tips you can share to help others who may be apprehensive about taking part?  I have decided to choose Rosie’s tree as my finish point because I can’t think of anywhere that will motivate me more! I will want to get there no matter to what to make sure I see my eldest girl so that will without doubt keep me moving. I’m really nervous about the amount of hills I will have to tackle. Living so close to the Peak District is amazing with some great scenery and views but it comes with lots and lots of steep hills too. I think the biggest tip I have for myself and anyone else who may be worried is to not put any time pressure on yourself. We are in this together for reasons personal to us and so walking, running, or jogging with lots of breaks in between or no breaks at all are all fine. As long as we achieve what we set out to do on the day and you feel happy with it, that’s the main thing.  

What will you do to celebrate making it to the end of your 12k adventure?  To celebrate completing the challenge I am going to firstly have a little chat with Rosie at her tree, then give Lottie a huge kiss and cuddle and then probably go gone for a hot shower and and then a brew with a huge piece of cake! Nothing too fancy but for me that sounds that the perfect celebration in keeping with the rainbow clubs foundations. 

The "theme" for our first Birthday and our 12K Adventure is to celebrate not only our fantastic community but also our own achievements over the past year, (which is often something that gets forgotten when we are in the midst of infertility, loss and grief). What would you like to celebrate during the challenge?  In this challenge I would like to celebrate what my body has achieved physically over the last 23 months, including pregnancy and labour. I feel so eternally grateful to have been blessed with both my pregnancies and I have my body to thank for that, regardless of the fact I only brought one daughter home alive and well. I would also like to celebrate my emotional strength and resilience, because the death of your child is hard, harder than anyone can imagine and to have got up each and every single day and faced the world which takes courage and bravery I didn’t know I had. I also want to celebrate the life of Rosie and Lottie, both equally valid and important to me and my life.

What does the Rainbow Running & Yoga Club Mean to You?  The Rainbow running and yoga club means so much to me. It means I never have to suffer the loneliness and emptiness I feel on my own again. I know I have somewhere to feel safe and understood and that is invaluable to a bereaved parent. 

Louise @through_rosie_tinted_glasses

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