Mum’s 2,000-mile trek in mem­ory of her still­born son

Bristol Post - - NEWS - Emma GRIMSHAW [email protected]­

Most peo­ple think still­birth is a rare oc­cur­rence ... Sadly, this is not the case, it is more com­mon than peo­ple re­alise

ANORTH Som­er­set mum has de­cided to raise aware­ness and money for still­birth re­search in mem­ory of her baby son.

Mum Cate Don­ne­gool said there were no words to ex­press the an­guish felt when the mid­wives con­firmed her first child no longer had a heart­beat.

After de­liv­er­ing Raz, Cate was al­lowed a few days to live with him, in­tro­duce her baby to fam­ily mem­bers and even take him home.

Those days are now cher­ished mem­o­ries to Cate, from Dundry.

She said: “I was a bit con­cerned when I didn’t feel any move­ment for a while. I called up the cen­tral de­liv­ery suite and they told me to have a cold drink and lie on my side.

“When I still couldn’t feel any­thing I went in for a scan. I had no idea at this point how se­ri­ous it was.

“The mid­wife told me she couldn’t find a heart­beat.

“I was dev­as­tated, the bot­tom of my world fell off. I never ex­pected to hear that news. You are told to keep an eye on their move­ments but you don’t re­alise how im­por­tant they are.”

To help cre­ate a last­ing legacy for her son, 36-year-old Cate is walk­ing 2,000 miles, mainly around Bris­tol. She be­gan the chal­lenge on Raz’s first birth­day and will take her fi­nal step on what would have been his sec­ond, De­cem­ber 9.

She said: “Most peo­ple – me in­cluded ini­tially – think still­birth is a rare oc­cur­rence, the re­sult of a freak ac­ci­dent or neg­li­gence. Sadly, this is not the case, it is more com­mon than peo­ple re­alise.

“The UK has one of the worst still­birth rates, 15 times more com­mon than cot-death. One in ev­ery two hun­dred and twenty ba­bies is still­born in the UK, that’s ten per day.

“Over 3,200 fam­i­lies ev­ery year who don’t get to take their pre­cious lit­tle per­son home with them. Fam­i­lies whose lives are for­ever changed.

“We can’t fight it un­less more peo­ple are aware of it.”

After fall­ing preg­nant with her sec­ond child, Cate was ter­ri­fied through­out the nine months her baby would be still­born.

“I was off-the-scales wor­ried through­out,” said Cate.

“But I had a lot of sup­port from the St Michael’s team. I had a con­sul­tant and they knew me re­ally well on the de­liv­ery ward.”

All the money raised from Cate’s feat will be do­nated to Manch­ester Ma­ter­nal and Fe­tal Health Re­search Cen­tre, which is the only ded­i­cated still­birth unit in the UK.

Work achieved so far at the in­sti­tu­tion, has seen still­birth rates cut by al­most 30 per cent in Manch­ester since 2011.

If you want to do­nate, go to www. just­giv­ing. com/ fundrais­ing/ 2000miles.

Cate Don­ne­gool

Cate Don­ne­gool is rais­ing money and aware­ness for fam­i­lies who have a still­birth

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