Nick Slatter Cycles from London to Windsor, 2016
Thank you so much to Nick for taking on this epic challenge and doing this 54 mile bike ride from London to Windsor in September 2016 and raising an incredible £1,208. Below is Nick’s great update post the ride!
- Ride Status: Complete
- Ride time: 5 hours
- Weather: Cloudy but mainly dry with the occasional annoying spit of rain
- No of selfies taken on the route: 1
- No of miles added to the route by the organisers at short notice: 3
- Overtaken by No. of tandem cyclists: 1
- No of stops: 3
- Water consumed on route: 1150ml
- No of McDonald’s consumed post ride: 1
- Cycling shorts status: Ruined
- Patella/femur prognosis: on-fire
- Vastus medialis muscle diagnosis: Pathetic
Daniel Rush Cycles from London to Newcastle, 2018
We often find that partners find it hard to express how they feel coping with the grief of losing a baby and potentially also losing their partner. Daniel decided to raise awareness and funds for the Ectopic Pregnancy Trust by cycling from London to Newcastle in July 2018 with some work colleagues. He found it cathartic sitting down, thinking and writing an honest and open account of how harrowing the past 4 years have been for Laura and himself.
Over the last 4 years, Laura and I have been trying to start a family unfortunately with little success.
Since we met, we always knew we wanted children. It’s one of the reasons I knew she was the one. We are both pretty healthy and just assumed things would naturally happen, after all it seemed like everyone else was getting pregnant, how hard could it be?
In the 4 years we have gotten pregnant twice. The first pregnancy ended in an ectopic in the tube. This was found at a scan due to complications just before our 12-week scan was due. I remember sitting in the room with her when we were given the news, as soon as she cracked, so did I. We just held each other and cried, it felt like we wouldn’t stop. At that time I hoped I would never have to see Laura that upset again, I just couldn’t let it happen, she didn’t deserve it. Life went on hold personally after the surgery but jobs, family and friends all had to continue. I felt like I needed to be the rock for her but inside I found this more difficult than I had imagined. It felt overly dramatic but I realised I could have lost Laura if this hadn’t been caught and I don’t know what I would do without her.
We continued to try….
The second pregnancy more recently looked like it was good news, at our first scan all seemed well and the staff performing the scan had great news! We got to see our baby and its heartbeat and could think about starting to make the plans for the future, we were elated, it felt like early days but we had made it!
Coming out of the room and needing to wait to sort a future appointment, 20 minutes passed by, we sensed something wasn’t right. Our fears were proven right. On reviewing the scans, the staff saw some problems which required a re-scan. What they discovered was that Laura had a cornual ectopic pregnancy; these are more difficult to diagnose as the pregnancy looks like it is in the right place, but actually isn’t. This meant this pregnancy needed to be ended as well and further surgery for Laura which went beyond the tube removal last time. The surgery took longer than expected and I couldn’t get an update, I was worried that something had gone wrong in the surgery and it took all my strength to stay calm.
I couldn’t believe it. Laura and I were devastated and the further surgery could make things the end of the road (luckily it hasn’t). The overriding feeling was that as much as I wanted a child, I knew Laura would be wanting it more, I couldn’t imagine what she was going through and it felt so cruel and unfair that this had happened again. How dare I feel like this when it is so much worse for her.
After the first ectopic I think I buried my feelings, the second has made it harder to cope, how could we only get pregnant twice and both be ectopic? Is this ever going to happen for us? Does Laura have to risk her life every time she gets pregnant? We’ve planned, got a family home, a family car, everything is set up and ‘on the surface’ perfect but there is a giant piece missing that we desperately want to fill. Recently Laura has been the stronger one as the grief of these losses has caught up with me somewhat, I’ve come to realise the world behind all this and the amount of women and their partners affected. I’ve read up and looked at the accounts from women and other men and seen that I’m not the only one thinking the things I do, that I’m not losing it. I have a lot of anger about this and I’m slowly dealing with it. All the while feeling like I’m letting Laura down by not being as strong as I can be for her.
I’ve learned many things about myself over the past year. The main thing is the love that Laura and I have for each other and although difficult at the moment, we will be coming out of this the other side stronger. I try and support Laura as best I can, most of the time I feel like I can’t give her enough, there has been a strong sense of guilt in all this that I’ve let her down. I even feel guilty writing this.
I said earlier I hoped I would never see Laura that upset again. I saw it happen a second time and in worse circumstances. It will be a long time before thinking about it doesn’t make me emotional (if I can ever shake it). Material from The Ectopic Trust and the website have massively helped us and provided the gateway to understanding how things are and how to seek help. I may have to see Laura as upset again; you can’t guarantee things are going to go well. I just hope I don’t have to but knowing the support is out there makes things that bit easier.
There is so much more I could write about this, but ultimately, I felt like I had to do something to repay the support and raise awareness around ectopic pregnancies and the devastating effect they can have.
So on Friday 6th July 2018 I completed my ride from London to Newcastle which I had done with a number of colleagues from Sage software. Having seen the devastating effect first hand and in truth not fully knowing how to cope with things myself I took the challenge of riding from London to Newcastle as a positive focus, to try and give something back and raise awareness about something which has been a very private matter for Laura and I previously. All week the thought of seeing Laura and getting a hug drove me home, I formed part of the fast group of 4 lads so there was no hanging about, we wanted it to be an effort! I got to see some beautiful parts of the country, I particularly liked stopping over in Cambridge, which I hope to take Laura to in future (with a little one in tow). The scenery from there to York was particularly stunning, the sun shone on us the entire way. The training and the ride took quite a bit of dedication and there were times where I had to push myself. Ultimately in my mind this doesn’t compare to what Laura and I have went through with the ectopics and I never wavered in my efforts when the pace was upped. This ride saw me clock my fastest ever average pace over 80 miles of approx. 20mph (which for non-cycling fans is pretty fast!). On the last day the route took us directly past the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Gateshead, the staff there performed both surgeries to remove the babies that didn’t make it and looked after Laura so well. It was a poignant moment for me as I rolled up the hill past it ready for the descent back to Newcastle and to my wife. I have some fantastic memories from the ride, made some new friends who I hope to see again and I can always say I rode my bike from London to Newcastle. Although I guess future challenges will need to be harder…….. I’m proud that I was able to raise some money for The Ectopic Pregnancy Trust and salute all those women and their partners who go through this horrible experience and also gather themselves to try to get on with life as normal. I hope Laura is proud of me, now I need to knuckle down, support her and hope that in the coming months and years we are fortunate enough that our family planning efforts will work out. To anyone who reads this who has been affected by an Ectopic pregnancy, remember that there are fantastic charities like The Ectopic Trust out there who can help, there will also be people who are a great support network for you.