Four men will take on the London Marathon later this month to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia.
Rob Crussell, from Northampton, and three of his friends will be running the marathon in memory of Rob’s son Theo who died less than two days after being born in August last year due to complications from his mother Kate suffering severe pre-eclampsia.
Kate said: “On Wednesday August 5 I had a really bad headache, I tried everything to shift it but nothing would work, the baby had been moving but not as normal it was more a jerky kind of movement. Something just didn’t feel right.
“After chatting with Rob I decided to call the midwife unit. I explained about how I was feeling and they said for us to come down.
“After a little wait, we were seen. I had my blood pressure taken several times, looking back now its because they couldn’t believe the readings they were getting for someone that appeared to look so well
“I really didn’t think anything was wrong, then suddenly they were a lot of people in the room asking a lot of questions, when we asked what was going on they said I had very severe pre-eclampsia and it was said that the baby would need to come straight away.”
Kate’s pre-eclampsia was forcing blood across the placenta into Theo. She was rushed to theatre, and given drugs to lower her blood pressure to allow the operation. But that in turn reduced the blood reaching Theo.
Theo was born in the operating theatre, but he was not breathing. After resuscitating him for 35 minutes they found a heartbeat.
However, it became clear Theo had suffered a massive brain injury due to the lack of oxygen.
Kate said: “He managed to live for 44 beautiful hours, where we got the opportunity to change him, bathe him and see his ridiculously long toes and to spend some time with immediate family meeting and saying goodbye to our baby.
“It breaks my heart that up until this point Theo was a healthy baby boy and it was just this horrible disease that killed him.
“All the signs of pre-eclampsia are unfortunately also normal pregnancy related problems, such as swelling of the feet, face and hands, headaches, pains just above the ribs and vision problems.
“My blood pressure had been normal on the Monday when it was checked and its scary to think that something like this can literally spike within days.
“I was told that I was lucky to be alive, if I hadn’t gone in that night I would have passed away in my sleep – this is something that changes you as a person and something that even today I really struggle with.”
Rob, who lives off Banbury Lane by Hunsbury Meadows in Northampton, said: “We want to raise awareness of pre-eclampsia and just how dangerous it can be to both mother and baby.”
Rob along with Rich, Liam and Tom, are raising money for the charity Action on Pre-Eclampsia with their run. Donations can be made via their JustGiving page.
Rob and Kate have also set up a website www.4theo.co.uk telling their story, and providing links to their fundraising activities.
As well as the four-man team taking on the London Marathon, they are holding an online auction with lots including a framed and signed 2016 Northampton Town shirt, their friend Francesca will be abseiling down the Northampton Lift Tower, and they are holding a sold-out charity night on April 8.
You can also follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter via the website.
Rob said: “We received really good care from the staff at Northampton General Hospital on the labour and observation wards so we’d like to thank them.
“Our aim is to raise awareness of this disease and its symptoms so that people can be more aware of them and just how serious it can be.”