Please let me be clear about one thing: There is no doubt about it in my mind the “Count the Kicks” movement saved my baby boy’s life! My journey with “Count the Kicks” actually began several years before my first pregnancy. Dealing with endometriosis landed me in the doctor’s office often, and while waiting to be seen, I would read posters in the exam room. Count the Kicks was front and center and I repeatedly saw it, but knew it didn’t apply to me at the time. A few years later, when I was pregnant with our first son, I paid more attention to all the Count the Kicks posters with an excitement of anticipating the very first kick of my growing baby. I remember it well. Those flutters and kicks were my baby communicating to me, “Mama, I’m here and growing and getting stronger.” It’s the best feeling.
In November our first son was born safely, but I suffered issues due to my endometriosis and it took awhile to recover. Fast forward to the desire we as a couple had for a second child, and more trips to the doctors because we were having trouble getting pregnant. More waiting rooms, more exam rooms and more Count the Kicks poster to read, etching the information into my mind once again. After multiple tests, I was told the chances of me being able to get pregnant again was almost impossible. Key word, ALMOST… a month later, I was pregnant and looking forward to feeling my little baby kick my belly and say hello! His first kick was so strong! He already was our little miracle baby, and with every kick I was reminded how thankful we were for this second little baby growing in my belly. Even when he kicked me in the ribs over and over, I was grateful and thought it was a good feeling! His due date was the first week of October and our pregnancy tootled along without incident, though they would be treating his delivery as a high risk, not for his safety, but for mine because of the issues I encountered the first time.
September rolled around and on a beautiful fall day, we scheduled an afternoon play date with friends. I remember mentioning to my friend, my baby’s kicks seemed slower and not quite as often as his usual strong kicks constantly making his presence known. He was still moving, but differently. My friend tried to put my mind at ease, by telling me it’s the end of my pregnancy and he just doesn’t have the room to kick around as much. In the back of my mind I was thinking of all those Count the Kicks posters and very aware of my baby. I was also praying my husband’s flight would be on time, landing in just a few hours. We had planned on dinner out with my parents as soon as we picked him up from the airport. At dinner I was getting more nervous because the baby’s kicks were now obviously less frequent. I tried what doctors often do…drinking lots of ice water to see if that would cause him to kick more. It didn’t, and the Count the Kick posters were now blaring in my mind to be checked; at the same time my Mom advised me to call the doctor and talk to them. I did and was told to go to the hospital.
Immediately, they hooked me up to monitors, and I was relieved to see the baby’s heart beat going thump thump. However, the nurse came in and informed us the doctor ordered a stress test/ultra sound for the baby. The technician came and did the tests. They watch the baby over an extended amount of time and compare its movement with its heart rate while watching it on an ultrasound. The tech was very quiet and eerie during the test. With the statement, “I’m not seeing everything” she abruptly left the room and I started shaking. Two seconds later the doctor came in and simply stated, “we need to get this baby out, the umbilical cord is wrapped around the baby’s neck at least three times.” A flurry of activity ensued and I couldn’t stop shaking. Our family prayed as I was wheeled into the operating room. Chanson was born without incident and is a very healthy active boy. After his birth, the doctor’s haunting statement stays with me still, “he wouldn’t have made it through the night.”
The change in a babies’ kicks is real information! It is the only “voice” a pregnant Mom should listen to when she notices there aren’t as many or aren’t as strong. Count the Kicks! Babies do not stop moving when you are nine months pregnant. You won’t look foolish for calling the doctor and being seen. Count the Kicks saved my baby’s life!
– Jenise R., Chanson’s mom