I had a pretty busy day, started with a Bible study, an FRG (family readiness group) meeting in the afternoon, a trip to Costco, then choir rehearsal that evening. A friend in choir always asked how the baby was doing, and without much thought I said “moving and shaking”. He was an active little one, always moving, so I become accustomed to giving this response. After the words left my mouth I thought, hmm, when is the last time he moved? During the rehearsal I felt a few movements, but not the strong kicks I was expecting. I was 35 weeks pregnant with our third child, I knew this wasn’t normal.
When I arrived home I drank a glass of cold orange juice and lay down on the bed to count kicks. I got 10 kicks, they were weaker than I would have liked, but everything I was reading said 10 kicks in an hour was okay. The next morning I was off and running and took my oldest daughter to swimming lessons. Usually, the baby kicked a bunch while I was in the water chasing my toddler, but today, nothing. We went home, I feed my girls and put them down for a nap. I sat still for 30 minutes and felt nothing; that is when I called Labor and Delivery. I told them what was going on and they said that while it was probably nothing, let’s be safe and take a look. I dropped my daughters at a friend’s house and drove to the hospital in tears, fearing the worst.
At the hospital I was immediately taken into triage and the nurse found the baby’s heartbeat. His heartbeat was strong, I was relieved. The midwife did a biophysical profile and everything looked good, she even showed me the ultrasound as he was waving his hands, but I still felt like these were not the strong movements I had come to expect. The standard procedure was to monitor heart rate for an hour. My husband was at a meeting at work. I left a message, but he rarely had cell phone coverage there, and things were looking good, so I wasn’t worried.
After about 45 minutes, the baby’s heart rate plummeted. A team rushed in and rolled me to my side. The heart rate came back up, but I just won myself a 4 hour stay for monitoring. I was moved to a room in L&D and a team was closely monitoring me and the baby’s heart rate. My husband arrived at the hospital, and within 10 minutes the baby’s heartrate plummeted again. JJ was delivered just a few minutes later. JJ was very pale, he was intubated. He had lost about half of his blood volume through the placenta, into my bloodstream. It was called a massive fetal-maternal hemorrhage. We were both transported to a hospital with a better NICU that night. JJ received two blood transfusions and never looked back. He spent only 4 days in the NICU before coming home. JJ is now a healthy, active, 3 year old boy.
The doctors told me that if I had waited another day, my son would not have made it. I praise God that this was my third child because I knew that he should still be moving. I knew that there was still plenty of room in there. I knew that kicks shouldn’t be getting weaker.