At the start of my third trimester I started counting my kicks per instruction from one of my preferred doctors in a large medical group I was a part of. Little did I know this would be the most valuable lesson I learned from any book, blog or class. Unfortunately, my third trimester also meant I would have to start seeing other doctors in the group and wouldn’t have much contact with my one preferred OB/GYN…but I still followed her advice. Every day I would spend time counting my kicks until I reached 10 kicks. I had a pretty good idea of my baby’s movement patterns.
Around 35 weeks during my pregnancy things started to change. I was extremely uncomfortable and started getting really bad headaches. At my 36 week check-up, I mentioned to an unfamiliar doctor that I was noticing much less movement in my baby. He told me not to worry, that baby’s movement decreases as you get later in your pregnancy. He reassured me further saying that my baby’s heartrate was normal. I left that appointment optimistic and felt like I was being a little too cautious and worried. I tried to relax but I continued feeling little to no movement patterns at all.
I tried drinking juice as this usually made my baby move around a bunch. So I drank and laid in bed, waiting and hoping to reach those 10 kicks in a short period of time. I remember starting to cry saying to my husband “He’s just not moving much still”. After calling my Mom and my best girlfriends who all tried to reassure me that things were probably fine. I tried to relax again.
A short time later, I started having very irregular contractions. I called my doctor’s office and spoke to a nurse who said what I was experiencing was Braxton-Hicks contractions. She saw in my chart that I was just in for an appointment just a few days prior with very thing checking out OK and she told me to just time the contractions. When mentioning the decreased movement patterns, it was very much brushed off as no real concern again. After a night of no sleep and LOTS of worrying, I decided to follow my mother’s instinct which told me something is not right with my baby.
Once we arrived at Labor and Delivery at our hospital, things moved pretty quickly after that point as my baby’s heartrate was extremely low and they couldn’t determine why. After a short time of continued monitoring, the doctor said we needed to move to C-Section.
My son, Rylan was born on August 13, 2013 suffering from a spontaneous fetal maternal hemorrhage. His little body was slowly shutting down inside of me. His adrenal glands had hemorrhaged as his loss of blood was becoming too much for his body to handle. He was born with only 19% of his total blood left. He received two blood transfusions and had an 8 day stay at the NICU.
Doctors and nurses had no explanation for why this happened. The only thing they could confidently tell me was that if I would have waited about 4-6 hours later, my baby probably would not have lived. Those words haunted me for weeks after giving birth. The only thing I could feel positive about was that I saved my baby’s life.
Counting kicks is a tool that expecting mothers have. It is something that no doctor, nurse or midwife can replace. It is such a powerful way to know how your baby is doing. I now tell every expecting mom to count her kicks!
Even before my baby’s heart rate was affected, his movement pattern changed.
Counting kicks gave me this knowledge.
This knowledge is powerful.
This knowledge saves babies!
– Dianna, Rylan’s mom