• Meet Abel

Meet Abel

  • Baby Saves
  • 01.11.23

“I had my first baby in December of 2019. It was a normal pregnancy and birth with no complications. In July of 2021 we found out we were expecting again. From the start I felt uneasy. I always pushed the feeling aside as nerves from the miscarriage we experienced in 2020.

When I started feeling regular movement I felt like I needed to keep track. I had never felt the need with my daughter, but something pushed me to do it for my son. I found the Count the Kicks app and started tracking my son’s movements every night.

At 33 weeks and 3 days pregnant I had a regular prenatal appointment and an ultrasound to check my son’s growth. I had noticed he hadn’t been moving as much that morning and even mentioned it to the nurse, but according to my OB-GYN he looked ‘perfect,’ so I pushed my worries aside.

At 34 weeks and 1 day pregnant, he barely moved from the minute I woke up. I thought maybe he was just resting, but by 2 p.m. his minimal movement was too much for me and I went home early. I tried every trick to get him to move and he wouldn’t. Finally I pulled out my Doppler to make sure he was still there. His heart rate sounded out of control.

My hands were shaking and my heart was in my throat as I called the after hours line at my OB-GYN office. They told me to go right to labor and delivery. My husband stayed home with our daughter and I raced the 40 minutes to the hospital. I hadn’t felt him move in so long and I truly thought we were going to lose him.

When the nurse hooked me up to the monitors and finally picked up my son’s heartbeat she confirmed it was incredibly fast. Luckily, my OB-GYN was working that night. She used a different Doppler to try and check my son’s heart rate and when she did it instantaneously sounded normal again.

She let me know they would monitor my baby for at least an hour. Soon after she came back to say they were noticing my son’s heart rate was not behaving as it should. She ordered an ultrasound. What should have been a 10 minute ultrasound took almost an hour. I was moved to a delivery room to wait for the results of the biophysical profile.

I had barely gotten set up in the room when my OB-GYN came in. I knew from the look on her face that it was bad news. She sat down on the bed next to me and grabbed my hand. She told me that my son didn’t look good, that he had fluid building up around his organs. We were having a baby ASAP. The nurses and doctors prepped the operating room and as soon as my husband arrived we went back for the Cesarean section. Abel was born at 9:05 p.m., 6 weeks early, and just 3 hours after arriving at the hospital.

While in the NICU, Abel was diagnosed with Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome and we learned the culprit of his issues in the womb. His heart had been racing at 300 bpm, unable to slow down.

I want to share Abel’s story because I know it is easy to dismiss your intuition and not want to be a bother to hospital staff. It still haunts me to think that Abel could have gone into heart failure or worse if I had kept pushing my worries aside or hadn’t even been paying attention at all. Even though I had nerves surrounding his pregnancy, I never truly thought that such drastic intervention would ever be needed. 

Please pay attention to your baby’s movements and bother the heck out of your medical team if something seems off. I’m so grateful to all the nurses and doctors that got Abel out safely, to Count the Kicks and to those that share their baby save stories.” -Christine S., Abel’s mom

Editor’s Note: A change in a baby’s movement may indicate potential problems before actual changes in the heart rate are detected. Expectant parents should only use a Doppler device under the guidance of a healthcare provider.

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