- Baby Saves
“On Jan. 13, 2016 I was resting at home after a recent sinus infection diagnosis. While laying on the couch, I realized that I was not feeling as much baby movement as I typically had been. I repositioned, drank some water, and called my husband at work. He encouraged me to call my OB. I was reluctant at first, telling him ‘I still feel flutters, just not the active kicks and movements, and I don’t want to be ‘that’ first time mom who calls in and nothing is wrong.’
Even though I’m a nurse, I was a naïve first time mom who thought, ‘Well, if I don’t feel well and I’m just laying around, then maybe the baby is going to be less active as well?’ Boy was that incorrect!! I called my OB who wanted me to track movement for a certain timeframe then call them back to report.
So, I started watching the clock and Counting the Kicks. I soon realized that the movements were far less frequent than they should have been. I called the OB line and was told to come into the office.
I called my husband back to let him know I was heading to an appointment. He said he would leave work and meet me at the office, but I told him not to worry about driving from downtown, and I would keep him updated.
My work baby shower was that night and I was hoping that it would be a quick visit to the OB, they would check on the baby, all would be well, and I would head home to get ready for my baby shower.
When I arrived at my OB’s office, the nurse took me to the room with the fetal monitor. She had a hard time finding the heartbeat and said she needed to get my OB. That is when reality set in that something was wrong. I started bawling thinking “did something happen to the baby?”
Once my OB came into the room with the doppler, she found a heartbeat after some searching. I again started crying, this time tears of relief. They strapped the fetal monitor to my belly and gave me a clicker to press every time I felt movement. They said they would be watching from the central monitoring station and would come back to check on me shortly. A little while later the nurse came back into the room and said ‘you haven’t clicked your button.’ I told her that’s because I hadn’t felt any movement.
Only very very subtle movements were picking up on the monitor, and not enough for me to feel them. This is when the OB called the high risk L&D floor to get me admitted. The nurse walked me to this unit of the hospital and I called my husband on the way.
Unfortunately, the president was in Omaha that day, and all the interstates were closed. So my husband had to take side streets from downtown Omaha to Elkhorn, and what was typically a 20 minute drive took him almost an hour.
I was admitted to the L&D floor and the perinatologist came to the bedside to do a biophysical profile. He spent approximately 45 minutes on the biophysical profile (BPP), which I assumed was normal. Come to find out, those are typically a very quick test, but he was not getting good readings on the baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, movement, or breathing, which is why the test took longer. Thankfully my husband had arrived as the BPP was wrapping up. The perinatologist told us that he wanted to repeat the BPP in 4 hours, and if it was still abnormal then ‘we’ll be having a birthday today.’ My heart sank. I was only 31 weeks and 4 days pregnant. I was not ready to deliver, nor was I confident that a baby born that prematurely would do well.
My OB came into the room and said she was going to go home to eat dinner with her family and then she would return to the hospital to check on me. We decided it was time to update our families. My husband stepped out of the room to make phone calls to my parents and his parents. He said he turned around and noticed my OB talking to the perinatologist. She had changed out of her clothes into surgical scrubs. This was a surprise, because she had just told us she was going home about 10 minutes prior.
At that time the perinatologist and the OB came back into my room and the perinatologist said that he did the calculations on my baby’s growth and she had dropped to below the 5th percentile from her 10th percentile status 5 days prior. He said that meant the baby was in distress and he needed to do an emergency C-section STAT.
A swarm of staff came into the room. One nurse started an IV, another nurse went over the consent for the c section, another staff member put a hair net on me, surgical booties on my feet, and compression stockings on my legs. I was crying so hard I couldn’t even read the consent forms I was signing. In a matter of minutes from the determination of ‘GO TIME’ I was in the OR getting prepped for my C-section.
I turned to my husband and said ‘the baby is going to have so many problems, it’s way too early!’ A few minutes later, to our surprise, we heard a strong cry. I don’t think anyone was expecting to hear a cry due to the level of fetal distress she was in.
I didn’t get a chance to see her before she was whisked away to the resuscitation room with the neonatology staff. She was resuscitated, intubated, and given surfactant to help her lungs since she was born so early. I told my husband to go with her (Chloe) to the NICU.
Once in recovery, the perinatologist said that my placenta had stopped transferring nutrients and Chloe was basically starving. He said had I waited another hour to come in, he didn’t think she would have survived. This sent head to toe goosebumps throughout my body.
Had I not listened to my body, listened to my husband, and gone into my OB, the day would have taken a drastically different turn. It took us 4.5 years to get up the courage to try for baby No. 2 based on how traumatic the birth and newborn experience was with Chloe, but I am forever grateful that I was home from work on Jan. 13, 2016, because had I been busy at work, I know I wouldn’t have noticed decreased movement. Now I tell every pregnant woman I come in contact with to make sure they monitor fetal movement and Count the Kicks.” -Jess H., Chloe’s mom
More Baby Saves
Sign up for our newsletter for the simplest way to stay in touch with the latest information about our mission, events, volunteer opportunities, and more.