- Baby Saves
“Almost 10 years ago, we had our daughter, Kennedy! We enjoyed her pregnancy with ignorant bliss. I felt her a ton and she came full-term after a pretty textbook pregnancy. When she was four, we started trying for another baby. This was followed by two miscarriages and years of unexplained secondary infertility. My husband and I discussed that if a second baby didn’t happen by a 10 year age difference, we would enjoy our family of three. We gave ourselves one more month of trying … and nothing. We vowed to move on and start the next chapter.
A mere two months after we stopped trying, our Rainbow baby came to us. Que the anxiety. I spent those early weeks terrified to even mention my pregnancy. I told myself I would feel better once I saw the heartbeat, then when I hit 14 weeks, then I would feel better once I saw him at the anatomy scan. I kept moving the goalpost of relief and told myself I would feel calm once I felt him move consistently. During that time, in order to pacify my anxiety, I ordered an at-home doppler. That provided relief until I felt him move. Once I started feeling him move, I tucked my doppler away and enjoyed all the baby kicks.
As I was approaching the 30 week mark, I realized I started feeling him less. I was starting to swell, but because my blood pressure was completely normal, it was chalked up to an annoying side effect of pregnancy. No one was worried. I was asking everyone I knew about their babies movement and what was considered normal. I started to get really anxious again. Many well-meaning people were trying to placate my worry by telling me the baby was running out of room or maybe he was just content and comfy.
Still, I had this nagging feeling something wasn’t right. I started researching kick counts, and thanks to the algorithm, my TikTok was filled with success stories, as well as stories of heartbreak. I pulled my doppler back out and was still hearing his heartbeat. This delayed me going in to get checked sooner.
On Dec. 3, I went to work with a sugary drink in hand. I told myself that if he didn’t move, I would go in that night. My baby shower was the next day, and I knew I wouldn’t enjoy myself if I first didn’t make sure all was well.
Labor and delivery hooked me up to the monitors. I heard his heartbeat and assumed I would be told everything was fine and sent on my way. They decided to do a biophysical ultrasound.
He scored a 0/8 on that exam, had only 1cm of water left, and needed to be delivered immediately. Crew was born 25 minutes later, weighing only 2 pounds, 9 ounces. It was determined that I had severe and sudden onset preeclampsia. My blood pressure was 175/110 and my protein was four times the diagnostic amount. The doctor told me multiple times that if I didn’t come in that night, he was hours away from passing.
Crew spent 53 days in the NICU and he has a brain injury from lack of oxygen during those final days in utero. Kick counts saved my son’s life; but I can’t help but think had I gone in at the first failed kick count, intervention could have started sooner.
I speak to every pregnant person I know about the importance of kick counts and how it saved my son’s life. Trust your gut and the movement!” -Sarah K., Crew’s mom
Editor’s Note: Babies do not slow down or run out of room at the end of pregnancy. The type of movement may change (more jabs, fewer somersaults), but babies should move up to and even during labor. Research shows that fetal movement is best monitored without interventions like juice, candy, or drinking ice water. Doppler Ultrasound Heartbeat Monitors are not a substitute for kick counting. According to the FDA, Dopplers are prescription devices, and should only be used by, or under the guidance of, a healthcare professional.
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