• Meet Gianna

Meet Gianna

  • Baby Saves
  • 05.15.24

“I work for the local health department as a Family Health Coordinator in the Healthy Pregnancy Program and I also do doula work on the side. We encourage all the clients that we have through our healthy pregnancy program to use the app, and we order all our pamphlets through Count the Kicks. We give them out to every client, every community member that we come into contact with.

We promote Count the Kicks to the families we work with, but I never really thought to use it for myself until Ebonie Bailey with the Iowa Black Doula Collective told me I needed to download the app and use it too. She was my doula virtually and I did my doula training through them.

I used the app on the regular, and Gianna was always active between 10 and noon. She was always up during that time, so I would pull it out at work and use it. The app is just easy to use. It’s not that hard, and it’s user friendly.

Knowing the risks, especially with me being a Black woman, I was always on edge. I was always checking, always making sure everything was right. Our family health nurse was monitoring me the whole pregnancy. Towards the end of my pregnancy I started having headaches.

When I went into the OB-GYN for the headaches, I was already taking my baby aspirin. I would have the family health nurse check my blood pressure, she would tell me it’s high and tell me to go into the OB-GYN. I would call, I would go, and they would tell me it’s fine. I continued to tell them I didn’t feel good.

So the last time that I was having a headache and it wouldn’t go away, I checked the app and she wasn’t moving as much. During the day she usually moved a lot, but then was more restful at night. But that day she just wasn’t active. Because I knew when she was active, the app was also reaffirming that there was something wrong. So the nurse at work checked my blood pressure and it was really high, so she told me I should go in again.

At first I didn’t even want to go in again, because I thought they were just going to tell me that I was fine and that I have to go home. I had left work so many times in the two weeks prior to me being induced, and I didn’t want to go through all of that again. I didn’t even want to bother because it felt like a waste of time.

Our maternal health nurse said, ‘No, you should definitely go.’ She really encouraged me to go in. She reminded me, ‘these are the facts. You better let them know. Call me if I need to go up there with you.’ I called and told them she wasn’t moving a lot, and that my blood pressure was really high and that I have a headache.

I went in and the OB-GYN took a look at me. They did a non-stress test (NST) and she wasn’t moving a lot, so they sent me up to the hospital. They had a blood pressure cuff on me, they were monitoring the baby, and she wasn’t really moving as much.

My blood pressure was continuously high for around 2 hours. I think it was like 165 over 101 at some point and it just stayed like that. So I was diagnosed with preeclampsia and induced that night.

They had me on magnesium so I couldn’t labor like I wanted to. I was confined to the bed and my birth plan went out the window. They had me on Pitocin, and I couldn’t handle the back to back contractions, so I ended up getting an epidural.

My mom and mother-in-law are nurses, so it was good to have them there for that support. Having that medical background in the room gave me some peace, because I knew that if something happened to me, they would be able to advocate.

I was induced on a Tuesday and I had her on Thursday. She came out and she was beautiful and she was great. Fortunately she didn’t have any issues during labor. Even though her movement slowed down, she was still fine.

I did hemorrhage after she was born, and that is all a bit of a blur for me because I don’t remember what was going on. Luckily they were able to stop it after some time.

Gianna is my first baby, so it was quite an experience. Even as a doula, this was different. They kept me on magnesium for a few more days, and I was confined to the bed and I couldn’t eat, but I was released on Saturday and I was fine.

My advice is to use the app. It’s not going to hurt. It doesn’t cost you anything. It’s not something that you have to worry about. You just use it, and you can use it at any time, at any moment. Whether you feel like things are going great or whether you feel like things are going wrong, use the app.

A lot of the time there are resources that people only think that a certain demographic uses, whether you are low-income, or a minority, whatever it is. This is a resource for everyone, despite your socioeconomic status, your race, whatever. Count the Kicks is something that anybody and everybody can use.” -Lydia H., Gianna’s mom

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