Erica Bailey
  • Erica Bailey
  • Missouri Ambassador

My name is Erica Bailey, and my precious firstborn son, Rhoan Osborne Bailey, was stillborn after a perfect 39-week-long pregnancy on March 5, 2020.

My whole pregnancy was uncomplicated and extremely enjoyable. I had no obvious risk factors. I was a first-time mom and loved being pregnant. Since I was considered “low-risk,” I never had any ultrasounds after our 20-week anatomy scan. Every appointment consisted of a fetal-doppler heartrate check and a tape-measurement of my belly size.

I was never made aware of how critical monitoring my baby’s movements was. I remember being advised that tracking my baby’s movement was not necessary “if it causes anxiety.” I would not learn until after my baby died how deadly that outdated guidance would be. What was considered “normal” by ACOG (10 kicks in 2 hours) was NOT my baby’s normal. My baby’s normal was 10 movements in 10-15 minutes.

In the last weeks of my pregnancy, I could sense my baby was slowing down. But since he was still kicking at least 10 times in a 2-hour timespan, I felt reassured. I also read countless times on the internet that “babies run out of room in the 3rd trimester” and “babies slow down as they get close to labor.” Now I know those are lies that are giving many moms a false sense of security.

At my last OB appointment, I was 38+5 and my son’s heartrate was perfect. I left the appointment feeling good that my baby was coming soon. I would not learn until later, that a baby’s heartrate is not a good measurement of their well-being. A baby will have a heartbeat until he doesn’t. It is like watching a car drive by at full speed. It is moving, but how do we know how much gas is left in the tank? We don’t. That is why monitoring your baby’s movements is so important.

The day after my last appointment, I felt my son move for the last time. He had a session of hyperactive movement that was much more forceful than his normal. He never moved again. I had convinced myself that he was getting ready for labor to begin. This was my first pregnancy. I had no idea.

March 5, 2020, would be the day my life forever changed. I walked into the hospital as a plus one with my son and all our hopes and dreams for him, and I walked out empty, forever missing a piece of my body, heart and soul who I had to leave behind. 

I was 39 weeks and still had not felt my son move since the previous day. I thought it would be a good idea to go to the hospital just to check on him to ease my anxious mind. The entire drive to the hospital I knew something was wrong. After what felt like an eternity to check into the L&D triage unit, it did not take long for the worst news imaginable to open a trap door underneath of me and drop me into a nightmare of living in this world without my child alive.

My son was born that same day – picture perfect at 7 pounds, 6 ounces. His skin was so soft and so kissable. He looked just like his daddy. I miss and think about him every second of my existence. I would give anything in my being to be able to go back in time to monitor his movements and report the changes he made in those last weeks leading up to his birth. If only I had known. My precious boy could be here. The “anxiety” from kick-counting, is nothing compared to the PTSD, anxiety, and depression I have from missing my baby.

In the months to follow, I went into a deep dive researching anything and everything I could about stillbirth. It was not until then that I learned about Count the Kicks and their amazing app. I immediately felt extremely frustrated and heartbroken that this existed during my pregnancy, and I knew nothing about it! How does every pregnant patient not know how critical it is to monitor their baby’s movement frequency, strength, and duration in the 3rd trimester? This is such an easy way to save babies’ lives! I am so passionate about spreading the news of Count the Kicks and their amazing mission. I desperately wish someone would have educated me.

Three months after Rhoan died, we got pregnant with our second son, Bear. I used the Count the Kicks app as soon as I turned 26 weeks and used it throughout the pregnancy, every day, multiple times per day. Without a doubt, I believe using the Count the Kicks app to alert my providers that he was not moving very much at his 36-week appointment helped save his life. When they hooked me up to a NST, his heartrate kept decelerating during my contractions. I was admitted, and my son was born the next day, healthy and alive!

It should not take a loss to learn this information. I will make it my mission to make sure every mom in my life knows about this life-saving tool!

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