• Maria Walsh
  • Missouri Ambassador

My name is Maria Walsh and I live in Kansas City, MO, with my husband Matt and our three children: Oliver who lives in Heaven and Elsie and Miles who we are blessed to have on Earth. Oliver Thomas Walsh was born sleeping on Sept. 25, 2014. He was a beautiful 5 pound baby boy.

As an elementary education teacher who spends my days helping kids develop their social, emotional, and academic skills I could not wait to have my own children. I had dreamt about this day since I was a child. My pregnancy was a dream pregnancy. We found out I was pregnant on my birthday and had no complications my entire pregnancy. Our 20 week anatomy scan was perfect and we prepared for our dreams to come true soon! A sweet baby boy was going to be loved so incredibly much by so many.

Three weeks before we delivered Oliver, I had noticed that my baby’s movement had changed. I had told my obstetrician every week for three weeks leading up to his death. All she said to me was that movement does change towards the end, and that was it. No further questions were asked or monitoring was offered. As a first-time mother you do not know any better and you trust the professionals. We believe that we lost Oliver due to growth restriction towards the end of my pregnancy. Oliver was telling me he was struggling … and I am still so incredibly sad that I was not better educated on fetal movement in the third trimester to be able to save his precious life.

Ever since we lost Oliver, when I was 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant, I have been looking for an organization to become a part of to spread awareness and educate others regarding the importance of fetal movement in the third trimester to prevent stillbirth. I truly believe if I had been better educated and listened to, Oliver would be with us on Earth today. Through a mutual friend I met another bereaved mother who introduced me to Count the Kicks. I knew Count the Kicks was where I belonged and wanted to become an ambassador to honor Oliver and bring awareness and education to others.

I love that Count the Kicks has created a free app to help track fetal movement in the third trimester. This truly is a life-saving tool and I encourage every mother, especially first time mothers to use this app. Kick counts may sound like a little thing, but it could be the one thing that could save your baby’s life. 

I also want mothers to remember that it is not just about the quantity but also about the quality of kicks. This is another component of the app that I love, as you will also track the movement strength and duration, which is so imperative. If you sense any change in fetal movement that is different from your baby’s normal movement, please talk with your healthcare provider immediately and make sure they LISTEN to you. You must advocate for you and your baby, and this app gives you the power to know when something is not right and your baby is not following their “normal” movement pattern. 

Losing a child is unlike any other loss. Not only for the mother and father, but for their entire family and friends. The pain never ends; it is an everyday battle, and the grief never goes away. I have made it my mission to tell everyone I know about this app and better educate mothers on fetal movement. I am so grateful to have found Count the Kicks to help save babies and to spare families from going through what we still go through every single day of our lives. This simple app could save your baby’s life.

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