Fifty-two weeks ago, on a Friday night after a full day of work, I was laying down with my 3 year old daughter. I turned to my husband and said “I don’t think the baby has been moving much today.” It was my 37th birthday and I was 37 weeks pregnant. I texted my midwife. Here’s our conversation:
April 21, 2017 at 7:07 PM:
Me: Today I didn’t feel much movement from the baby
Laura: Are you concerned?
Me: Not sure, it’s a bit unusual to not feel some activity after I eat dinner but I think I’m feeling light movement just not strong obvious moving.
Laura: Babies have less room to move as they get bigger. It’s not uncommon for there to be a gradual decrease in the strength of their movements.
Try lying on your left side and see if you get some movement
I’ll admit I had no idea that my baby could die. In retrospect, that sounds so stupid, so naive. How did I think I was immune to this tragedy? I had never had a pregnancy loss, already delivered a full-term healthy child, my blood pressure was perfect, as were my blood sugars. I didn’t drink, smoke, or do any illicit drugs. Nobody had ever mentioned the possibility of stillbirth to me.
If only I had known. If any pregnant woman ever has an inkling of a doubt, do not pass go, do not collect $200, go directly to the hospital.
Of course it’s possible, that had I gone to the hospital, an ultrasound could have deemed my baby fine and I would have been sent home. But what if something was off? What if the decision was made to give me a c-section that night? I would be holding my youngest child right now, planning a first birthday party.
Why risk it?
I will regret, for every second of my life, that I didn’t follow my instincts. I will blame myself, of course, regardless of what others say.
The thing is, nobody ever mentioned kick counting to me. Nobody ever told me to monitor my baby’s movements. How can this be? There’s an entire organization dedicated to kick counting instruction.
There are even apps for kick counting.
One part of me feels I should have known better, like it’s a “duh” concept. Another part of me blames my midwife. The letters after her name, CPM, stands for Certified Professional Midwife. And yet she acted unprofessionally multiple times. She let me down. She spoke with me in-depth about baby-wearing and eating dates to induce labor but somehow she left out the importance of kick-counting?
I just can’t.
I have to live with this for the rest of my life. My only consolation is that she does too. Three months after I delivered my dead daughter, she delivered a living son. I hope that every time she looks at him she remembers the terrible advice she gave me that cost my daughter’s life.
(Yes, I am still stuck in the ‘anger stage’).