She is Two: #MovementsMatter

She is two. She is two!  We sit, sand between our freezing cold toes and the sea lapping the windy shore and we know just how very lucky we are. Our hair whips around our flushed cheeks and our lips are salty and we know just how very lucky we are. She runs, jumps, splashes and plays. And

we know just how very lucky we are.

She is two, and she has so much ahead of her. So many adventures. So many dreams. So many friends to make, stories to tell and mountains to climb. What an honour and a privilege to share that with her

She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.ukIt wasn’t always as carefree as this. Regular readers will know that my last pregnancy was filled with stress and anxiety and fear. An IUGR pregnancy is never easy, and the unanswered questions are hard to walk away from. The fact is, I have suffered emotionally since she was born. Oh, the relief of hearing that tiny little cry in the stillness of the operating theatre! The joy that seeped through my bones as she was brought back to me, alive and well. The pure and utter relief that pulsated in my stomach as they placed her little body against mine. Alive. Here. There were times throughout that pregnancy when I truly doubted I would get those moments.

And here’s why #MovementsMatter. Because any changes can mean that something is wrong. 55% of women who sadly experienced stillbirth in the UK noticed that their baby’s movements had slowed down.

But they didn’t report it.

She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Please, please always remember that any changes, any concerns, any doubts- you must call your hospital or your midwife. You must get checked over. Babies do not slow down at the end of pregnancy. Don’t be one of the 73% who delay reporting changes in movement. Don’t be one of the 52% who believe they are being a nuisance. Don’t be fooled into thinking you must feel 10 movements in one hour. Your baby is unique. Their movements are unique. YOU are the best judgement of what is normal, so use your instincts.

The Tommy’s campaign #MovementsMatter launches today, on Elsie’s second birthday, and I wanted to share our story with you to help you understand just how important it is to be observant to report any changes straight away.

I had an anterior placenta. A tiny baby. A baby that was not growing well. A high risk pregnancy. An IUGR diagnosis. Weekly appointments.

Watchful eyes.

Impatient.

Scared.

Frustrated.

All of this added up to such a confusing and scary experience. The only piece of advice I was ever given was to monitor my baby’s movements as closely as possible. To get to know her pattern of movements, and to come in immediately should anything change. And after three previous pregnancies to term, that should have been a simple task. But as my body was failing my baby, my confidence was facing my mind. I found it so hard to determine her pattern. So many movements were cushioned by my placenta, and she was so tiny that many of her early kicks were just not felt.

I was around 21 weeks when I first felt definite movement. At that point, IUGR had not even been mentioned. Even still, lack of movements worried me. When I was around 26 weeks, I called my hospital in tears, convinced she was gone. So many hours without any movement. Ice water, lying still, concentrating, waiting. Nothing made a difference. She wasn’t moving. Should I call? Was I wasting time? What if she started to move on the way to the hospital- would they tell me off for taking up a bed that was truly needed by other women?

None of that matters. Your baby isn’t moving, you go in to be checked.She is Two: #MovementsMatter-Ghostwritermummy.co.uk

Each time I went in, the midwives assured me that all was fine, I had done the right thing. By the time IUGR was picked up, I was monitored weekly anyway. Told that even once home, if I wasn’t sure I was to turn around and go straight back in again. I was to try and pick up her pattern of movements, and any concerns I was to call. No matter what time. No matter how slight my concern.

IUGR babies are at the highest risk of stillbirth. IUGR means that the baby is not growing well, and often the doctors don’t know the reason for this. Sometimes, it’s obvious. High blood pressure, for example. In cases like ours, it’s simply not explained. if an IUGR baby is not receiving enough blood, nutrients and oxygen then movements can become slower, and patterns change. Medical attention is needed. That much I did learn.

We were admitted the night before her planned section, and I spent a long night hooked up to the CTG monitor. Listening to that distinct swoosh and beat of the tiny life inside me. She kept fighting though, and now here she is. Kicking still.

Movements can be rolls, swooshes, kicks and pokes. They call count. They all matter.

For more information on the campaign, please visit the Tommy’s website and please please speak to your midwife if you are at all unsure of your baby’s movements. For more information on reduced movements, please see here.  Please also take a moment to watch Tommy’s video, and share with anyone you think might need to see it.

6 Comments

  1. October 24, 2016 / 1:50 pm

    A massive Happy Birthday to your lovely girl. The IUGR fighting warrior. I didn’t even know what it was until she was born and your sister ever since have really taught me so much!
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  2. Blair
    November 2, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Hello,

    I just had my first baby and he was declared as an IUGR baby. I had him at 37 weeks.

    I am upset daily thinking how he was starving inside of me. I did everything right but apparently it was not good enough. Maybe too much exercise?

    I had feeding issues and weight issues for the first month. It was devastating but he is doing better now.

    But I fear for his future and what could happen because of IUGR. My doctor said IUGR is only when the baby is in the womb. However I see articles that have information on IUGR babies after they are born.

    My questions to you are:
    -how often did you exercise during pregnancy? How many miles a week? I did about 10 miles.
    -do you still have concerns for your Elsie even though she is 2 and is falling well in the percentile?
    -how was the first year with baby Elsie? I am in the third month almost with baby boy and he is in the 5th for weight.
    -do you still question if Elsie is an IUGR baby? In ththe back of my head I keep thinking that baby boy is not and he is just small.
    -do you still get upset about IUGR? I feel like I will never be able to get over this.
    -is Elsie smart? I am concerned that my little one was robbed of the time not being in my womb and of course growth restriction.
    -do you blame yourself? I am always wishing I could go back in time and make him non-IUGR.

    Thank you for your blog and your time.
    God bless.

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      November 4, 2016 / 4:22 pm

      Hello

      I’m so sorry for the late reply. I completely understand your concerns. Your doctor is right- once your baby is born, he is no longer IUGR. This is because IUGR is IntraUterine Growth Restriction- growth restriction that occurs inside the womb- many babies are born early as they’re better off out than in. So if your little boy is still small for his age, its likely due to either early delivery, genetics, or a possible condition that hasn’t been picked up. Although the latter is rare. Lots of IUGR babies are simply small and doctors cannot explain the reasons. Some are IUGR due to a condition that would need looking into by medical professionals. I am NOT a medical professional so please do not take my word as gospel. I would highly recommend you speak to your doctor about your concerns, and hopefully you can have your mind set at ease.

      To answer your questions. I swam every day during pregnancy and I also did pilates most days too. I didn’t run (still don’t!) and I was never told that exercise was the cause of Elsie’s IUGR, nor was I told to stop what I was doing. I do know some women are told to stop though. I have no concerns about Elsie now. She is meeting all of her milestones and at her recent two year check she passed all tests. She has also recently been discharged from consultant care.
      Our first year was hard. Elsie suffered (and still does) with reflux and allergies and we got very little sleep! I no longer blame myself for her IUGR but I did for a long time, although as there was no real reason for it I have been able to eventually accept that it is something I may never have the answers to. I hope that you’re able to forgive yourself, and to get some answers to your concerns. There are some pretty fab Facebook groups for IUGR parents if you’re on there, look them up and I’m sure the members will be able to support xx x

  3. Hilirie
    July 14, 2017 / 11:37 pm

    Thank you for your blog, I just delivered my daughter and towards the end I really stopped feeling her move. I think it is so important for people to speak up. I was diagnosed with preeclampsia at 28 weeks and was put on bed rest. At that time she was in the 28th percentile. At 32 weeks we found out she was in the 8th percentile and the flow was restricted. I was then admitted to the hospital on bed rest and even though I was monitored 2x day I never felt comfortable with her wellbeing because I barley felt her move. We made it to 34 weeks before the dopplers showed there was no longer any flow to her so we went on to delivery. She was born at 2 lb 14 oz. She is now a month old and is 5 lb and is thriving. We are so blessed she is growing well now.

    How big was your daughter when she was born? And did it take long for her to catch up to others her age?

    • ghostwritermummy
      Author
      July 27, 2017 / 8:41 am

      She was 5lb5 in the end, a lot bigger than the doctors predicted so she surprised us all. She’ll be 3 in October and is still small for her age, but not noticeably. All of my children have been on the smaller side. I am so pleased your daughter is doing so well. Its so scary isn’t it, but we are the lucky ones for sure xxx

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