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
It 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.
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.
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.
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.