This is the most serious and important post I have ever written. In this instance, I am providing advice.
So, what should you do if your baby’s movements reduce?
Call your midwife, call labour ward, call your birthing unit, get through to a person and tell them. Don’t talk yourself out of it, don’t wait until the morning, don’t use a home Doppler,
Call your midwife, call labour ward or call your birthing unit.
William was due on the 1st of July, on the second of July I woke up with a slightly sicky feeling. My baby wasn’t moving. In the morning, he was usually very active, my bladder was his trampoline, I was used to my morning kicking.
Only this morning, he wasn’t kicking.
This had happened once before, and I knew a few things the hospital might ask me to do, so I did them, concerned, but not overly worried.
I laid on my left side and drank a VERY cold drink.
I made a very sweet bowl of porridge and ate it.
I ran a warm bath, pouring water over my bump.
I was starting to panic, I pushed my knuckles deep into my enormous belly, I had never prodded my bump like this before, that’s when I felt it,
A weak prod.
Baby moved! But wait, did I feel baby last night? No. At bedtime, baby goes wild. In the middle of the night, baby kicks. It wakes me up then I need the loo, and I have to spend 10 minutes trying to get out of bed.
But I’m full term, maybe I can feel less movement because there is less room?
I typed the question into google, I found the following website:
And I saw in plain black and white, any change or reduction in your movements call your midwife or maternity unit.
I called my mum (midwife) ‘Mum, NayNay hasn’t moved’ (We didn’t know if we were having a boy or girl, I referred to Wills as NayNay, and no I have no idea why!)
My mum told me to call the hospital and call her back.
The phone rang for what seemed like an eternity, the phone was answered, I told them my baby hadn’t moved, that I’d tried various different things and I couldn’t get baby to move, then I mentioned the bath, I said I’d pushed really hard and I’d got a weak movement.
‘Well you have had movement then’
‘Well yes, but is wasn’t right, it wasn’t like it usually was, and there wasn’t any last night or this morning until I pushed, really hard.’
‘You’ve had movement, give it an hour, do the hovering and then call us back if you’re still not happy.’
I do not wish to knock the NHS, it really is a most wonderful thing and I count myself as very fortunate to live in a country where I can go to hospital and get treated without landing an eye-watering bill.
But this was not good advice. This sort of advise was very dangerous. My mobile rang, it was mum, checking up. I was crying, ‘she told me to do the hoovering.’
‘She did what? Go in Chesney, you need to go to hospital’
‘I can’t (more sobbing) she told me to wait an hour’
‘Who did you speak to?’
‘I don’t know’
‘Give me the number darling’
And mum was gone.
Up until calling the hospital, I hadn’t told my husband what was going on.
This upset him, he said I should have told him what was going on, and that I was worried but the thing is I felt butterflies, I was on the verge of being hysterical and I mean screaming, shouting, crying, throwing things hysteria. I mean bat-shit crazy. I was frightened that if I shared with him how I was feeling, I’d lose it.
My phone rang, mum ‘Go in darling, I’ve spoken to them, they’re expecting you.’
I later learned that mum had been rather firm on the phone to the hospital, ‘Hulked out’ was what my sister used to describe it.
You might not have a mum to hulk out, when she told me to call the hospital she had fully expected them to tell me to go in it’s why she had told me to call them.
Don’t do what I nearly did. Go in.
If you’ve been in several times before for reduced movements and it’s been fine every time. Go in.
Go in. Go in. Go in.
If on the way to the hospital the movements pick up, still go in.
I was monitored. The ‘trace’ was fine. But I was told I needed to speak to a doctor before I left. I can see why they had tried to put me off going in. Labour ward was extremely busy, emergency bells were ringing all over the place, the midwives and support staff were rushing up and down corridors in and out, slightly breathless. But reassuring, warm.
I remember speaking to the Doctor, she had the most beautiful eyes. She said they would induce me. I didn’t want to be induced. I had thought often about waking up in the night with cramps, or maybe my waters would break on my millionth trip to the loo, and I shake hubs awake and say ‘It’s time, the baby is coming.’
But now they wanted to induce me, I already knew that I would be unable to give birth in the birthing unit, my dream of a water birth under twinkling lights was gone. And now I wasn’t going to get to go into labour naturally. That was being taken away from me. Everything was going wrong!
The doctor explained that is was hospital policy to induce labour in women with reduced movement after term. That they could (and would continue to) monitor me but listening in, even scanning can not guarantee that everything is fine.
It’s funny really, medicine has come so far, to the point that there is a certain level of arrogance over what we can do now. But there was a doctor telling me we have no way of knowing if baby is fine.
I was booked in. for the 5th, if there had been space that day, I would have been induced then.
William was born on the sixth. My husband and my mum were my birth partners. During labour, Williams heart rate dropped. The room filled with people. ‘C-section’ was uttered.
I was blissfully unaware, I’d been dozing and sucking on gas and air every time I woke up. I remember mum patting me awake, darling, it’s time to start pushing.
‘Baby isn’t very happy in there darling, we need to be quick as you can’ (There were doctors hovering outside)
If you are pregnant, and worried about labour, I can promise you two things:
- By the time you get to term you will be so fed up that labour will be welcomed.
- The pushing stage doesn’t actually hurt.
At twenty to five on the 6th of July, (after twenty minutes of pushing) William was born. Quiet for a few seconds, but our little foghorn definitely made his presence known.
Because I went in.
So please, any change, reduction in movement, weaker movement, more movement,
just go in.