Monday, November 19, 2007


Just returned from my NST. My least favorite nurse there, (and not for anything serious, she just isn't my favorite) impressed me today, and I have more respect for her.

I heard her talking to a pregnant woman next to me. At one point, the pg. woman mentioned not feeling as much movement because her baby was getting so big. The nurse asked if she was doing her kick counts, and said something along the lines of, "As long as you are getting your kick counts...." The woman admitted she hadn't been doing them because she had been so busy. The nurse's reply? She wasn't mean, or rude, and didn't say anything to make the woman feel bad about it. However, she stressed the importance of doing them, told the woman she knew it was hard to make time, but to think of it as making a date with your baby. Then, she said, "It's really important, ever since we started this, it has shown to lower the chances of stillbirth"

I was impressed she even used the word stillbirth. Before I lost M, I never once heard any nurse or doctor use the term stillbirth or as they like to call it, inter-uterine fetal death. I never read it in any of the books I read on pregnancy. For her to use the term, to broach the topic so easily, and to use it to educate this woman impressed me. Now, did it make any difference? Probably not, because until it does happen to you, you never in a million years think it could happen to you. But I think the medical establishment needs to start talking more about it.

Of course, as I lay in the next bed, and I heard the woman say she hadn't been doing them, I was alarmed, but not judgemental. How could I be? I was the same, very busy when pregnant with M, and I didn't notice his last movements. I don't know the last day he was alive. That fact still haunts me. When I go to NST, I often lay there thinking how different I am from probably most of the other women there. Today, I knew it.


niobe said...

I guess kick counts are a good idea. I just wonder (and I haven't seen any studies) whether they make all that much difference. I'd be curious if there were a significant number of cases where, because a baby wasn't sufficiently active, a stillbirth was averted.

ms. G said...

It's funny that you say that, Niobe. I too, question if kick counts in the traditional sense, really matter. However, I think the number one thing they do do, is force a mother to pay attention to movement period, and pay attention to her intuition regarding her baby.

I do the standard 2 hour/10 kicks count but I actually prefer the way my doctor told me to watch. She said split the day into 4 sections, morning, noon, evening, night. Are you getting some movement in each section of the day? That seems to me to be a better way of catching any slowing down of the baby.

Monica H said...

I've never had to do kick counts, but I understand the importance of them. Ms.G, you're right, it makes the mother pay close attention to what her baby is doing. I don't know if it would/could prevent a stillbirth, but if a mother pays close attention and the kicks decrease then maybe so.

"inter-uterine fetal death" I guess that's better than "spontaneous abortion" which they wrote in my files to categorize my losses.

charmedgirl said...

i didn't do kick counts. i hate that i didn't, especially since i know the last ten days or so i felt she was much slower. i wish i had evidence of that.

averted stillbirths...i guess turn into emergency c-sections.

meg said...

I wish I would have done kick counts. I could tell my little girl was not moving around as much, but the doctor said "It's just getting tight in there".
by the next weeks visit he couldn't find a heartbeat.

Rosepetal said...

I didn't do kick counts either and wish I had done. I also don't really know when the last movements were.

I think kick counts are not foolproof - a post I wrote on the Babyloss Directory asking for comments showed that some women were doing them religiously and still lost their babies close to or at full term (usually due to a true knot in the cord which didn't engender any previous slowdown).

But if it can save just one previously healthy baby from stillbirth, I can now not see any reason to not do them. They don't cost anything, they're not intrusive or harmful to the baby or to you. And a trip to the hospital in a panic only to be sent home because everything's okay - well I wish I'd had twenty of those false alarms rather than the one trip I did have.

I read on your comment at Beruriah's that you are 34 weeks now. Keeping everything crossed for you Ms G.