Emmi’s Story - the importance of tracking your baby’s movements

Over half of all women who had a stillbirth noticed that their baby’s movements had slowed down or stopped, so we know that it is an important indicator. But any change to what is usual for your baby should be noted and this can be an increase or decrease in movement. If you feel any change to your baby’s movements, contact your maternity care professional immediately. This is Emmi’s Story.

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After a journey through infertility my husband Steven and I were blessed to fall pregnant. At about 8 weeks, we had our first scan. I’ll never forget as the fertility specialist turned around and said “this is your baby!” We were absolutely over the moon.

Due to a pre-existing mental health condition that needed to be monitored, I was linked in with a family care midwife at our local public hospital. My midwife Lisa guided me throughout our entire pregnancy and hospital care. I will always be grateful for the support I received from her – I couldn’t fault her.

During one of our appointments Lisa asked if I had been feeling any movements, to which I replied I’d been noticing some kicks. Lisa explained the importance of tracking my baby’s movements.

Her exact words were “Once you have established a pattern of bub’s movement that is consistent, please take note to any changes such as decreased, increased or irregular patterns of movement. I’m not trying to scare or upset you, but I like all my patients to know that if any of this occurs you need to present to the maternity assessment day ward (MADU) as soon as possible.” She gave me a pamphlet (Monitor movements) from Red Nose Australia regarding decreased movements and the importance of side sleeping. These were things as a first-time mum, I hadn’t thought about previously. It was this information from Lisa and Red Nose that saved mine, and my baby’s life.

At 36.5 weeks, I had noticed some changes in my baby’s movements. I said to my husband “I’m sure everything’s ok” but Lisa’s words rang out in my head, so we went to the MADU to get checked out as a precaution. As I sat in the waiting room, I saw posters about changes in movement and I knew I was in the best place.

I was checked over by a lovely midwife who said my baby was alive and moving but my blood pressure was extremely high, and they were going to do some tests. I was taken to another room and a doctor came in soon after saying “What do you know about Pre-eclampsia?”

I said, “oh I think you just have to stay in bed and rest,” to which he replied “oh no - you’re going to be having your baby very soon”.

I was set up with monitors, recording every time I felt a movement by pressing a button.

Two days later, at 2.25am on the 6th of June 2021 I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl whom my husband and I named Anna Susan.

Anna Susan is now a bright and happy 2-year-old, and I thank my lucky stars we have her. I hate to think about what would have transpired if I didn’t have that lifesaving information regarding decreased movements.

Access to accurate education is so important throughout pregnancy and it can feel overwhelming, particularly as a first-time parent. I would urge every expectant parent to seek information and be informed on the brilliant resources supplied by Red Nose.

My heart absolutely breaks for any parent that has lost a child at any stage of their lives. It would be so great to see all Australians get behind this amazing cause that is Red Nose Day, so Red Nose can continue to deliver information to new and expecting parents - It could save a baby’s life.

The free Red Nose Support Line is available 24/7: 1300 308 307.

Red Nose Day aims to raise $1 million this year, to help save little lives and support grieving families. To register or donate visit rednoseday.org.au

Photo by Amanda Bradley from SMIK PIX