Counting the kicks..

It’s been a trying couple of weeks in the world of growing Russel the Brussel. Trying in many ways not least of all because of the new found worry and exhaustion that seems to have not so crept up, but arrived with the force of a small army! 

It was all going ok until last Thursday when a routine growth scan showed that our little Brussel (happily growing just underneath the 10th centile) had decided to have a rest and was now below. We saw the consultant who prescribed steroid injections and a couple of extra dopplers just in case. The steroids were administered (erm, bloody hell they sting) and we were sent home following a clear CTG (baby’s heart trace).  
At Midnight on Thursday night, I felt my last, what I would describe as normal movements. I woke up in the morning having slept all night. Brussel had not woken me with her normal 3am disco routines. There was a small flicker of a movement, nothing like normal around 6am, and that was it. I was due to go to the hospital anyway so rang ahead and said I would be early. I was taken to a private room (panic button screaming loudly in my head) and was fully checked over by both a midwife and a lovely doctor who I’ve seen before. They decided that they wanted to keep me in for monitoring to make sure that the baby was ok. And me to a certain extent I think. So we spent the next 2 days hooked up to a monitor every 4 hours. 
What happened over the course of the next few days, still shocks me even now. The monitoring was fine. The Heartrate was good. But I still couldn’t (and can’t) feel baby move). Instead of being sympathetic, the midwives seemed to be getting annoyed and finding, what I consider, excuses as to why I couldn’t feel the movements. (When I say can’t feel – I’ve gone from having a good 30+ movements an hour to around about 15 a day at this point). 
“It’s cos your placenta is in the way” one said. Well, it’s moved a long way since yesterday when I could feel them fine. 
“It’s cos your baby is small and hasn’t got much energy” again, they were fine yesterday. 
You’re a bigger lady, you can’t expect to feel them the same as someone smaller” again, it was all fine until yesterday. I’ve not suddenly put 10st on overnight. (Infact, at 35 weeks pregnant I have only put on .2kg in my whole pregnancy – that’s a weight loss you fool!!!)
And so the excuses kept on coming. 

I came home and accepted that this was the new pattern. And so began the daily trips to Burton for monitoring. And then Thursday, they stopped again. I felt no movement at all, nothing, zilch, for 6 hours. We went over and again got admitted. And again got excuses. Your baby is just tired. Your baby has no energy. Movements change at this stage anyway. 
That day, I recorded 9 movements all day. Just 9. And then got shouted at for doing a crossword and not concentrating on them properly!!! 
Again, I came home and continued to go back daily with these new reduced reduced movements. 

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) currently advise that:
 “…if you are unsure about your baby’s movements, you should lie down on your left side and concentrate on these movements for 2 hours…you should experience 10 individual sets of movements within this time” 
I put this to a midwife the other day who advised me that 10 a day was acceptable. 
I also advised I had not felt a movement for 6 hours. Her response “well, it’s early yet, baby probably hasn’t woken up”. 
From the same RCOG guidance:
“…during both day and night, your baby had sleep periods that mostly last between 20 and 40 minutes, and are rarely longer than 90 minutes. Your baby will not move during this time…”
Not 6 hours at a time then?!!! 

Our latest growth scan has shown that Brussel has had a spurt (probably thanks to the steroids they injected me with) and lives to cook a little longer. Although the plan is still to induce me at 37 weeks due to growth and movements. However, our movements average between 6-10 a day. When I tell them this, I again get fobbed off, told some ridiculous crap about why may baby isn’t moving or the latest is just speaking to me exceptionally slowly like I am deaf or stupid!! 
We have a consultant appointment on Wednesday to finalise the details of Brussel’s arrival but until then, it’s more worry and stress. 

As for me, I am simply exhausted. I don’t mean pregnancy tired, I mean exhausted. Literally eating a bowl of cereals wipes my energy. I feel constantly dizzy and sick and the itching is horrendous (my skin is stretching don’t you know)! However, there isn’t long to go and our Brussel is worth it. Just don’t be expecting any more baby Flash’s………ever!!! 

My point of writing this, apart from the vent, was to draw attention to a charity called Count the Kicks and to highlight to anybody pregnant how important it is to know your baby’s own pattern of movements. Not 10 a day, not 10 an hour. Your baby’s pattern. 
Count the Kicks can be found on the web and all good social media sites. There aim is simple – to raise awareness of the importance of a babies movements in the womb to help try and prevent the hideousness that is stillbirth. They have a recycling programme to raise funds to get this information out. Check them out and please help if you can. You don’t even need to send money. They will be happy with stamps, wipe packets and even milk bottle tops!! 
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