Ayla Heller was 38 weeks pregnant with her first baby, Maddy, when she had a feeling that something just wasn't right. According to the new mom's Facebook post, she "noticed Maddy wasn't kicking around very much but had assumed she was having a less active day." So, Ayla went about her day.
Around 7 p.m. that night, her boyfriend, Dalton, asked if she had felt Maddy kicking and Heller realized she hadn't felt her kick all day. Still trying not to panic, the expectant mom did what many of us would do and drank some orange juice, took a bath and even listened for a heartbeat with an at-home Doppler monitor—which they heard—but "still no movement."
That's when the couple started to worry.
Heller shares, "I texted my mother asking if it was normal because online did not help (duh, Ayla, it's [the] internet ...). Half of everything I read said go in immediately, and the other half said that babies run out of room to kick."
Luckily, her mom insisted she go in to get checked up or at least call a midwife. The midwife told her to come to the hospital where Heller was immediately hooked up to monitors, given more juice and told to constantly change positions. The midwife arrived about 30 minutes later.
That's when things got real serious, real fast.
"She wasted no time to inform me that things were not looking the way they wanted and I was most likely going to have an emergency cesarean that night. I was shaking uncontrollably but was kind of in too much shock to really have emotions about it. "
It turned out that Heller's placenta had started calcifying, which means baby Maddy was no longer receiving the oxygen or nutrients she needed to survive in the womb. She had stopped moving in an attempt to conserve her energy.
Not too long after receiving the terrifying news, Maddy was delivered via an emergency C-section. She was born with low blood sugar, due to the calcifying placenta, and was placed on a glucose IV drip for a few days but was otherwise healthy and safe.
When Heller's mom asked afterwards what would've happened to Maddy had she not been delivered that evening, they told her, "She wouldn't be here."
The first-time mom is sharing her story publicly in hopes to spread the word that "things like this DO happen" and to prevent anyone from having a stillbirth simply because no one took their worries seriously enough.
She shares, "You know your body and what's normal for your baby. And BABIES DON'T RUN OUT OF ROOM! That was the common response I kept seeing. Babies will always kick, whether there's much room or not. IF YOU HAVE DOUBTS, GO IN. GO IN. GO IN. GO IN!!! Always be safe rather than sorry. Because I almost didn't. I almost waited till morning to see if anything changed. And had I done that, I wouldn't have my love."
"That is often true but not always," says Dr. David Rivera, an Illinois-based doctor who has been delivering babies for more than 30 years. "If there are several years between pregnancies, labor may not go as quickly as you might think. Occasionally, a woman who has delivered more than one baby may need a Cesarean section because the baby isn't lined up right in the birth canal, or the baby is considerably larger than previous ones."