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  • Pregnancy Beyond the Glow: Counting Kicks Drove me Crazy

    16th November 2016

    This morning I woke up sad and extremely distressed. In fact, I fell asleep the same way. I had noticed, as of yesterday, that I was not feeling the baby move with the same strength and rigour I usually would. Her movements were faint in comparison and did not seem to be in the same lengthy successions as her routine that I had gotten so used to. I spent yesterday evening eating Haribo and drinking cold sweet drinks to get her to move about. There was movement, but just not in the same way. I went to bed, laid on my side and waited. While I waited I read a pamphlet given to me by the midwife yesterday on counting kicks. By the time you are 28 weeks pregnant apparently you should be able to monitor a babies’ well-being by counting kicks. It advises to drink something sweet and cold, lie on your side and then wait to feel the kicks. You are expected to feel at least ten kicks in two hours.  Should you feel this, then baby is fine. It is to be noted that kicks refers to any kind of movement from the baby, be it a swish, a roll or a kick. I felt plenty of movement, or ‘kicks’ as they call it. Her movement was not my issue it was more the change in the movement that was worrying me. Let’s be honest, when you’re worried about your unborn child there is nothing in the world that can reassure you and put your mind at rest, not even a pamphlet provided as recommended reading by a midwife written by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. The only thing that will take away that stress is that movement, that routine that you have grown to know and love your child for. That and of course an ultrasound. But this pamphlet, published in August 2012 (it’s 2016!) – can you believe it? – I just couldn’t rely on.

    You are probably wondering why I didn’t just take myself down to the hospital. Let’s be honest, I have been found hanging out at the Maternity Assessment Unit for a lot less. I am not saying that I don’t have faith in my MAU, but I am sure they will take one look at my medical notes, see that I had my 28 week check up just a day ago and that the baby’s heartbeat was fine. They will ask me whether I have felt the baby move at all today and whether I have been counting kicks. I will be tempted to lie, just so I can have an ultrasound, but I won’t because I won’t want to tempt the fate of my darling unborn child, so I will answer, ‘Yes, she is moving, but she is not moving how she usually would.’

    They will look at my medical notes a little more in depth, skeptically, and see that I have basically made it a point of duty to visit the MAU five times in the past three months. Naturally, they will think I am some crazy neurotic, anxious pregnant lady and give me some half arsed care and send me on my way. This in turn will anger me so much, that I will simply end up adding to the stress that I am already experiencing.

    I am also trying really hard to not to be that crazy, neurotic, anxious pregnant lady that I know I am. So, instead of going to the hospital, I turn to my dear friend the search engine and spend two hours Googling:





    By the time I am done reading Net Mums, What to Expect and every other pregnancy forum known to Google I have visions of the umbilical cord being wrapped around my poor little baby’s foot or even worse, her neck. I then start to panic that I am not drinking enough water and maybe she is dehydrated and weak all because of me and my stupid hatred for water and she has lost the energy to move about. Then I wonder whether her movement has slowed down because I have changed my pregnancy vitamins from Vitamin D and Folic acid to Pregnacare? I checked the vitamins included in my recently purchased Pregnacare tablets and notice that it does not contain vitamin D. How the hell can it not contain vitamin D? Maybe my poor little baby is lacking vitamin D. Or maybe I am just not eating enough. The downward spiral in which I undergo takes a matter of minutes, before I am close to tears. I start to picture that god awful scene from How to Get Away with Murder, the scene that has been haunting my pregnancy ever since I was unfortunate enough to have watched it. It’s that traumatising scene when Annalise Keating is in hospital having just been in a fatal car accident while she was pregnant.  A nurse enters Annalise’s hospital room with a baby in her arms that we soon learn is dead. The nurse hands Annalise and her husband their fully formed dead baby in an attempt to take a family photo. Sorry, I know it’s morbid, but this is truly the extent of my neurosis.

    Then I started to think how much I just want my baby here, with me, next to me – outside of the womb. I can’t take the uncertainty of pregnancy – it is damn near driving me crazy, as you no doubt can see. The joke is I know that my melt down is not helping the situation and is probably only making my poor little girl panicked and stressed too. And I don’t want her to be anxious like me or be impacted by my mental pregnancy state. Why do I believe the morbid and depleting stories more so than all of the stories that say that baby is likely to have just changed position and the forum entries that say, more often than not reduced fetal movement isn’t serious?

    Maybe Christian is right, maybe I do always think the worse. It could very well be that she has just changed position. This is a very plausible reason for why her movements are feeling more faint than normal. For whatever reason, I just won’t allow myself to accept that she could actually be OK – just in case I miss something. However, in an effort to have a handle over my pregnancy neurosis, I didn’t go to the hospital.


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