…the precious bundle of joy who “wouldn’t be here” if her mom had waited just one more day to follow her killer instincts.
First-time mother Ayla Heller recently gave birth to the happy, healthy newborn who has already brought insurmountable joy to her life in her brief little time on earth—but this beautiful birth story could have ended MUCH differently.
In a viral Facebook post, Ayla opens up about the near-tragedy that almost killed her baby, in hopes of instilling other women with the courage to trust their gut when in doubt:
“So I’ve decided I wanted to share publicly what happened with my delivery in hopes that it can help someone else one day.
So the day I turned 38 weeks was obviously just a normal day, I got up and went to work like usual. Pretty early that morning I had already noticed Maddy wasn’t kicking around very much but had assumed she was having a less active day (which happened regularly). By noon, I felt her adjust her position which brought to my attention that she still hadn’t kicked, but at least I had felt some kind of movement.. So the day goes on and I still hadn’t thought much of it until 7pm. Dalton put his hand on my belly and asked if she had been kicking. I became uneasy as I realized she still hadn’t moved all day. So I took a bath, drank cold orange juice, Dalton poked at my belly, and we even listened to her heartbeat with our fetal Doppler (which there was a heartbeat) but still no movement.
We became a little panicked but since I had felt her adjust positions and heard her heartbeat, I knew she was at least alive so I didn’t know what to do. I texted my mother asking if it was normal because online did not help (duh Ayla, it’s internet..). half of everything I read said go in immediately, and the other half said that babies run out of room to kick. My Mom was very persistent and insisted I go in or at least call my midwife. So I called my midwife, left a voicemail, and eventually got a call back saying there would be a room waiting for me in the labor center. Upon arriving I was hooked up to monitors so they could track babies movement. Once again I was given orange juice, ice, rolled this way, rolled that way, adjusted… literally at one point they had my bed set up to where my belly and legs were flat and my upper body was tilted upside down slightly!!”
“After about 30-40 minutes I was informed that my midwife was on her way. (which my mother knew was a bad sign and got everyone to the hospital, thankfully). Upon my midwife arrival, 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 cesarian that night. I was shaking uncontrollably but was kind of in too much shock to really have emotions about it. We were informed that if there was life threatening problems with Maddy, which they believed to be a pretty high chance, she would be life flighted over to Randall’s.
So I was stalled out while my midwife waited for all the on-calls to arrive and then was immediately rushed into the operating room. I was given my spinal and before they could even get Dalton in the room they began the delivery. She came out fine and cried a little bit, but she needed oxygen. After about 40 more minutes, Maddy and I were released back to our original room. There I was informed that my placenta had aged prematurely, was calcified, and had basically given up. (I was also told they don’t know why this happens and there’s nothing I could’ve done to prevent it). This had caused Maddy to not be receiving as much oxygen or food as she needed. This was causing her to try to preserve her energy, which is why she had stopped moving. This also caused her to have low blood sugar upon arrival so she needed to be hooked up to a glucose drip IV her first few days.
My mother asked what would have happened had I not gone in when I did. ‘She wouldn’t be here’ was the reply. She wouldn’t have made it the rest of the night…”
“So the point in me sharing this is to let anyone else know that things like this DO happen. 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. I’ve heard so many stories of stillbirths because signs may not have been taken as seriously as they should’ve been.”
“Sorry it was such a long read, but I know many people have no clue what happened. So part of this was to let those people know who have been curious but were too kind to ask. But mostly I wanted to let anyone expecting, or planning to have a baby to be aware of activity and that a halt in activity is very much NOT normal.
Thanks for reading” ❤️
Since posted, Ayla’s vital message has struck a chord with thousands of mamas across the web, even capturing the attention of TODAY, who retrieved a final takeaway from the Portland, Oregon, mom:
“I think so many women are afraid to get checked out because they think they’re overreacting or that they will look dumb if nothing is wrong. But we need to push that fear aside. At the end of the day, wouldn’t you rather look silly and get sent home than risk something being wrong and not getting the help you need?
You know your body and baby better than anyone else, so if you feel like something is wrong, then go get checked out. Don’t wait, don’t doubt yourself, just go! There’s no harm in it. That’s what the medical staff is there for.”
And it seems medical experts wholeheartedly agree.
“If you feel like anything unusual is going on with your baby, call your doctor or midwife sooner rather than later,” says women’s health expert Dr. Donnica Moore. “While many women are worried about bothering their doctor with a ‘trivial’ question or concern, your doctor will agree that it is far better to ask than to regret it later.”
Stillborn pregnancies account for 26,000 fetal deaths per year. If Ayla’s brave, cautionary tale may help reduce that statistic by even one, she knows her story was worth it.