December 11, 2023

Everybody loves a great beginning story. We love listening to about warrior mothers who heroically deliver their youngsters into the world. We share these tales and we relish them.

Simply not tales like mine.

As a wholesome 28-year-old, I by no means dreamed one thing may go mistaken throughout my first being pregnant. I knew miscarriages had been comparatively frequent, however as soon as I crossed that daunting 13-week mark I assumed I used to be within the “security zone.” I continued my being pregnant with as a lot bliss as one can expertise within the midst of a worldwide pandemic.

At almost 32 weeks, I used to be blindsided to be taught that my son Henry “Hank” Justice Felker had died in my womb. This was particularly coronary heart wrenching since I went to the hospital a day earlier for diminished motion however was ultimately despatched residence.

I used to be not informed concerning the severity of decreased fetal motion and what that would imply for myself and my child. Had this info been out there to me, I consider Hank can be alive right this moment.

In my subsequent pregnancies, I drove almost two hours roundtrip to obtain prenatal care. I knew the privilege that got here with being able to take trip of my week to obtain that care. I additionally knew the significance of monitoring motion and to get an appointment each time issues felt off.

Many dad and mom do not need this privilege or information. To maintain mothers and infants secure, we have to deal with entry to care and entry to this life-saving info.

A examine launched by the California Hospital Affiliation earlier this yr signifies {that a} fifth of California’s hospitals are in peril of closing. CalMatters discovered that greater than 40 hospitals have closed their maternity wards during the last decade, and 27 of these occurred during the last three years. Those that are most in want of care — these of decrease socioeconomic standing or who expertise unfavorable social determinants of well being — are at biggest danger of shedding entry.

One of many issues I found after we misplaced Hank was a confirmed program that helps bridge the hole between affected person and supplier when appointments are restricted or hospitals shut. It’s an early warning system that sends the suitable folks in on the proper time.

“Depend the Kicks” is a extensively used stillbirth prevention method that teaches expectant dad and mom a easy methodology for attending to know their child’s regular motion patterns within the third trimester. By timing how lengthy it takes their child to maneuver 10 occasions, and ranking the energy of their child’s actions every day across the similar time, this follow can provide dad and mom some peace of thoughts.

Extra importantly, it alerts them when one thing is off, and empowers expectant dad and mom to hunt out a well being care skilled if their child’s regular motion patterns ever change.

I had entry to a few of the biggest care within the nation however that didn’t save Hank. Realizing {that a} change in a child’s motion is a warning signal and a name for assist would have saved my son. I didn’t have this data throughout his being pregnant. However I did together with his siblings.

Throughout my first being pregnant after the loss, I knew precisely what to do once I skilled a change in motion. I knew how one can advocate for myself and my child, and I had the instruments at my disposal to help in that advocacy. I additionally had entry to care.