This New Mama Was Right—Trusting Your Mom Instincts Can Save Lives

Just like Ayla Heller, I trusted my gut when I knew something was wrong with my kid

It’s every pregnant mom’s worst nightmare. You’re finally in the last trimester of your pregnancy when you realize one morning your baby isn’t kicking as much as the day before.

What do you do? Many new-moms-to-be might stay home, not wanting to bother the doctor or midwife for fear of looking foolish.

New mom Ayla Heller is sharing her story (don’t worry, it has a happy ending), to encourage pregnant women to always trust their instincts.

The day she hit 38 weeks of pregnancy began as any other but early in the morning Heller realized her baby girl (Maddy) wasn’t kicking as much as she normally would. Ayla assumed the baby was simply having a less-active day but by 7 pm that night she realized she still hadn’t moved all day.

Heller took a bath, drank some orange juice and she and her husband listened to Maddy’s heartbeat with a Doppler. She wasn’t in full-on panic mode yet because she knew Maddy was still alive.

Then she did what all of us would do—she Googled it. Of course, there was conflicting advice, half the information advising to get to a hospital immediately, the other half saying the baby had run out of room to move and not to worry.

Fortunately, Ayla called her midwife, who directed her to go to the labour center. Once there, she was hooked up to monitors and within 30 to 40 minutes it became clear something was wrong. Long story, short, Ayla was rushed into an operating room for an emergency C-section.

It turns out Maddy’s placenta had aged prematurely, was calcified, and had basically given up. This meant Maddy was not receiving as much oxygen or food as she needed, causing her to try to preserve her energy, which is why she had stopped moving.

When Ayla’s mother asked what would have happened if she hadn’t gone in when she did, the response was, “She (Maddy) wouldn’t be here.”

When my younger son was not even a year old, he got croup. It started out as a cold but over the course of a few days, he began coughing the telltale loud, barking croup cough. I talked to my friends, Googled his symptoms and even called Telehealth. Everyone told me not to panic. But on the second day, even though he wasn’t showing any of the “get him to the doctor right now” signs like grayish skin, or high-pitched breathing sounds, I knew something more was wrong.

I took him to the emergency room and as I was talking to the nurse at the reception explaining what was happening, a doctor walked by, took one look at my son, and told me to follow him.

In only minutes he was hooked up to oxygen and on a steroid ventilator. We were in the ‘emergency’ section of the emergency room, the place they put you when your life is in immediate danger. The x-rays showed his airway had swollen to the size of a juice box drinking straw. Had I not brought him in, he could have died, plain and simple.

We often hesitate when it comes to our gut instincts because we can’t explain it, or we don’t want to bother anyone. But the truth is your body is a powerful communicator, and you need to act on those instincts.

As Ayler says in her post, “You know your body and your baby better than anyone else.”

If you ever feel that something is wrong, trust those instincts, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise until you get it checked out.

Ayler and her husband Dalton are now the proud parents of Maddy who is healthy and thriving. Our congratulations to them. 

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