New mum shares near tragedy to warn pregnant mamas

"If you have doubts, GO IN. GO IN. GO IN. GO IN!!!"
"If you have doubts, GO IN. GO IN. GO IN. GO IN!!!" Photo: Facebook/Ayla Heller

Pregnancy can be fraught with worry, and sometimes it's hard to know when to seek help and when to just relax.

When first-time mum Ayla Heller, 19, was 38 weeks pregnant with her daughter Madison ("Maddy") she started to worry she hadn't felt her baby kick in a while. What started off as a normal day almost ended in tragedy for Ayla and her boyfriend Dalton Henderson, 23, but thanks to trusting her instincts and seeking medical attention, Madison was saved and, just weeks later, is a happy healthy baby.

Now Ayla is speaking out about her terrifying experience in the hope of encouraging other expectant mums to follow their instincts and "just go in" if they think something might be wrong.

Ayla shared her story on Facebook, where it has been shared nearly 20,000 times.

"So the day I turned 38 weeks was obviously just a normal day," she wrote. "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)."

Ayla said she felt Maddy shift her position a few times throughout the day, so she thought at least she had felt some movement, but when Dalton asked her if Maddy had been kicking that evening, she started to become concerned.

"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."

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Ayla searched the internet for answers, and found conflicting advice everywhere, but when she texted her mother Sara, she insisted Ayla seek medical advice straight away. Ayla called her midwife and was told to come into the hospital immediately.

Within a few hours, Maddy was delivered by emergency caesarean, requiring oxygen after the birth. Ayla was told her placenta had aged prematurely, was calcified and was no longer providing Maddy with the oxygen and nutrients she needed to survive. This had caused Maddy to try to preserve her energy, which is why she had stopped moving.

Maddy also required a glucose drip for her first few days of life to bring her blood sugar back up to normal.

Ayla says when Sara asked what would have happened if she hadn't gone to the hospital when she did, she was told that Maddy wouldn't have survived the night.

"So the point in me sharing this is to let anyone else know that things like this DO happen," Ayla wrote in her Facebook post. "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."