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The words, "No Heartbeat" silenced me

Pregnancy is a time of Joy and anticipation. The excitement even when unexpected, grows month after month. When the Barker family learned they were unexpectedly expecting they could not contain the news. They phoned me very late one evening close to midnight on Christmas day to share. Thus the #CharlotteDoulaDreamTeam was born also because Larry & Rachel insisted, there would NOT be another labor without Your Birth Helper despite my being in Georgia. I was honored, of course, not just because I was one of the first to know they were expecting, but also because they desired my team to assist with her upcoming "birth"day!! Rachel is one of my former successful VBAC clients, Larry her husband after being trained a super coach and it had not even been a year since our last birth together.

First moments after stillborn birth | Mom skin to skin

No one expects to hear the words "NO HEARTBEAT". Not in the early weeks of pregnancy, nor in the latter weeks of pregnancy but yet, IT HAPPENS. Sadly, more often than many of us think. October has been named Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. Statistically, miscarriage, still born & infant loss affects approximately 1 in 4 families. This blog is written from the heart, to better educate and inform expectant couples. Pregnancy despite how healthy mom is before conception, how healthy mom is during her pregnancy or how good her prenatal care, there will always be risks.

Doula Assistance after stillborn birth

Skin to skin bonding with daddy

Dressing stillborn baby for bonding time

Here is a direct link to her personal trials after infant loss:

Many times, when a couple suffers a loss whether miscarriage, before or during labor there simply are no explanations. Nothing concrete that eases the parents minds, nothing definitive from autopsy or examining the placenta so parents are left wondering why. Maybe, the most comforting words to us all came from the Priest, who shared, "Baby Mable only knew LOVE." Only Love, in her entire life, how comforting!

Baby's bedside baptism

Here is what we do know:

A healthy baby's heart just doesn't stop beating.

Sometimes, the baby can cut off its own oxygen supply by squeezing or compressing the cord.

Sometimes, baby gets tangled up in its own cord, sometimes cords are around the neck.

Sometimes, birth defects, illness or disease goes undetected.

Sometimes, placental malfunctions can occur.

Sometimes, bacteria, virus & fevers, etc. can interfere with health of mom, baby & placenta.

Sometimes, as this couple found, even with genetic testing to check for top ten factors that might negatively affect a viable fetus- nothing is found.

Sometimes, even with elective, in depth ultrasound early or near term, no abnormalities are found.

Here is what we can do:

We can strive to meet our nutritional needs 80-100 grams of high quality protein daily. Consuming harmonious proportions of each element & proper servings of a well balanced diet. (The Tom Brewer MD nutritional recommendations have been studied and proven 100% successful in eradicating Toxemia / pre-eclampsia in late pregnancy with one week of correcting nutritional deficiencies).

We also know it only takes one week of a bad diet to contribute to poor outcomes.

We know that daily exercise for overall stamina/health of mom & her uterus is preferred.

We know that pregnancy exercises can tone & condition the muscles used in birthing.

We know that daily kegels (200 a day) are recommended to keep the pelvic floor toned & conditioned.

We know that good chiropractic care can sometimes help baby's avoid improper positioning in mom's birth canal.

We know that when mom has poor posture it often affects the baby's head presentation or can prolong labor length.

We know a mom in last trimester should NOT be sleeping on her back, nor on her back for any length of time due to the positioning of our aorta & vena cava it can constrict baby's oxygen supply.

We know that excess mercury, vitamin c, overgrowth of yeast, bacteria, virus & lack of overall nutrition can contribute to the bag of waters breaking prematurely.

We know we should eat good blood building foods last trimester to prevent becoming hypovolemic... be proactive in making more blood prior to third stage labor blood loss.

And, as Rachel & Larry would strongly suggest, keep track of your kick counts utilizing an app called: COUNT THE KICKS, a free app created by mothers who suffered late term losses. The app will compare variation of normal patterns for specific days, weeks, etc. that often Mom may not recognize. Formerly, Rachel had been given a basic flier from the doctors office suggesting monitoring of kick counts and even though she regularly checked in with baby, still suffered the Loss of her third daughter at 37 weeks gestation. She also believes a mother should trust her intuition. She had not felt well the week before, just labeled it as something was off, she didn't feel everything was fine. Sadly, in the appointment before nothing overt or that could be detected specifically, however, she was told her white counts were slightly elevated and there was slight protein in her urine. They were within normal range but elevated for her. Since, her loss, in doing more thorough research, she has learned it is NOT normal for all babies to slow movement near end of pregnancy nor that significant movement is always good movement. Those are two common misconceptions near term. She would suggest you call your doctor, wake your partner and not consider yourself being dramatic, or over reacting (she felt as if she was even on the way to the hospital that evening) trust your gut. If nothing else, you will be reassured baby is fine by hearing its heartbeat and be on your way back home, no matter the time of day or night. Don't wait until the next morning and go to your doctor if you think something is off, because as in her situation, the next day may be too late.

The couple believes, maybe, there may have been a slim chance she could've picked up a problem and sought help sooner had they had more knowledge on the subject. Sadly, they were not aware of this app prior to their own loss. We would all agree we are not overly educated on the subject and although its difficult to prevent such loss, Rachel believes if she had utilized this app, it may have alerted her to her the variances of concern & she could've sought help or checked on baby sooner in an effort to prevent baby Mable's loss.

The American Congress of Obstetricians & Gynecologists recommends beginning kick counts starting in your 28th week or at 26 weeks if considered high risk or carrying multiples., along with Larry & Rachel Barker would suggest using this app. It doesn't require much of your time and besides tracking your baby's activity is a great way to get to know your baby. After a few days of using the app, a normal pattern appears. Call your provider if you notice a change in your baby's "normal" movement pattern. Each baby is different. More information can be found on

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