Mum almost loses her precious daughter to placental calcification

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Grandma saves the day by showing a presence of mind!

Mum, Ayla Heller safely delivered her daughter Maddy a few weeks back. However, the whole episode was nothing close to peaceful! Turns out, Ayla had placental calcification, leading to foetal distress. And, had her mother not shown a presence of mind, the consequences would have been disastrous! 

The story unfolds

Ayla Heller was just a couple of weeks away from delivering her daughter, Maddy. However, something frightening happened and she almost lost Maddy. To raise awareness about the condition, Ayla shared a post on Facebook. 

38 weeks in, it was like any other day. However, she noticed that Maddy was not her usual active self. 

"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."

She was a bit worried, so she let her partner know. 

"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."

Her mother sensed trouble and immediately asked her to rush to the hospital.

 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 labour centre.

"Upon arriving I was hooked up to monitors so they could track babies movement. After about 30-40 minutes I was informed that my midwife was on her way. 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.  We were informed that if there were life-threatening problems with Maddy, which they believed to be a pretty high chance, she would be sent to Randall's.After about 40 more minutes, Maddy and I were released back to our original room."

Turns out, she had placental calcification. 

"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...

And so, Alya urges other mothers to just go in, in case of a doubt. 

"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 until 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."

Placental calcification and what you can do about it

The cause of Placental calcification is unknown. Placental calcification is seen in mothers who smoke, have chronic hypertension, SLE, or diabetes. That said, it is quite common for low-risk pregnancies as well. In fact, according to a report, it is seen in 1 out of every 4 term deliveries. Severe basal placental calcification may lead to a lessened blood supply to the foetus, causing foetal distress. 

As it is a natural process, there is nothing you can do to stop it from happening. It usually happens late in the pregnancy, and there are no early markers for it. The good news is, it is detected on a USG scan. 

Generally, after 36 weeks, your doctor will ask to undergo a scan every week. The idea is to assess the growth and wellbeing of the mother and the baby. These scans can spot placental calcification. Fetal distress caused by placental insufficiency leads to a reduction in the movements. so mums, keep a track of the baby's movements. In all probability, your nurse must have given you instructions to count the movements. Follow them. And if you have any doubt, like Ayla suggests, go to the doctor. 

Back to Maddy!

It is 3 weeks, and Maddy is doing fantastically well! Here is a picture of her. It just made my day!

(Image source: Facebook)

Also, read Mum gives birth to her baby within an intact amniotic sac, inside a car!