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South Carolina mom helps other reduce the risk of pregnancy loss after losing her own daughter

Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 12:04 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - October was recognized as pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, but the fact of the matter is that miscarriages and stillbirth affect women every day.

In fact, pregnancy and infant loss affects one in every four pregnancies.

However, there are some prevention techniques that expectant parents can learn to reduce the risk of a tragic loss.

For one South Carolina mother, her own loss has led her to now help others.

Danielle Barkley was pregnant with her first child in 2014. Barkley says she and her husband were over the moon to welcome a new baby girl to the family. However, one weekend Barkley noticed her baby, wasn’t really moving as much as normal.

“My husband and I thought maybe she’s sleepy because I didn’t know that her not moving as much could mean something was wrong. So I kind of just let the day go on and then when the night-time came, when she was always really active and she still wasn’t moving, I was like okay something’s not right,” says Barkley.

Danielle and her husband called their doctor that night and rushed to the hospital to make sure everything was alright.

But when doctors began having trouble finding the baby’s heartbeat, Danielle said she knew something was terribly wrong, “We saw our beautiful daughter on the screen, but her heart was no longer beating,” says Barkley, “It was the loudest silence.”

On October 13, 2014, Danielle was induced at 30 weeks pregnant and gave birth to her daughter, Lydia.

“I didn’t know that stillbirth was a thing that happens to healthy babies and healthy moms,” says Barkley, “It was just completely shocking and devastating.”

After Lydia’s passing, Danielle became determined to help other moms avoid the same type of tragedy.

She joined the Count the Kicks campaign to help parents be more aware of their baby’s movements in the third trimester, “So after 28 weeks, you kind of get to know when your baby is most active,” Barkley explains, “So around that time when your baby is most active you basically just sit down and relax a few minutes or however long it takes to count your baby’s movements and you just have to do it until you reach ten movements.”

Barkley says by counting and tracking movements every day, parents will start to know the baby’s patterns and what’s normal.

“So if it is taking five minutes every day and then one day it’s taking 45 minutes or you’re not getting to ten – that’s a pretty big change and that warrants you calling your doctor.”

Barkley says tracking movements manually or through the Count the Kicks app is important for parents as she’s seen it save some babies lives.

Looking back on her own experience, Barkley says she wished she knew about Count the Kicks and the importance of tracking movements in the third trimester.

“I feel strongly that if I had known to count her kicks and pay more attention to that, and known that it was not right, that her movements weren’t changing, then I could have gotten to the hospital sooner to save her,” Barkley says.

Losing her first baby didn’t deter Danielle from having more.

Now she spends her time advocating for stillbirth prevention as a Count the Kicks ambassador, all while keeping Lydia’s memory alive in her family – a family that continues to grow.

Along with Lydia, Barkley has a son and a daughter and just weeks ago, the Barkley’s welcomed another son, Benjamin to their family.

Barkley says she tells her children about their older sister Lydia and make sure she is always part of the family. Barkley even has a small “Lydia bear” that weighs what Lydia did at birth – 3 lbs. 8oz.

For more information on pregnancy and infant loss, click here.

For more information on the Count the Kicks campaign, click here.

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