I Heard My Baby Girl's Heartbeat Just 15 Minutes Before She Died
Updated: Apr 4, 2021
I had a few scares when I was pregnant with Evelyn. I had shingles at around 12 weeks, and then three bleeds between 14-17 weeks. This was terrifying for me, but didn’t affect her.
I first felt her kick at around 17 weeks (I say kick but it was more like little bubbles popping). From then on, she would normally kick as I drove to work every morning, and then she would have her own little party in my womb around 9 p.m. every night. I’m not sure if she loved or hated the bath, but she also kicked constantly every time I got in it.
I had a scan at 32 weeks to check that the blood clot from the previous bleed had resolved and thankfully it had! After that, I was classed as a low risk pregnancy and finally felt like I could breathe and enjoy my pregnancy.
I finished work for maternity leave at week 35 as I had holiday leave to take, and began painting the nursery and getting everything ready for our little girl.
At week 36, after my midwife appointment (Tuesday), I felt like I was getting the flu. But that same night I noticed I couldn’t smell my Vicks!
Off to the test center I went and sure enough it came back positive for COVID. Apart from having a high temperature, and some muscle aches and fatigue, I felt like I could manage at home. By Saturday I felt fine—just heavily pregnant and tired!
On Sunday morning I noticed Evelyn wasn’t her lively self, so I went in to get checked. Sure enough, as soon as I went on the monitor, she started kicking away nicely! I was in there for a couple of hours and everything seemed fine, so back home we went. Monday was uneventful.
On Tuesday, October 27, 2020, I noticed that again Evelyn hadn’t been kicking as much as usual. I got in the bath but still no kicks. I went back to get checked, although I felt like a hypochondriac.
I was seen right away and put on the monitor again. She began to move and had a good heartbeat. I had been on the monitor for about 3-4 hours when I was told I would be induced. “You’re 37 weeks, you’re COVID positive, and you’re not happy with baby’s movement. Let’s just get her out.”
Photo by Stephanie Hignett
I was going to give birth alone because of COVID, and I was terrified. But I was also so excited.
I remember saying to the midwife, “Will she be born on Halloween? It’s my mums favourite holiday, she goes all out every year!” The midwife laughed and exclaimed she’d be here before then!
I was on the monitor for a little while after that with no communications that Evelyn was in distress. She still had a heart rate of 150 bpm. I was taken off the monitor at 4:50 p.m. and walked to the delivery suite to begin my induction.
Once there, the midwife tried to find her heartbeat to put me back on the monitor, but she was having some difficulty. (I should mention the previous midwife had to hold the trace by hand for four hours because Evelyn wasn’t in the best position).
Unable to find it, she scanned me but again she was having trouble locating it. Then the SHO scanned me and she was also having trouble. By this time a few people had come into this huge room and I remember thinking they must be taking me for an emergency c-section. Then the consultant scanned me. The room was quiet and I looked at the screen—I could see her spine and knew her heartbeat should be right there as I’d seen it many times before. There was silence and then I was told “I’m sorry, she’s died.”
I had been off the monitor for 15 minutes and I was alone.
I gave birth to our beautiful baby girl on October 30, 2020, with Warren by my side. Evelyn was perfect.
We waited just under 12 weeks for all the results to come back. They didn’t surprise me, but they shocked the consultant and the staff at the hospital.
Evelyn didn’t have COVID but COVID had obliterated my placenta. Examination of the placenta revealed massive perivillous fibrin deposition with hystocytic intervillositis and positive immunohistochemistry for SARS-CoV2. The placenta stopped functioning and Evelyn died.
We need more information and research in regards to COVID and pregnancy, and hopefully our story and case will help that research.
Thank you Stephanie Hignett for submitting your story. Shared with permission.