Despite a rough 14 weeks with nausea and sickness, I was having a smooth and low-risk pregnancy. At my 20-week scan I found out I had an anterior placenta and this caused me a lot of anxiety. I knew that meant that some of the baby's movements could be cushioned, so how would I know if something was wrong? I was so happy when I felt those first flutters, and especially when Daddy was able to feel the movement a few weeks later too.

At 24-weeks pregnant I was suddenly really confused about my baby's movements. I knew it was still very early in the pregnancy, but I thought my baby had a bit of a pattern already. Today, something didn't seem quite right. I ended up getting myself in a panic, calling the Maternity Unit in floods of tears. They told me to come in and they would check that baby was OK. The lovely midwife who answered even said she had an anterior placenta during her pregnancy and could completely empathise with how I was feeling.

Once in the hospital, the midwife carried out checks and, thankfully, everything looked perfect. She told me that I must always call if I had any doubts about movements. Never assume it's the placenta. She made me feel so reassured and even booked a scan for me the next day as she thought it would make me feel better seeing my baby again. I also arranged more frequent checks with my community midwife to try and help reduce some of the anxiety I was feeling. The next few weeks went by smoothly, I even started to get planning for when the baby would be here by ordering a pram and nursery furniture. It was such a special time.

Fast forward to the 13th of December and I was 29+6 days pregnant. I woke up for my religious 3 am wee, some nights I would feel the baby move at this time, but I didn't feel anything that night. When I woke up the next morning, I waited to see if I would get the usual morning kicks but, again, I didn't notice anything. Was it my placenta? 

I googled "anterior placenta baby movements at 30 weeks" to try and get some reassurance. I looked at the stories on the Kicks website Count but so many were much further into the pregnancy, I was only 30 weeks! Then I came across Lorna's story and it prompted me to call my Maternity Unit again. 

I was seen in Antenatal Day Assessment at around 2 pm. They were so busy, but due to my gestation and reduced movements, they wanted to assess me straight away. The first thing I had to do was a urine sample and then a midwife came in and explain what would happen next. She asked me what colour my urine was as she thought I might be a little dehydrated. She said that dehydration could cause the baby's movements to slow down, so I had to stay hydrated. She handed me a glass of water and explained I would have CTG next, which would monitor the baby's heart rate.

She strapped me up and handed me a button, which I thought I had to keep my thumb on. As it was so busy she wasn't able to stay, but she kept popping back in to check. The CTG wasn't very successful, the baby kept moving away from the sensor so the trace would drop and the midwife would come back, find it and try again. After the third or fourth time, the midwife came back to say that it wasn't working and we hadn't achieved a criteria trace. However, what she could see wasn't concerning her. The baby was moving a lot and she said that she could see that I'd felt a lot of movements. I was confused, I hadn't felt the baby move at all! I felt so embarrassed, I thought I had to keep the button pressed at all times and it meant the results weren't accurate. She told me it wasn't my fault though, and came up with a plan for me to come back in a couple of hours to redo the trace when it would be quieter. I remember feeling quite reassured though, I was convinced I just needed to drink more water!

I was lucky, she also managed to book me an ultrasound for 16.30 and after I would have another CTG.

I called my partner (who was hundreds of miles away in Aberdeen) to reassure him things seemed OK. I hadn't even told my Mum as I didn't want her to worry unnecessarily.

I was called in for the ultrasound and, after a while, I thought this wasn't like the scans I'd had before. The sonographer was spending a lot of time on my baby's brain. She also asked me to hold my breath a few times, which I thought was odd. She said, very matter of factly, that she'd give my notes to the midwife and I would need to have further checks. The baby hadn't moved much during the scan, was plotting lower on the growth charts than expected and the blood flow was being diverted to the brain.

Even at this point, I still wasn't too worried. The sonographer seemed calm. I was waiting for my CTG when my midwife quickly walked past, telling me that someone else will come to start my CTG so she can discuss my scan results with the doctors in delivery.

Delivery??? Maybe that is just where the obstetricians are, I thought. I still wasn't panicking.

But then, five minutes into the CTG, the midwife comes back and says very simply, "I'm sorry, but you've got to come to the delivery suite, now."

I just burst into tears. What is happening? I can't have my baby now, it's too early and I wasn't ready!

Everything else is a blur. My mum made it just in time, but I had to have a general anaesthetic as they couldn't wait any longer to get the baby out. 

When I woke up I was told I had a beautiful baby girl. She was OK, but was in the NICU. My mum was able to stay with me in HDU and be there with me the first time I saw my baby.

My daughter, Orla, was born at 19.17 via emergency c-section at 30 weeks weighing a tiny 2lb 9oz.

We spent nine weeks in the Neonatal Unit before we could finally go home as a family. Over a year later she is a healthy and thriving one-year-old.

It's taken me a long time to come to terms with Orla's birth and to not feel like I failed my daughter. But now I can see I saved her life. This is undoubtedly down to Kicks Count alerting me to the importance of movements and a fast-acting Maternity Team. I am forever grateful.

If you've made it this far, thank you for reading our story. Please never think of yourself as a burden to the Maternity Unit. Kicks really do count.