Every day during her third trimester, without fail, Katie counted the kicks of her unborn son.
He was an active baby that was always on the move, until one day Katie noticed that within the hour it took to normally get ten kicks, she only got four.
"I immediately told my husband that there was something wrong and I needed to go in and get checked," Katie wrote.
Just a six kick difference sounded the alarm.
Her doctor ordered an ultrasound. Nurses found a baby in distress. Then came an emergency C-section.
When baby Liam entered the world, the cord was wrapped around his neck and doctors discovered a severe infection.
"We were so close to losing our baby boy," Katie told us.
Liam spent 10 days in the NICU before he could go home. But he went home. Safe in the arms of his family.
"The doctor told us that if I hadn't been counting kicks and hadn't been made aware of the situation, our baby probably wouldn't be with us today. She said that she could almost guarantee that he would have been stillborn if we would have waited," she wrote.
The grateful Iowa mom knew not to wait.
Weeks before, her doctor had handed her a colorful brochure with a Dr. Seuss-looking belly and a very valuable piece of advice: download the app, too.
And so Katie did. She downloaded the Count the Kicks! app onto her smart phone and started counting her baby's kicks, rolls and jabs. Tracking baby's movement is vitally important, they told her, because a change in movement patterns could indicate something is wrong.
Informed doctors. Diligent mama. Miracle baby.
How did that colorful brochure with the Dr. Seuss belly end up in Katie's doctor's office?
It landed there because Telligen Community Initiative of West Des Moines, Iowa chose to make a difference.
They chose to invest in Count the Kicks.
Since the public awareness campaign (based on this research from Norway) launched in Iowa in 2009, Iowa went from 33rd to 3rd lowest in U.S. stillbirth rankings.
The state's stillbirth rate dropped 26 percent.
Now picture this.
If the entire country's stillbirth rate could also drop by 26 percent, we could save 6,000 babies every year.
SIX THOUSAND BABIES.
For the past 18 months Telligen Community Initiative has made it free for every Iowa hospital, doctor's office and clinic to have Count the Kicks brochures and posters.
An investment today. A baby saved tomorrow.
"I will forever be grateful to this organization and the app for making mothers aware of counting the kicks and the movements of their unborn children. My baby boy is truly a Count the Kicks success story," Katie wrote.
Liam turns one in a couple weeks. And one day he will be a Grandpa.
An investment today. A family tree forever altered.
It's just that easy.
Will you join our movement?
Will you help us get more brochures in mamas' hands?
Will you help us put posters in hospitals and clinics across the country?
Will you tell expecting parents about Count the Kicks?
Will you make sure they download the app, now available in Spanish and for twins?
There's nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Just ask Katie.
In 2009, five Iowa moms who all lost baby daughters within months of each other, launched Count the Kicks, the public awareness campaign that's gone global thanks to the free kick counting app found in the iTunes and Google Play online stores. Prior to the development of Count the Kicks, the five founding women created the non-profit organization Healthy Birth Day and helped get Iowa's Stillbirth Registry law enacted. They now have Count the Kicks ambassadors in 18 states. The Healthy Birth Day Board is purely made up of volunteers and the organization has just one part-time staff member. By supporting our mission, you can be sure your money will be spent wisely and will go directly to saving babies.
A heartfelt thank you to Strategic America for creating the brochures and posters that are informing maternal healthcare providers and expectant parents all over the U.S. We value your partnership immensely.
Learn more about how to Count the Kicks by clicking here.
Learn more about how you can support the Count the Kicks mission by clicking here.