Remember when smartphones were new and they seemed poised to transform life as we knew it? “There’s an app for that” became the watchword for a brave new future, an existence lived on the cutting edge of technology.
Of course, most of us ended up using our smartphones to spend inordinate amounts of time on social media or to watch countless funny videos of cute cats.
But for one Waukee, Iowa, woman, an app saved the life of her unborn child.
When Emily Eekhoff first learned she was pregnant with her second child, she decided to use her smartphone to help ensure that her baby remained healthy during gestation.
So she downloaded Count the Kicks, an app that helps women keep track of their babies’ movements once they reach 28 weeks of growth.
Healthy third-trimester children should be moving in a noticeable way while in utero. Created by five women who experienced stillborn babies or an infant’s death, Count the Kicks helps pregnant women understand those movements and keep track of them, a key metric for determining whether or not a baby is in distress.
Dr. Neil Mandsager of Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, serves as an adviser to Count the Kicks and says that women don’t necessarily need a smartphone to monitor baby movements. “It’s not how you do it. It’s the fact that you do it on a consistent basis and you respond once you identify decreased activity.”
But for Eekhoff, the app helped her realize that something was wrong around 33 weeks of development. Her baby’s kicks, rolls, and prods fell off dramatically.
“I was aware just of how much she usually moved during the day with the app’s help,” Eekhoff said on Good Morning America.
“The kicks were not happening as frequently as they usually did, and when she did move, it was really, like, soft, subtle, not, like, hard kicks like normal.”
She rushed to her doctor, and tests quickly confirmed what she had suspected: She needed to deliver her baby — now.
When little Ruby Eekhoff entered the world via emergency Caesarian section, she had her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck three times. It was very likely that she wouldn’t have survived if carried to term.
That didn’t mean she was home free after emerging from the womb, though. Ruby had to stay in the NICU for nearly three weeks due to complications.
Still, Eekhoff is thrilled that her daughter was saved. She’s also thankful to the brave women behind Count the Kicks.
“I’m thankful for them for doing something out of their loss and saving my own because I don’t know if I would’ve caught it had I not been using the app,” she told ABC News.
“They are so thankful and grateful and likewise, so I think we do have a bond just because they have made a huge impact on my own family.”
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