The Thirty-Nine Week Rule Sucks.

My constant current view lately.

Its been another night of fighting sleep.

Me and the early hours of the morning have become well acquainted in the last week and a half. Please don’t tell me how I won’t be getting sleep when Mila arrives. It’s a different type of insomnia of worry and fear that people wouldn’t understand unless they’ve went through the loss of their child. Honestly, I would love to be able to sleep or get tired at night. Instead, I find myself getting quick power naps throughout the day that are keeping me going. How? I have no idea, but here we are.

The last time I wrote here, I said I would update everyone about Thursday’s appointment. Before my appointment, I went to Instagram and asked other moms if they had been induced early with their subsequent pregnancy. While there are some countries that will induce early, as in 37 or 38 weeks, the United States has this lovely 39 week rule. In short, doctors and hospitals and research want pregnant moms to wait until 39 weeks for induction, unless there’s a medical emergency with the mom or baby. You can look it up on Google easily, I’m too lazy to post links right now. Long story short, in the late 90s/2000s, people were scheduling inductions and c-sections for reasons such as they wanted a certain date and doctors would go along with it. This led to babies being born prematurely and having to spend time in the NICU. To prevent the rise in c-sections and NICU stays, they implemented waiting till 39 weeks was best.

Don’t get me wrong. When I was pregnant with Jensen, I wanted him to stay put until he was ready to come out. I didn’t want ANY intervention or pain medicine. The thought behind waiting 39 weeks is great for certain situations and if it has helped babies, then awesome. I’m in no way a scientist or researcher in this area, so I don’t mean to sound cynical with what I have to say next.

What I am though is a mom that’s baby hasn’t made it to 39 weeks.

Jensen was born at 38 weeks and 2 days. We were monitored twice a week by ultrasound at the hospital and the doctor’s office. Everything on his scans looked great and they in no way thought he was in distress while he was in the womb. Yet, in one moment, his heart stopped with no warning.

Fast forward to this past week. On Wednesday night, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt Mila move when I got home. I ate dinner and laid on the couch watching TV with no sound and prompting her to move. Nothing. Instantly, I started panicking. After an hour of more stillness, I decided it was time to go to the hospital. When I finally arrived it was around midnight and they got me right in. I didn’t cry and tried to be as strong as I could on the outside. On the inside… well that’s a different story. They ended up having to have me on the NST (non-stress test) monitor for most of the night. I wasn’t going crazy, Mila was having either a very long nap or a lazy spell. Her and I’s heart rate when we first got in there was skyrocketed, but they both came down, thankfully. Since it took her a little while to get some movements in, they ordered an ultrasound. All the tests came back perfectly and she’s measuring ahead. I ended up getting home at 4ish with her finally deciding to give me huge movements.

The very next day I had my second appointment at my doctor’s office. I went in with my knowledge of inducing early (37 or 38 weeks), my history of stillbirth, the previous night’s experience, and knowing what is best for my mental health that directly has an impact on Mila. I asked for an early induction for the sake of all those things and I was told the earliest they could was 39 weeks.

Part of me was happy there was a set date, but the majority of my mind and body know there’s no guarantee of that week coming. No one, not even my doctor, can promise me she’ll live until that point of time. Jensen never got that chance and so many other babies didn’t and won’t either.

Yeah, I could look at statistics for stillbirth, recurrent loss/stillbirth, and even live births. It doesn’t help. My child was the one before. I am the statistic and could very well be again. When Jensen died, I needed to know all those numbers to know I wasn’t alone or think I did something wrong. Knowledge has always been so valuable in my eyes. I still am glad I know all those stats and what can happen, but it has plagued me to not want to sleep, connect, or even feel hungry until I’m starving. It’s the loss of innocence that was stolen away from me two years ago that I wish I could just get back for the remaining time I’m pregnant with her, then I’ll take it all back.

never thought I would say that, but here I am, terrified that if I go to sleep for too long at night she’ll stop kicking or have distressing movements and I’ll miss them. It’s terrifying.

People don’t understand the PTSD after loss. Last year, I had horrible flashbacks and nightmares nearing Jensen’s birthday and you can bet I’ve gotten them this year too. Since I’ve known Mila’s dates were so close to his, I’ve wanted her out before the big day. I won’t go on about this since I talked about it in my last post, but I’ll tell you, I probably won’t be sleeping much during his birthday week and all of week 38.

This is why the 39 weeks rule sucks.

There’s so many reasons why she should be induced this coming Friday and I can’t do anything about it. I’m afraid that I’ll unintentionally hurt her from my fear and anxiety. The whole no sleep thing probably is messing with her, as well as my lack of proper diet. (If you’re worried, I do eat. I set alarms on my phone to make sure I’m getting enough and have not missed a day of prenatal vitamins. My body is just not getting hungry like a normal person’s does at this time. This happened for months after Jensen was born, so I learned ways to make sure I was being as healthy as I can be even when I didn’t want to eat.) I also know that there’s not a switch of these feelings going away when she’s born. There will be a whole other set of complex emotions I know I’ll go through. Yet, the lack of control that I feel is happening as I wait these last few weeks is horrible. What will switch instantly is being able to see her alive. Having her breathing in my arms and feeling like I (or anyone else) can help her if she needs it.

I’m not ‘tired of being pregnant’ or just want her out for the hell of it. That’s where the this 39 week rule messes with women who are just trying to do what is best for their self and child. I don’t feel heard or that my feelings are validated at this point. The only thing, besides being able to have Jensen back too, is to have Mila in my arms alive and healthy.

All I want is to hear her screaming the second she is born and finally being able to see her face. I’m just trying to make sure that happens and not let death steal her away too.

So, here’s to the next (less than) 3 weeks of no sleep and endless kick counts.

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4 thoughts on “The Thirty-Nine Week Rule Sucks.

  1. I am certainly not an expert on childbirth. But I know I saw a lot of people comment that had stillborn children before. Their next pregnancy, they were induced one week before the week their stillborn occurred. This seems to apply to more people that had a stillborn at weeks in the late 30 week range, 40 or plus etc. Since Jensen was stillborn so late, I would think that you fit in that category. While I understand what you wrote about the other rules, I would think that applies to people with “typically” pregnancies and no history of loss prior. The practice of medicine is supposed to be fluid and not “one size fits all”. I’m sure you already had the induction talk with your provider but as long as your baby is measuring well, I don’t see why this doesn’t apply to you. Especially also because your mental state is a wreck (one hundred percent understandable and I have also been there) and you are experiencing so much stress, anxiety, lack of sleep etc. I would stress these factors to your provider (you probably have already) but I would strongly do so again. In the meantime, hang in there (as you are already doing). I am sending love and prayers your way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely agree with everything you’ve said and have seen others be induced the week before their previous loss. Unfortunately, even with expressing my concerns and bringing articles and what I’ve learned, they will not induce until 39 weeks. I actually heard through the nurses they were surprised I would be induced at all, especially since the hospital I’ll be giving birth at just changed their rules to no inductions until 41 weeks. Thankfully they’re still inducing me at 39 weeks. It’s absolutely sickening to me that they won’t budge on my situation, which I know so many other people are in too. Just trying to think as positively as I can, which isn’t easy at all. Thank you so much for the love and prayers. They are much appreciated!

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  2. I feel every single line you’ve written because I was exactly the same. I needed my baby out. From 35 weeks I was a mess.
    In NZ they will grant a c-section on mental health grounds. Could you get a psychologist or therapist on board to advocate for you?
    I hope you are coping (that’s the only fitting word as the fear is crippling)
    Much love to you, your Mila and beautiful Jensen. X

    Liked by 1 person

    • I stopped seeing my therapist a month or two after Jensen’s first birthday. We did not connect at all and I never found another. Although I’ve expressed concern for my mental health to my OB, I don’t think the hospital would allow an induction any earlier than I have now. I have less than two weeks to go, I’m just trying to be positive.

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