As most first-time parents would be, I was in a bit of shock. After a lot of research I found that having a bicornuate uterus isn’t actually that uncommon. The easiest way to explain it is that there are two sides to my uterus that are only combined a little bit at the bottom; instead of the single, pear-shaped uterus most people think of. (Get more information about the condition here)
Thankfully my pregnancy progressed pretty normally. I got those monthly ultrasounds up until my 34th week, where it was confirmed that our baby girl was still breech (her specific type of breech position changed a couple of times, but I believe that she was footling breach at the time). During the consultation with the high-risk OB, I inquired about our birthing options. Her response was “If [much emphasis on that first word] I see in you four weeks, we’ll discuss it then.”
A week later, my water broke in the middle of the night and T was born by c-section the next morning, at 35 weeks gestation. Though she was one of the healthiest babies in the NICU, she spent an agonizing 3 weeks there due to continued bradycardia episodes, which we found was the result of infant GERD.
When I got pregnant with L, I was informed that due to my history of pre-term birth, I would need to start receiving alpha hydroxy progesterone (aka 17P) shots on a weekly basis from about week 16 to week 37. And now that I’m pregnant with my third baby, I’m back to getting those weekly injections.
Back in 2012, I couldn’t find much research about it; and even now the information is a bit spotty. Even my nurse for this pregnancy has indicated that there still isn’t a lot of information to help women who are proscribed this treatment. So I’m hoping the information here will help someone down the line.
When L was exactly 38 weeks gestational age, my water again broke in the middle of the night and I quickly went into labor. L was born around 5:00 that morning. I’m 30 weeks along with my current pregnancy, and haven’t had any signs of pre-term labor, so things are looking good for now.
I know that pricing for the 17P injections varies widely between insurance companies and individual plans. When I was pregnant with L, the injections were completely covered by insurance. We’re now with a different insurance company through my husband’s company. Since he works for a small company, the coverage is fairly limited. As a result, we’re paying a little more than $200 per injection; which will total a little over $2,000 by the end.
When I got the nasty head cold, it was her consultation a few days before visiting my OB that convinced me to accept a prescription that was offered by my doctor. I found that I developed a relationship with both nurses that provide me the injections. They are there to help, and have genuinely cared about the health of my pregnancies. And with T home for the summer, she gets to ‘help’ out by squeezing the air out of the blood pressure cuff, sterilizing the injection site and giving me a band-aid after the injection is done.
The progesterone is carried through a thick oil, which means big needles. Any good nurse can reduce the pain associated with injections, and I’ve rarely felt more than a little pinch. The hardest part is waiting those 45 seconds to 1 minute for all the fluid to be slowly injected.
I have noticed a couple unfortunate side effects that have been the same with each pregnancy:
I’ve noticed that the reactions are worse on the right side than the left. My nurse has even commented that she’s noticed women have a “preferred side”, so don’t be surprised if you find that one hip hurts longer than the other. During my second pregnancy, the symptoms subsided after a few weeks. I’m about 10 weeks into the treatment for this pregnancy, and still scratching away. The symptoms seem to be going away faster, but I still itch for a few days.