My second pregnancy was a joyful surprise just after we celebrated our son’s second birthday. It’s actually funny how we decided after he turned two was when we’d start considering another baby. God’s timing is always better than ours… but this time they were very close!
Because I went into preterm labor with our son at 32 weeks and delivered at almost 34 weeks, the very first doctor visit for this pregnancy was routine plus some additional procedures because I fell into a new category: mother with premature delivery history.
We’re Having Another Baby
The very first visit we got confirmation of our little baby to be on the ultrasound screen and it was just as magical this time as it was with our son. They told me my due date and immediately my mind started calculating the “preterm date” if this baby were to come early like big brother.
Then the real questions started.
What are my chances of having this baby early, too? If preterm delivery happened again, would I be as lucky as last time to have my child spend ONE day/night in NICU? What can I do to prevent it from happening again?
The last question sparked a whole other convo with the doctor.
“Would you consider trying a medication made to help prevent preterm labor?”
Of course I’d consider it.
Then I was given a quick run down of what the medication was called, how I would have to take weekly injections starting at 16 weeks up until time of delivery, and (the kicker) that it was “controversial.”
The Initial Decision
I should have done more digging than I did from the initial doctor visit. But I didn’t. The first time I was told about this medication as an option was at my initial 8 week appointment and then I was set up for a phone call to schedule the prescription at my 12 week appointment. In the time in between I didn’t think much about it. I just knew I needed to start it at 16 weeks so they would likely tell me more at the 12 week appointment.
The sad thing is, I wasn’t told much more about it. And that’s partially my fault for not asking more questions. But the fear of having another early delivery and the chances of having another one go as smoothly (i.e. extremely healthy premature baby) weren’t the best. After all, my healthy, premature son was a mere miracle.
I got a phone call from the pharmaceutical company wanting to get my approval for running the prescription through my insurance. So of course I okayed it. A subsequent phone call, a week later when I had just hit 15 weeks (keep in mind I’m supposed to start this at 16 weeks for it to be “effective”) revealed that my insurance was covering zero percent of this medicine. Yes. Zero. None. “So what’s the out of pocket cost then?” I hesitantly asked.
“$3,155.00 per shot.”
You read that right. Three thousand one hundred fifty five dollars PER WEEKLY shot. I stroked out. How is that even right? How is that logical? What on earth could cause it to be that much? Was THIS why it was so controversial?
The Controversial Discovery
Turns out the FDA began regulating this medication and thus allowed this particular company to sky rocket the costs from an average $25/shot to this insane amount that would not be covered by my insurance.
“But we can direct you to our generous copay assistance program, ma’am. We don’t want anyone to go without the medication they need because of cost,” the pharma representative told me.
Upon answering a series of questions it was determined in a matter of second that I was eligible for their copay assistance program and it brought the cost down to $100 a month ($25 a shot). So, go for it. Take it before they change their mind, I thought to myself.
I went to my 16 week check up ready to start the shots that day only to discover they had not been delivered to my doctor’s office like I was told they would be. So not only did I have to wait until they decided to deliver, a week later… but I had to go through the phone chain hassle again and so did the poor nurses at my doctor’s office. This company was becoming a literal pain in the butt and I hadn’t even started the injections yet (which were shots in the butt cheek. Ha.)
Starting the Shots
They delivered the vials to my doctor’s office the following week, while I was 16 weeks and 5 days, and I went to the doctor’s office for my first injection. Not a big deal. One shot in the butt cheek and I was on my way and told to come back the same day (Friday) the following week and every week after. I would be able to just walk in and it wouldn’t require an appointment. Seemed easy enough.
Then my husband brought in the mail on Monday and handed me an envelope from the pharmaceutical company. It was a welcome packet for starting their medication. Sounds super exciting right? This stuff was a magical mix of medicine to help keep my baby in the safest place possible. Well here’s a huge piece of advice from my experience: don’t overlook those packets. Read every last word on them. I’m so glad I did.
Change of Plans
The welcome packet contained all the usual info. “Thank you for choosing ___.” and so on. Then the last page had a paragraph at the end about clinical trial information. This is where I learned all I needed to know about this controversial drug.
Clinical trial information revealed that those on the drug versus those on the placebo experienced increased preterm labor, exactly what I was trying to prevent, and experienced increased risks of miscarriage, premature amniotic fluid rupturing, and even still birth. Yes. You read those right. By taking this drug I was increasing my chances of not only having a baby early but unimaginably worse things.
“Absolutely not. I will not continue taking these shots.” I told my husband. He agreed. We talked through it and decided it was best to stop now before I went any further. One shot was one too many now. My husband was of sound mind and reasoning the whole time, unlike me, the hormonal and irrational one. I was ready to go crazy on these people when they told me the cost per shot… now this?
So I went into my following Friday visit but instead of getting the shot I told the receptionist to not prepare the shot, I just wanted to cancel the entire prescription. I went back to chat with a doctor and nurse, who both agreed with me and said I could make whatever decision I wanted, and signed off on the cancelation of the order (this was a big deal so that the company couldn’t have me on hook for any more orders).
Praying Through It
And just like that I stopped the medicine that I thought that I needed. I went home feeling more at peace about the decision knowing that I handed it over to the Great Physician, who ultimately knows when this baby will be delivered anyways.
This post is incredibly long and I think you deserve a medal for making it this far. But if you’ve read nothing else on this page, read this: God is in control. God knows the beginning and the end. God will handle everything, if only we let Him.
In this case, I chose to hand over the pregnancy to God and let Him be in control of not only forming my sweet baby, but also the delivery. As my baby is growing in my womb, I cannot help but feel the hand of God working in my life. How can anyone witness pregnancy and babies being born and not know there is a God?
I would love for you to pray with me that baby girl will stay right where she’s at until it’s time for her arrival. But I know when that time does come it will be by God’s doing and I’ll be ready for it.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
*Little side note: I purposely left out the pharmacy company’s name. If you’re a momma with preterm labor history and this story resonates with you, please message me and I’d be happy to share more details with you personally.
Read the previous Bumpdate Posts…
[Part 1] Bumpdate: 22 Weeks
[Part 2] Bumpdate: The Choice to Undergo Genetic Testing