As of yesterday, I made it to 25 weeks into my pregnancy where my blood pressure is looking better than ever and my weight is surprisingly under 200 pounds. My results from past blood tests and urine tests have come back negative, so I feel at ease with how my body is reacting to baby #2. But my biggest challenge is to make sure I make it to a full term pregnancy. Yesterday proved that the goal of 40 weeks might become shorter.
After confirming my pregnancy at my doctor’s office back in November, we thoroughly discussed the game plan in order to prevent a premature delivery. My monthly visits will turn into bi-weekly visits once I pass 25 weeks into my pregnancy. Starting at 18 weeks, I will receive weekly hydroxyprogesterone shots, or 17p shots, which is a man-made hormone of progestin. It is used for pregnant women to help lower risks of giving birth too early (delivery before 37 weeks). I started receiving my 17p shots a month ago and it gave me relief that this is the best solution in making sure my pregnancy lasts the full 40 weeks. But yesterday proved something different.
When the sperm fertilizes the egg in your uterus, your womb goes into hibernation mode and prepares for the development of the fetus. Your cervix naturally closes and stays closed for 40 weeks, or until you start going into labor. Your doctor measures your cervical length via a transabdominal or transvaginal ultrasound where the length should be 3 cm to 5 cm long. If your length is around 2.5 cm or less, this may lead to additional tests from the doctor and high risks of an early, premature birth. My last cervix length was 3.5 cm back in December. My cervix length was 2.5 cm as of yesterday. Since I do have a history of a premature birth, my doctor asked me a few questions in hopes to understand why my cervix has shortened in 2 months. He asked me questions from my work environment to my activities at home. Then he asked me a personal question, “Are you having sex?” I proudly answered “yes” and this was his immediate response, “NO MORE SEX.”
Since becoming pregnant, my hormones have been all over the place especially in the intimacy department. I’ve never felt so powerful and animalistic during sex which has surprised my husband. I don’t want to come off as if this is “end of the world” type of news because I want my baby to develop as long as possible. I don’t want to come off as sounding selfish that I would have to be sexually abstinent. I know that there are women who are completely turned off by the idea of sex while pregnant. But who knew that a man’s semen has a natural hormone called prostaglandin that softens the cervix? Obviously my husband and I didn’t know. We thought it was healthy to have sex while pregnant. I don’t want to risk the health (and survival) of my child even if it means sacrificing my sexual needs for a bit. The doctor begged me to give him “11 weeks of no sex”. He wants me to make it to 36 weeks which will be when I receive my past 17p shot. I think he realized 11 weeks of no sex is a bit of a stretch, so he shortened my time frame to 32 weeks. If my cervix does shorten, he will have to administer a steroid that will help the baby’s lungs develop at a faster pace. I remember receiving this when I was in labor with my daughter.
Overall, I’m still in shock with the news from my doctor. Not referring to the news of no sex, but the fact that my cervix has shortened. It makes me feel like my body isn’t capable of carrying a child to full term. I can’t do anything to change it besides rely on medical attention and listen to what my doctor orders me to do. Luckily he hasn’t put me on bed rest, but I feel like it will become a solution once I enter my 3rd trimester (if ever). I’m so uncertain of myself- have you gone through this? I don’t know of many women who have had multiple premature births in their lifetime. Maybe I shouldn’t be too hard on myself and just let my body do what it has to do. Please baby #2, stay in there a bit longer…