Our first son, Max, decided to arrive in the world early at 31 weeks 6 days (the neonatologists are pretty specific about this). We spent an emotionally draining but relatively “easy” month in the NICU before we could bring him home.


Now he’s 3 years old and his growth chart looks like the stock market during the dot-com boom.

When we got pregnant with our second baby, doctors started talking to me about progesterone injections to help prevent pre-term labor. My doctor told me the shots provide a 70% risk reduction for women who had pre-term labor before 34 weeks.

The shots would be weekly starting around 16 weeks and end at 36 weeks. The doctors and the literature said they could be painful, uncomfortable and expensive.

As someone known to faint while getting shots, I was nervous and unsure if it was worth the downsides. My husband, James, and I weighed the pros and cons. I researched progesterone alternatives (suppositories, pills, etc.) and started looking online for other moms who might have made the choice to get these shots so I could understand their experience. Unfortunately, besides internet discussion forums that seemed only to share extreme and emotional opinions, I didn’t find much.

After a ton of research, we decided to do the shots.

I learned that the company that makes the progesterone injection offers co-pay assistance. Our financial cost wouldn’t be zero, but it would be a small price to pay if we could try to avoid being in the NICU again.

At the time of writing, I’m two days past due and our baby girl is still inside and kickin’ (literally)! So even though the doctors can’t say for certain if the shots contributed to having a normal length pregnancy, I can now stand back and look at three big lessons I’m taking away:

1. You gotta do what you gotta do

Moms are incredible at multitasking. This has been written about on every mom blog out there. We’re always seeking balance between home, work, friends, “me time”, family, etc. When something unexpected comes our way, we tend to say “just add it to the list,” and it gets done. There might be some stress, some complaining, but we do it.

So the shots were going to hurt. They might be expensive (depending on our insurance and what type of co-pay assistance we could get). They might not even work! But if they did, then James and I would have peace of mind that we were doing what we could to help our baby; plus, we’d save emotional and financial resources from being in the NICU again.

So honey, my pants are down, my tush is bare, let’s do this.

2. You develop a new type of closeness with your partner

I had two options for getting the shot: go into the doctor’s office each week to have the nurse administer it or have my husband or another relative do it. My husband is not a medical professional. It made me nervous to think about him giving me a shot. That must have rubbed off on him, because he was nervous too. But after a few weeks of going to the doctor’s office, James said he could learn.

So he went with me to watch the nurse administer it and the next week she coached him through it. The first few times he did it at home, it wasn’t pleasant. Let’s just say he hadn’t quite refined his technique, which made everything a little stressful. He felt bad for hurting me, and I felt bad that he felt bad. But then he got better and we laughed our way through it because he made up limericks and rhymes that made me laugh and took my mind off it for the split second it took to administer (i.e. “I stick my cutie in the booty because it’s my duty”).

After a few weeks he was almost better than the nurses and I turned to him one night—my high school sweetheart and husband of eight years—and said, “This is something completely new for us!” These shots, a second baby, a normal pregnancy—it was all new for us.

They brought up new questions, new stressors, newfound humor and newfound appreciation for each other.

3. #Treatyoself

After my first shot, I went to the store and bought a new shirt. That wasn’t necessary for all 20 weeks, but I did want to have something positive to balance out the shot. James started bringing home truffles from a local chocolatier each week. One week I got myself a slice of cheesecake because, why not? #pregnancycravings #treatyoself. After the last shot we played Hamilton’s ‘My Shot’ and shared chocolate covered strawberries.

If you’re going to roll up your sleeves, or in this case, pull down your pants, then you might as well indulge a little each week, too.

I can’t speak for everyone—we each have to make the decision that works best for ourselves— but I do hope I shed some light for other mom’s considering a progesterone injection.

Courtney Barker

British mom Courtney Barker is sharing the story of how her son, 7-month-old Arthur contracted COVID-19 in the hopes of preventing other families from going through what hers is. Thankfully, little Arthur is now feeling better, but last week he was rushed to the hospital.

His mama recalled the experience in a now-viral Facebook post that is attracting worldwide attention.

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