I always prided myself on living relatively cleanly. Sure, my lifetime wine and beer consumption will show I’m no saint, but heck, I’ve always stayed away from things that were really bad, like illicit drugs, cigarettes and the Kardashians.
So it’s weird that I’m about to go to the hospital to get myself dosed up on steroids.
There’s a good reason for this. At 30 weeks pregnant, my doctor says we’re heading into the danger zone for early delivery. These little blighters are gaining size and weight: “Righty” is currently looking a little small, but “Lefty” seems to be turning into a bruiser. (Aussie slang for a big, burly kid who will likely steal your lunch money.) And apparently one’s uterus can only take so much.
The goal, my doctor says, is to reach 34 weeks. By that time, the babies will have developed enough that they would face roughly the same health outcomes as a full term baby. Which means, for the next four weeks, we’re not so much on a highway to the danger zone, but on a meandering side road that could lead in the same direction.
Thus, the ‘roids. If we take ’em now, it will speed up the development of the babies’ lungs. Should we deliver early, they’ll be beside the eight-ball instead of stuck behind it.
But the idea is really strange! Somewhere in the back of my mind, a 1990s after-school special is warning me of the dangers of ‘roid rage. It’s all bad perms (on the boys), flannel shirts (on the girls) and sober looks of disappointment from the well-meaning gym coach.
Yes, I know that’s ridiculous. Corticosteroids (the type that are given in this situation) are an important and valuable health tool. My doctor says there’s no risk to the babies—only benefits.
I actually feel pretty comfortable with the medical side of this. You do what you can, guided by the best advice you can find, don’t you? Yep, I just need to get over the oddness instilled in me by a generation of “Just Say No” ads and well-meaning TV movies.
And I just need to go get the shots. Which I’m going to do now. As soon as I change out of this flannel shirt.
Originally posted in April 2013.