When you tell people you are doing IVF I think they under estimate what the process actually entails.
Many people think its as easy as taking an egg out, mixing it in a petri-dish with some of your partners juices then firing it back into the oven.
If like me, you are a IVF connoisseur, you will know that is not the case. As much I we wish it was.
IVF is all about the jabs. Well…and the raging mood swings, heartache and suppository pushing, but the jabs are definitely a huge part.
Although we aren’t all trained as medical professionals, after doing two cycles I like to think of myself as an injection wizard.
During our first round of IVF, when everything was fresh, scary and we didn’t really know what was what I was absolutely terrified at the idea of shooting up and pumping all kinds of hormones into my body. Weirdly now it has become second nature.
In fact most mornings, I set an alarm, set up my needles and inject with one eye closed. Maybe I will add that to my party trick list.
Anyway, this is me, sharing some tips and tricks and just a bit of helpful info I wish I had when we first started. Its daunting enough without having to trawl the internet looking for answers to questions you don’t know how to word.
Through my first cycle – I strangled the cat most days whilst my husband pinned me down and injected me. Ok, that’s a slight exaggeration but it was a very dramatic performance for the first few days. When I first saw the needles my heart skipped a beat. I’ve always hated needles.
The injection tutorial at the clinic is a bit of a blur. Its a lot to take in and when I went for mine I ended up snapping the needle after I fired it like a dart at the prosthetic stomach pad they give you to practice on. Not a good start.
But honestly, its not that bad. Think of it as a positive step and a jab of goodness that is hopefully going to lead you a step closer to your little bundle of joy.
My advice for newbie needle handlers:
- Do not over analyse the needles. Don’t start un-boxing them. Comparing the width to other injections, just don’t even look. This was my first, and worst mistake. One looked like it could tranquillise an elephant and one looked like it was so small it wouldn’t make a hole. You can guess which one I was terrified of every morning. Don’t look and then you don’t expect the worst.
- Set your injection time. They have to be taken within the same hour every single day. We went for 8.30am. On a weekend we wake up, jab and then go back to sleep. It fits in well with our work routine too. Inject, brew in bed then off to work. Don’t pick a time that is going to be stressful. Give yourself time. I need a good 15 mins to get in the zone, fill up the needles, get comfy and inject. you don’t want to be doing this if your late for work, on a school run, due a dog walk. Do everything you can to keep your life stress free.
- Go slowly. When you get the needle in, plunge slow. The quicker and harder you push, that is where the discomfort is. It doesn’t hurt. I’m a wuss, I would say. Its just uncomfortable. I find the slower I go, the better it is. Dont be alarmed if it stings either. This is completely normal. The redness foes down after an hour or so.
- Don’t faff with ice. Its a myth. Let me tell you. I have tried with and without ice. It makes absolutely no difference.
- Stick to a smile line. Inject in a smile line underneath your belly button. If anything you will get a nice line of dotted bruises that will smile back at you in the mirror and remind you what a great job you are doing.
- Do it yourself. I love my husband injecting for me. I feel like hes involved, he feels like hes involved and its just easier to lie back and think of England. However, I’m constantly shouting ‘Not yet, not yet’ or ‘SLOWER’ – which I imagine for him is pretty annoying. Plus, cycle two he taught me how to do it myself as he had to work away for a few days. It feels much better when you’re in control. You can gauge the pressure yourself, you don’t pinch too hard and the satisfaction of doing it is really bizarre. I felt in control of my fertility, for once. Try it.
So there you have it. Remember I am not a professional nurse, or any kind of medical professional but I did spent one too many hours on the internet looking for reassuring articles about IVF injections and ended up winging it like the best of us.
Lots of Love