I never thought I would be able to give myself an injection without fainting. The idea of it back at the start of this IVF journey made me feel pretty sick and panicked. At the start, after each injection, I had to go and lie down as it made me feel faint. But then the second and the third and the fourth got that bit easier and before I knew it I was popping them in all over the shop as I became a very convincing human pin cushion.
And yes I have tattoos, so in theory, maybe I should find injections easier but tattoo needles are tiddly tiny little things and someone else is responsible for them. Luckily though I’m not too bad with needles on the whole so long as I don’t look at them. I really feel for those women going through IVF with serious needle issues.
As the first round of needles were thin and short I slowly made peace with the self-administered thigh and belly injections, feeling rather proud of myself that I was doing them now with ease. But then something else was introduced…
After 10 days of injections, scans and then an ‘egg collection’ (egg collection sounds creepy I know but it’s not nearly as bad as the alternative name ‘harvesting’ 😂), I was introduced to a new enemy… the daily progesterone bum injection.
You’re lucky (sort of) that I took a picture of this beast as, in true Medusa fashion I made a strong rule never to look at it directly. The agreement with my husband was that he kept it well away from me and did it without me ever actually witnessing the size or thickness I may add of this B*stard of a needle.
Now I’ve broken that rule I feel strangely liberated.
This lovely 1.5 inch needle glimmering in the evening light ready to spike you in the bum isn’t even the worst bit. The needle is so long because it has to go deep into the muscle and the muscle seems to share my distaste at the whole affair.
The next day you start to wonder how you managed 100 1-legged squats in your sleep. One bum cheek feels like you’ve worked out harder than you’ve ever done in any fitness class yet without any of the aesthetic benefits. This muscular protest lasts for a good two days and on the second you have to sit balancing on the unaffected bum cheek to avoid some pretty decent discomfort.
But it’s not all bad – although I have found very little to help with the post-injection muscle pain, I do have a tip for the injection itself. Emla Cream. It’s a life saver for both injections and blood tests. I don’t know about you but I find blood tests really painful.
Put it on about an hour beforehand. You can use these special plasters to cover the area and keep the cream in place but they are expensive and IVF is expensive enough as it is without the adding £3 an evening for plasters.
Instead, you can work your way through a roll of clingfilm and sellotape – it does just the same job. Pair that with a hot water bottle for an hour and I swear you won’t feel that God-awful needle. Walking around straight after helps a little with the pain the next day but sadly, not much. Obviously having a laugh with your partner and the whole strangeness of the situation whilst he injects you in the bum and you hobble around the next day like a granny helps almost as much.
We’re about to embark on our second attempt of IVF and I’ll be stocking up on cream clingfilm and my sense of humour.