My nurse, Dori, sat across from me. She was showing us how to administer all my shots during the stimulation phase of IVF. My Mom was sitting to the right of me. My heart was beating fast and I was trying so hard to pay attention to all the details: the medications, the needles, and how exactly to administer each shot. It was incredibly overwhelming and to be honest, I couldn’t even focus. There was so much important information to take note of. For those of you who have walked the agonizing path of infertility and have chosen IVF then you understand that it is quite the undertaking: daily doctors appointments, raging hormones, lots of medicine, and shots…it is an emotional roller coaster. You truly just have to take it one day at a time.
After Dori taught us how to administer the shots, we picked up all of the medications at the pharmacy downstairs. O M G. Thankfully Ryan and I were approved for 75% off our medications, so our drugs only ended up costing us about $1,500. This was such an answer to prayer because our insurance covered nothing and we knew that sometimes you can pay upto $8,000 in meds alone. Wow. I was also extremely fortunate and incredibly blessed by someone who I can now call my dear friend. She reads my blogs and we have formed a friendship through our similar journeys. Knowing that you are not alone in this walk can be immensely helpful as you face the day to day emotions of an empty womb. My friend contacted me weeks before my retrieval and said she had some left over medication from her IVF stimulation that she would like to send me. I was so moved by this generous gift. I hadn’t even met this woman and she wanted to help me. God continually revealed Himself and His heart to me in moments just like this. She sent us about $600 worth of medication. Ryan and I were so touched by her giving heart. Mom and I went home with my bag full of medications, needles, and alcohol swabs. I was so glad she was there with me that day.
I started the injections the very next day. We were at my parents house that night and it worked out perfectly because Mom needed to teach Ryan how to give me the shots.
“Dad, we are going to go shoot up, want to watch?” I said trying to make light of it all.
I knew he wouldn’t. I am his little girl. So, Mom, Ryan, and I went into the bathroom and began the process. Mom was explaining to Ryan all the specifics of each each medication and how to inject it. I wish I could say I was helpful, but my mind drew a blank when it came to remembering what Dori said how about my drugs, each needle, and how exactly to administer it. Like I said, Thank God for my Mom.
We were in my parents bathroom. The lights were bright and we read and reread the instructions like three times to make sure we were doing it right. We still managed to waste some medicine. I remember thinking “there went a couple hundred dollars,” as Ry accidentally shot the menopur out of the syringe. Whoops. It’s all a learning experience anyways. Ryan was so loving. I married an amazing man who God has equipped to even give me daily shots to help us get pregnant.
I was standing leaning up against the bathroom countertop wearing sweats and a comfy blue top. I pinched some skin on my right lower abdomen and Ryan gave me my shot. He was so gentle and practically a pro. He gave me two shots that night. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. However, as the days passed where the daily injections continued my stomach started to bruise and that’s when the shots became more and more uncomfortable.
That night it took us about 45 minutes to administer the shots. As I said, it was a learning experience. After my second shot that night, Mom and Ry were so overjoyed.
“You did it!!” I was proud too that I made it through day one.
My dad snuck up from around the corner.
“You know what everyone gets after they have a shot,” he said.
He handed me a small plastic ring with a pumpkin on it that a child would get out of one of those toy machines. “Good job honey.” I know it sounds so silly, but this meant so much to me. My Dad is a man of few words when it comes to our fertility process. It has been hard for him to see the agony and tears infertility has brought us time and time again. But that night, my heart was full, as I put that ring on my finger and gave my Dad the biggest hug ever.
The shots were a lot to take in. The blue and purple bruising was also on my arms from the daily blood work I was having. My hormones were definitely raging and I was EMOTIONAL.
My shots had to be administered at certain times during the day. So, when Ryan’s birthday happened to fall smack in the middle of the stimulation phase, we knew that even though we were meeting his sister and her husband for dinner we would still need to administer the shot. So, we packed a lunchbox with an ice pack to keep the meds at a cool temperature and headed to dinner. Ry and I were about 10 minutes early and had time to give the injection before we headed inside. There we were, in the middle the parking lot right outside our favorite mexican restaurant trying to find decent lighting in order to make sure we were doing it right. It is kind of funny when I think about it now. After my shots that night, I suddenly found myself in the midst of an emotional breakdown. I can’t tell you why, I just did. I was overwhelmed with a lot of aspects of this walk. And I kept thinking “Did we really just shoot up in the middle of this dark parking lot.” My precious Ryan was so loving and patient with me. Ryan’s sister and her husband pulled up in the middle of my meltdown. Immediately, they held Ryan and I close in their arms and prayed over us. God has used so many people to pour love over my heart and in the moment I felt so loved as they embraced us in their arms.
Two nights before my egg retrieval I had to have a shot in my butt. We called it the butt shot. My mom and my sister came with me to my appointment that morning. I had an ultrasound to see all the eggs I was producing. The stimulation phase was intense and my body was responding pretty well to the medication. I had LOTS and LOTS of eggs and was definitely feeling the bloat from all of them growing. It was amazing to see them in the ultrasound.
“Those are all my future Grandbabies,” my Mom said. She can’t wait to be a Grandma. I couldn’t help but smile at the sound of this.
After the ultrasound, we went into a tiny office room with the doctor to discuss “the butt shot” as we called it, the egg retrieval, and the recovery. Talk about an overload. Once again, Thank God Mom and Deanna were there because they asked questions I wouldn’t have even thought of. Our nurse came in to discuss how to administer the butt shot, as well as another injection I had to take. She pulled the needle out. Immediately tears welted in my eyes. “That is much longer than the needles we have been using.” I said.
I began to feel anxious. Deep breathe in.
The nurse was speaking directly to my Mom, as I would not be able to give myself my own butt shot, obviously. “You are going to want to pinch part of the bum and just jab the needle in…don’t take your time.”
Another deep breathe in.
Our nurse drew bulls eyes in permanent marker on my butt so Ryan and Mom would know specifically where to do the injection. There were some specifics with this shot that you had to pay close attention to; like, don’t hit a vein. That specific instruction in itself made me nervous. We went home and later that night at midnight we had to administer the injection. Mom and Deanna came over to show Ryan how to do to it.
I was leaning over our kitchen counter. I had a pillow in my arms and was squeezing it tightly. I was so nervous. Mom was trying to explain to Ryan how to do this shot. It was a little more complex and seemed like it was going to hurt more than the others.
Ry held the needle in his hand. He was asking a lot of questions to make sure he knew what he was doing. “How I am supposed to know if I hit a vein?” Good question. “So I just go fast? I don’t want to hurt her. I don’t think I can do this,” Ry said.
We all paused. “It’s okay sweetie, I can do it.” My mom said.
I felt like it was a brave moment for her. I knew Ryan’s heart and how much he wanted to be able to help, but this was hard for him too and I understood. So my Mom grabbed the needle and gave me my butt shot. It felt like it took forever to get the medicine injected, but I couldn’t even really tell that there was a needle in my bum. That was one of my proud moments of my shot journey!!!
I was proud of all of us that night and that we endured the stimulation phase together. I was so thankful for the love and support we had through each shot and each tear. I am so fortunate. God has literally showed me HOPE in the midst of my darkest moments. He has revealed His love and what it means to come together as His children. I was so proud of myself and so thankful for the strength He gave me to endure the injections and conquer the stimulation phase.