Wednesday, June 8, 2016

My IVF Medication and Shot Experience

The day our medications finally arrived, I experienced so much excitement. We had been trying for so long to become pregnant and it finally felt like we were able to do SOMETHING to increase our chances of achieving that goal. You see, after experiencing month after month of not becoming pregnant, at some point, intercourse kind of started to seem pointless and ineffective. So, as you can imagine, we were so excited to actually be doing something a little more beneficial!
Some of our medications had to be put into the refrigerator right away, so we had to be there when the package arrived. By the way, when people say the box is rather large, they aren’t kidding.
This is me with all my medications laid out the day they arrived. It looks like a lot, which can be a bit overwhelming, but you don't start them all at once! Our clinic also provided us with a color coded calendar to help us keep track of what we should be taking each day, which was a life saver.

My mom and sisters came over that day and we spent some time checking out the medications, making sure they had all arrived, finding the ones we needed first, and thoroughly assessing the size of each needle, as that was one of my main concerns. I had spent a lot of time researching what the shots were like and how they felt since that was one of the things that I was pretty worried about.
My Medication Regime and Injection Experience:
The first day that we began our IVF round I began taking baby aspirin, an antibiotic, and birth control (which I had already been on since three days after my last period). My husband was also prescribed an antibiotic in order to ensure that we were both as healthy as possible throughout the whole process! Fortunately, I do not experience any significant side effects of “craziness” when taking birth control so I felt fine and normal on these medications.
In addition to the above listed medications, I also had to do daily injections. For these, I would squeeze my husband’s hand to death, stare at a picture of my baby niece (for inspiration!), and pray as my mom or friend administered my shots every morning. (I was not one of those people that could give them to myself. Hats off to you brave souls out there!)
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This is the Lupron injection, which was my very first injection. I had to do this one every morning until the day of egg retrieval. This injection had to be administered subcutaneously (into my belly).
The needle for my Lupron shot was pretty small. When the needle went into my belly there was a little sting, but it was not as intense as getting a shot in your arm. The medication itself did not really sting at all going in. Sometimes there was a little blood or a bruise that formed at the injection site, but overall this was the easiest of the injections.
After fifteen days of the Lupron injection, I also began taking Menopur and Gonal-f.
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This is a photo of the Menopur. Each morning these two containers had to be mixed.
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This is a photo of the Gonal-f. This the one that had to be refrigerated. It was the easiest of the injections to prepare as we just had to turn the dial to the dosage level and it was ready to go.
We were able to mix the Menopur and Gonal-f into one syringe. That way I only had to do two shots each morning rather than three. Yay for that! Like the Lupron they had to be injected subcutaneously. With this one, the liquid was a little thicker and honestly did sting going in. I believe that it was the Gonal-f that really made it sting. (Toward the end there was a day that I only had to do the Menopur and no Gonal-f and it felt similar to the Lupron). Overall, it was my least favorite of all the injections.  
After another ten days, I finally got the phone call that it was time to trigger ovulation!
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This is a photo of my trigger shot. I was prescribed Ovidrel and it also had to be injected into my stomach. Overall, it was pretty similar to the Lupron, a small sting, but nothing overly significant. Plus, it was a little easier to do as it was my last shot and it meant egg retrieval was coming!
Additional Tips and Tricks:
These are just a couple of things that helped me get through the shots each morning:

  1. We went back and forth each day on the side of my stomach to insert the injection and made sure to avoid bruised areas as much as possible.
  2. We were told that the closer the injection is to the belly button, the more you can feel it. Therefore, we tried to stay farther to the sides when possible.
  3. I liked to watch the shot go in. That way when there was a slight sting I was prepared for it and expecting it to come.
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