I’ll be the first to tell you, I’m the biggest pansy in the bunch when it comes to injections. I can actually point to the two events in my childhood that caused my needle anxiety, but I won’t bore you with those details.
I can, in an emergency situation, give myself a subcutaneous injection. It requires a stern talking to and a healthy dose of reminding myself exactly why I’m giving myself these injections. Then there’s usually a false start or two and I end up sticking the needle in waaay too slow. Then, I have to just sit and wait for my blood pressure to come back down.
IM injections require a particular ritual (when we do them at home. I do manage, somehow, to put on my big girl panties when I have to get a shot in a doctor’s office). First, I ice the spot until the ice pack no longer feels cold against my skin. Then, I “assume the position” and close my eyes. This is when I usually remind Shannon that “red means no, green means no” to make sure he switched to the small gauge needle. Then, I start to imagine one of my favorite places in minute detail and work on slow inhales/slow exhales until Shannon tells me it’s ok to move again. We did this for all of the FETS and IVFs until this last one.
One consistent problem I’d had with PIO shots was that the injection sites would, after about two weeks, start to be itchy. But, it wasn’t an itchy like it was irritated from the shots or from the medication (I even switched from peanut to sesame to ethyl oleate to make sure). It was a deeper itch, almost a tingling sensation like the area was numb and just starting to regain feeling, which I guess it was since I froze it every night like a popsicle. I started to wonder if the daily freezing was causing problems which made me wonder if I could get through the shots without freezing and with my sanity intact.
So, this time when we got to the PIO, that first night I took a deep breath, held on to the edge of the table I lean against for dear life, and tried to find my happy place and keep that muscle relaxed all while anticipating some excrutiating pain. I was stunned when Shannon told me he was done and I could move. I hadn’t felt a thing. As long as your “nurse” keeps the needle straight and does the stick without any hesitation, there really isn’t any more than a tiny prick. Now, there were some nights when for whatever reason….I wiggled or Shannon wiggled or the planets weren’t lined up right…that I was definitely aware of the needle, but nothing I couldn’t tolerate. After each injection, Shannon massaged the spot for a few seconds, I’d walk around for a couple of minutes and that would be it.
I still can’t watch as he preps the needle. I still feel my heart rate pick up as time for the shot gets close, but I did PIO from just before transfer all the way to 12 weeks and didn’t ice once. I didn’t have the itching that I’d had before. I had almost no lumps and the ones that did form usually disappeared within a day or two. I didn’t even have any real soreness until the last two weeks.
If you are doing PIO and icing and heating, and you find that you are getting lumps or itching at the injections sites, I’d highly recommend trying it without the ice and heat. They are great security blankets and I know how intimidating that ginormous needle is, but it was a noticeable difference for me when I made that switch. Just remember to find your happy place! It’s still an injection every night and it still sucks ass, but for me, it only sucked ass for the time it took to get the shot and the other 23 hours and 58 minutes of the day, I didn’t have the constant reminders of it. Of course, your mileage may vary! 😉