Before starting fertility treatment, the idea of injecting myself with a needle was completely horrifying. I can barely look at the nurse when I have to get blood drawn at annual physicals or during gynecologist appointments. I’ve always turned away when they insert the needle into my vein and only look down when the needle has been taken out. Once I realized I was actually going to go through this journey, I realized I had to suck it up and deal with it. You have it so good, I thought to myself. I am a relatively young, healthy woman with no known illnesses, diseases, or conditions that would make me a bad candidate for this. I have generous health insurance coverage that actually covers the vast majority of these costs (and sadly, am also painfully cognizant of how few people have this luxury. I’ve read in many fertility support groups that some women, even those in the medical professions, have such poor coverage that they have taken up a part-time job at Starbucks once or twice a week *just* to get fertility coverage). I have a good AMH level (that’s the test that determines whether you have diminished ovarian reserve or not. In plain speak, that means I have a good quantity of eggs remaining in my ovaries). I also have normal hormone levels across the board. I should feel lucky, I told myself. So if the worst thing I have to do is self-administer injections, I got this! So many other women do this with zero medical background, so if they can do it, so can I, right?
I watched the videos for each medication at least 5 times. I read through the illustrated instructions a few times, also going through all the potential side effects I could experience so that I was well aware of what I could feel or experience. I mentally prepared myself for this. And oddly enough, it really wasn’t so bad. The first time, the second time, the 10th time… it all became relatively normal after the first prick. Occasionally I’d bruise a little. But this was all nowhere as awful as I imagined in my head. And lucky for me (again, I am counting my blessings here), the worst side effect I’ve felt was a little bruising as well as some tiny bloating post injection.
I’d read of some pretty awful side effects, from intense nausea, massive bloating, constant headaches, vomiting, and noticeable mood swings. I was really preparing myself for the worst. A few people who posted in groups I am in said they were crying nearly every single day during their shots. Some people truly had the worst experiences of their life using these medications. I was also concerned about medication mixing, but these pharmaceutical companies have dummy proofed these pretty well to the point that pretty much anyone could self-administer these shots after reading through the instructions. They have so many checks in place to make sure you DO NOT overdose and that you do NOT mess up.
When I called with a question for a nurse on one of the injection pens and she gave me the answer, I exclaimed immediately, “Wow! These things are incredible! They really are mistake-proofed, aren’t they?!” She laughed in response. “Well, that’s the first time I’ve ever heard anyone say that about these meds, but I’m happy you feel that way!”
This isn’t so awful, I kept telling myself. This isn’t so awful. I can do this. I’m getting through this, and I’m nearly done. And this will all be worth it in the end. I just need to keep meditating, keep calm, and keep positive thoughts. I’m going to get through this, and I’m going to have the successful outcome I want. I have the grit to get through this. I am mentally and physically tough enough for this.
Pleaaaaase. Please, be true.