** I kept a sort of journal during out treatment. This post includes discussions about fertility treatment, injections and IVF. If you think you may find any of this upsetting, please don’t read on:-) **
The IVF journey starts long before the first injection – first of course, there’s the months or maybe years of agonising over why your body isn’t doing what it’s supposed to do. Then come the tests – some minor, blood tests, scans – some major, painful and upsetting. After that there’s the wait….
I’m condensing all of that into a few lines because frankly I doubt that you want to hear about it any more than I wanted to live through it! Although it felt like it lasted a lifetime, for me the tests, surgeries and waiting took around two years – but it’s different for everyone.
After all that time, you’re eventually faced with the prospect of your first injection.
You have a teaching session with a nurse but as with most things in life – nothing quite prepares you for the first time! Certainly nothing prepared me for my first time. Get comfy folks…this was an interesting day!
As fate would have it, my first injection was scheduled to take place while I was away from home, room sharing in York with some of the great and the good of the vintage scene.
As I packed my bags for a very glamorous weekend of fashion shows at the Festival of Vintage, I considered what would be the best way of transporting the injection equipment. I’d been given a bag of syringes, Buserilin, a sharps box and 2 sizes of needles – enough to last for the full IVF cycle, but I didn’t want to take it all with me. What if I lost the bag, what if I lost my suitcase, what if it was stolen, what if the medication was confiscated by a security guard, the police, some aliens!!? I decided to take what I needed for 1 injection plus a spare set…just incase.
Oh how clever I felt 🙂 Look at me, I’m so sensible and wise and well organised. I have this whole process completely under control.
Well I didn’t. Happily one of the ladies on our weekend was a nurse who offered to help me with my first injection if I got a bit scared. Scared?? Pah! I thought – I’m not scared, I’m excited! I’ve got this injection malarky in the bag! You have to take your injections at the same time each night and Phill and I felt that 9pm was a sensible time. So as I’d therefore be giving myself my first injection while we were out for dinner, my private nurse suggested we take a look at my kit and work out the best way to transport it all around in an evening bag.
Sharps Box? – check
Buserilin? – check
Super thick drawing out needle (this pulls the medicine into the syringe)? – check
Finer injection needle (that you actually stick in your thigh or tummy)? – check
I had been so focused on the super scary needles and the super important Buserilin that I’d completely forgotten to pack the syringes, super crucial for the purposes of administering injections!!
I cried. I felt like such a failure. How could I expect the treatment to work if I couldn’t even manage this? If I didn’t take my first injection that day, I’d have to wait at least another month. That might not seem like a long time but it was, right then and there, another month would feel like an eternity for us. I had to find a syringe.
Now being as I was hundreds of miles away from home, I wasn’t sure where to find a syringe. Actually syringes aren’t something I have much call for at home either so I don’t think I’d have faired any better in Lancashire! It was already almost 8 o’clock, raining and I had zero mobile coverage and internet connection. The situation was desperate.
Three people helped me to locate what I needed: Lois the lady working on reception, who rang every pharmacy she could find on the internet until we eventually rang the non-emergency 101 number for advice; Hannah the lady on the line at 101 who revealed to me that she too was one of the 1 in 8 of us that can’t become pregnant without assistance and vowed to help me; and Paul who was found by Hannah, the only pharmacist in York who was open, would be staying open until 11pm and was happy for me to buy just one syringe from him.
So off we went to dinner, content in the knowledge that we had plenty of time to get my syringe and stab me with needles. Yes that sounds dramatic, but we all get dramatic after a few glasses of fizz don’t we – call it dutch courage!
After an beautiful meal, we headed out to look for the pharmacy.
Picture this – it’s 10pm in York, groups of tourists and party goers are stepping in and out of fancy bars and I’m teetering along The Shambles through the puddles, wearing vintage heels and red lippy, with a group of fabulous ladies – all but two I’d met just that day and they’re all abandoning their night to look for this pharmacy, which at one point I think we were all convinced didn’t even exist. I was feeling very guilty for dragging them into the drama of my first time – but those beautiful women weren’t having any of it. We became a pride of lionesses, all hell bent on the same thing – getting this blooming’ syringe and starting the process that we all hoped would be worth the hassle!
When we got to the pharmacy, Paul allowed to me use their consultation room (much more sanitary than a pub loo which was what we’d had in mind) and to my luck, my lovely personal Nurse was by my side when I completely bottled it and just couldn’t bring myself to stick that needle in my leg!
I’d hoped (as most women do) that my first time would be relaxed, in the comfort of my own bedroom, with the man I love….it was not! But happily it was completely pain free, in pristine conditions and administered by a trained professional with the most calming, soothing words of support 🙂
I remember saying that night that if this IVF cycle worked, it would be in no small part thanks to Lois, Hannah, Paul and of course, my lovely Nurse 🙂
The next injection was at home, without stress or drama, but with lots of squealing and shouting of ‘no, no, no, I can’t do it, I don’t want to do it’ AND it hurt much more without a nurse and Prosecco!
PS . Just incase you hadn’t heard – our IVF cycle was a success and we’re now nearly 11 weeks pregnant 😊