Pills, Pricks and Plungers

We’re now in our ninth month of fertility treatments, 23 months of trying to have another kid.

It’s absolutely fascinating the amount of pills you have to take, and the different types of the same pill you might have to take. There are at least three different type of progesterone that a woman can take. Some look like pink gumballs and some look like egg-shaped gel capsules. Some look like plain old birth control pills. Then you have your estrogen pills, and your clomifene pills, and your letrozole pills, and your asprin pills …

We’ve moved passed just pill poppin’ to pills and pricks. By pricks I mean nightly injections of a medication called Menopur, which is a medication that contains follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). I’m about to start my third cycle of Menopur injections so I feel I know a thing or two about nonvisually sticking a needle subcutaneously into my body.

I promised I’d write a post on nonvisual ways to give oneself an injection. I thought about this and realized that I am not a certified nurse practitioner and I probably ought not to describe a step-by-step guide on how to poke yourself. But, I will give you some tips to make it easier—if and only if you check with a nurse first on how to give yourself and injection.

First, I practiced a lot. I would prepare the proper dosage of Menopur and mix it according to instructions inside a syringe. Then, I had my husband check it for accuracy. I wanted to ensure that I was injecting myself with the right amount of medication—after all, I didn’t want to give myself a lower dosage and perhaps prevent myself from growing the right sized follicle.

One of the easiest adaptations I have to do to properly draw up the right amount of medication is use something that is the precise length of the plunger when it is drawn to the specified dosage. So, I took 2 old credit cards and cut them to 0.6 ML and 1 ML. I place the cards against the plunger and gently pull back. Once the plunger is the length of the card, I know I have the proper dosage. Vwala!

I strongly encourage blind parents to use this trick when trying to give their children the proper dosage of medication. I use to score the plunger but different meds call for different doses and I could never remember if this syringe was for 0.5 ML dosages or 0.8 ML dosages. So cut sturdy cards to the appropriate length and then label them so you know what length is what.

About day 7 of my cycle, I usually mix up a batch of Menopur and inject myself with a needle next to my belly button. I bruise sometimes. Other times I do not. Personally, the prick is the least painful of the entire experience. It’s pressing the plunger down that gives me the willies. I’ve got to admit though I rather be pressing that plunger of liquid into myself over having someone else do it for me. Some women have their partners do it for them. Frankly, Joe, I love you … but I think you would deliberate over just the right way to inject the needle and it would drive me nuts.

After several days of injections, and after several ultrasounds to check on the growth of my follicles, and after it has been determined that those follicles are just the right size, I get to inject the mother of all injections into my belly. The HCG shot! This is the shot that releases the egg.

This shot is really painful for me. I don’t know if it is because it is a larger amount of liquid or what. Same mixing process. Same needles. Same everything except the amount I inject. I usually get a big bruise and the waistband of my pants make the next few days uncomfortable.

Between the pills, pricks and plungers, I feel a bit like a drugged up pincushion at times. Hopefully though, all this hard work will pay off and Erik will have a brother or sister someday.

If you would like to read more about the different fertility drugs I mentioned above, read here.

Signing off for now,
Bay area Blind Mom

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