Reading IF blogs and living in a virtual world where everyone is shooting up something (some of you brave ladies four or five times a day) normalizes it, to the point where even I, the biggest needle wimp in the universe, was thinking, "It's just one little needle, what's the big deal?" And it's a good thing, too--if we weren't able to make it all seem normal and acceptable, how would we ever get through the day? REs, too, and their nurses, are so used to the various processes of fertility treatment that they see self-injection as no big deal, and communicate as much to us, the patients.
But I have to say that there is nothing normal about jabbing a needle into your own soft flesh every day before bed. And as much as the rational part of my mind tries to be cool with it, my needle-phobic id is screaming bloody murder.
Again, I am probably the biggest needle wimp you will ever encounter. When I have blood drawn--hell, even when I get a flu shot--I have to look away, close my eyes, and practice deep breathing exercises to get through it. Saturday, when I was having blood drawn for my CD3 bloodwork, I winced as the needle went into my arm, and the phlebotomist fell all over herself apologizing. I had to tell her that actually, she did a lovely job (and she did--not a mark on me), but that I am such a colossal baby that even the tiniest pinch makes me cringe.
So I was a little apprehensive about doing my very first Follistim injection Saturday night, but I tried to bluff my way through it with a lot of knowledge (obsessively rereading the patient insert) and a little denial. Piece of cake, I told myself. Diabetics do this all the time! I said. I can be just as tough as those other women, I insisted.
But I noticed my hands were trembling a little as I prepared the pen, swabbed a swath of my belly, and dialed up the dosage. Just take it slow, I told myself. Everyone says you barely even feel it going in.
Well, when the tip of the needle hit my skin, I felt that motherfucker. And some primitive reflex caused my hand to jerk back, pulling the needle out. So I had to go in again, plunging it all the way in as directed, pressing down the incredibly slow plunger. I think in my panic I was squeezing my flesh a little too hard, because when I finally slid the needle out, a little bead of medication formed on the surface of my skin, tinged with blood.
When it was done, I felt like crying. Not because it hurt that much--really, it was just a pinch--but because I felt like such a loser for having so much trouble with it. It really wasn't so hard or painful, so why couldn't I just suck it up like the thousands of other women doing the same thing? And how would I get through the next 9 (at least) days?
I am happy to report that my second injection, last night, went much better. I iced the area beforehand, which helped. And it also helped that my husband was watching me do it. When I showed him the needle, at first he said, "Oh, that's nothing." I think he was trying to make me feel better. Wanting to be brave in front of him, I gritted my teeth and shoved it in--no poke-and-hunt this time. When I was finished, he said, "Wow. I can't believe you did that. I could never have done that."
I would never have thought I could do it, either. But I did.