I got the go ahead to start my stimulation injections on the evening of 23rd August 2012. I decided between 8pm and 9pm would be the best time of evening for me to do this. Although the nurse had given me instructions on the use of the Puregon injection pen, I was still a bit nervous. I also made the decision to give myself the injections. I know sometimes husbands and partners step in to help but I felt more comfortable with doing this myself. The Puregon medicine had to be removed from the fridge for 5 minutes before use. I assembled everything I needed on my bed, medicine, pen, alcohol swabs, sharps bucket, needle tips and the all- important instruction booklet which I read through before starting. As this was my first injection, I had to assemble the pen and insert the cartridge of medicine into it. The instructions were clear and everything clicked into place. I had to swab the chosen area on my belly and let that dry for a minute. Then I had to swab the end of the pen where the needle would attach. The disposable needle tips were concealed in plastic outer casing which clipped and were screwed on to the pen and then the outer plastic was pulled off and discarded. The instruction booklet gave steps to ‘prime’ the pen. It was to be held with the needle facing up and the pen tapped gently in the cartridge area to make any air bubbles rise to the top. A drop of medicine may appear at the needle tip, if not, the dosage dial was to be rotated for one click and the top of the pen pressed in to make a drop appear and the dose counter return to 0. I got a bit confused with this and may have slightly underdosed myself on the first night as my dose counter did not quite go back to 0. I got the hang of it on the second night and by the third I did not even need to do this as tapping the pen alone made the drop appear.
To set my dosage I had to rotate the top end of the pen in incremental clicks until I reached 150, the top of the pen came out a little more each time as the number went higher. With the dose set, I was ready to go. My husband stayed with me for the first injection and he looked more anxious than I would say I did. I put the needle straight towards my belly where I had pinched together some skin and pushed it gently and it simply slipped in. I pressed down the top of the pen with my thumb and heard the click click as the dosage dial moved back towards 0 and the dose went in. It did not hurt at all, just a minor pinching sensation. On the nurse’s advice I pressed in the medicine slowly and held the needle in for about 10 seconds afterwards before removing it. I pressed down on the injection site with an alcohol swab. I unscrewed the needle tip and disposed of it in the sharps container. I returned the pen, now loaded with its medicine cartridge, into the pen container and returned it to the fridge as instructed.
Oddly I was more nervous giving myself the second dose the following night. I left my husband to his own devices. This time I did not have to assemble the pen as it was pre-loaded with the medication but I did have to attach a new needle tip which was simple. I chose the opposite side of my navel this time, as it is advised to vary the injection site and not inject the exact same spot twice. I was perhaps a little too enthusiastic with this injection and pushed it in a bit too hard, the needle tips are only about half an inch and can only go in so far. As a result I gave myself a tiny bruise.
The next couple of injections I took my time with and was more gentle and no further bruising happened. I do my 5th injection tonight.
There were no particular side effects for the first couple of days. I continued to get occasional hot flushes from the buserelin. I did, however, start to feel more emotional after a couple of days and was beset by worries and fears:
Is this medication going to the right place- am I doing it right?
Would my follicles grow?
Would my egg quality be ok in view of my age?
Would my husband have any sperm on the day of egg collection?
Would I be ok at the egg collection/egg transfer procedures?
Will I be able to do the trigger shot?
How will I manage with work?
How will I react at baby announcements during this time and after?
How will we cope if it fails, especially as my husband seems to have a lot more confidence in it all than me?
I got quite tearful at one stage and cried all over my husband.
From the comments of others on Twitter, it seems as if these are common enough emotions to feel. They come and go.
My libido has gone out the window a bit too. The nurse said although there was no ban on sexual activity, I may not feel like it as stimulation goes on as I may be uncomfortable and possibly a bit swollen in the ovary area.
I am now also feeling some twinges in the ovary area although I am not sure if that is my imagination. I have the same amount of bloating at the moment as before.
Today I started my day by listening to two different relaxations specially for IVF and I feel calmer and more positive now. I am going to try and listen to these more often. The calmer I can be, the better I will feel.
Diet wise, I am taking a gamble and keeping on all my usual vitamin and mineral supplements, plus Royal Jelly. I am also trying to drink 2 protein shakes a day, one in a combination of berry smoothie and pineapple juice (not from concentrate) and the other in milk. I got Solgar Whey to Go, one in vanilla flavour (for the juice) and one in strawberry flavour (for the milk). Trying to eat protein as well, eggs, chicken, beans, chickpeas etc and lots of vegetables. I am including nuts and seeds too, particularly almonds and brazil nuts. Drinking as much water as I can too and also eating avocados for their good Omega 3s. I won’t lose any weight on this regime, that’s for sure!
My first Stimulation phase scan is scheduled for Wednesday 29th August, day 7. I am hoping that the scan and blood test I will have that day will show that the medication is working and that follicles are growing. All going well, there will be several follow up scans as often as the clinic think necessary until a date for egg collection is determined. I so hope I get that far!