If I had to name one thing about the whole IVF process that I was most nervous about, most fearful of, and most reluctant to do it would hands down be the shots, specifically the Progesterone in Oil shots. I have never been a shot person. I am ashamed to admit that I never used to give blood because of my fear of needles and avoided the flu shot and any other needles at all costs. So, in preparation for taking the evil shots I tried to find every tip or hint I could to help make it bearable.
You can find a lot of strange and odd things that people tell you will help make taking the shots less painful. Most of the really off-the-wall ones we didn’t try. We did try some that you hear most often – heat the oil first by putting it under your arm or in your bra, ice the area where you are going to give the shot first, apply heat after you give the shot and after you massage the area to disperse the oil, and always have your partner give you the shot. My husband did give me all shots, even the ones prior to PIO that are supposedly easy to self-administer. Nevertheless, by about a week in I had stopped all of the other tips and tricks. I knew I was officially over my fear of needles when my husband and I found ourselves in the backseat of our car in the parking lot of the restaurant we were going to for dinner hurriedly giving the shot in the buttocks and hoping nobody saw what we were up to.
Not only did it become so routine that I barely flinched when the needle went in, but I actually begged to stay on PIO. My doctor switched me to suppositories (Crinone) at about 7 weeks and I was scared to death to stop what, up to that point, had been working. After finding out if continuing to take PIO would have any ill effects, I even refilled as much of my order as possible and got enough of the PIO shots to last a week beyond when I was switched to the Crinone. I don’t know why I was so fearful, my progesterone was regularly being checked and with twins it was through the roof, but by that point I was very used to the shots, the bruises, and the knots and I welcomed them as proof that I was actually doing something to try to maintain my pregnancy.
I got pretty nonchalant about the whole shot process, but I did find one thing that really worked well for me by helping to dampen the pain. Whereas with other medications like Lupron and Bravelle, it was less painful to pinch the area that would endure the injection I found that with progesterone having my husband get the area as taut as possible really helped. He would find the right spot and then spread the skin tight, really taking the sting out of the injection. If you are searching for a way to make the shots just a little more bearable, and maybe even eventually routine, go ahead and try it!