Monday, February 13, 2017

Becoming One with the Needle... Again

The process to prepare for the upcoming Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) has slowly begun. At this point, we're looking at about two months out (give or take), so I recently started birth control pills again (I swear, the irony of that one will be something I never get over!)... and also ordered the different medications I'll need, and those arrives the other day.

Among them is, drum roll please... (and cue music signifying "impending doom"):

The dreaded Progesterone in Oil - also known as PIO shots.


As I look ahead to having to give these injections, all I can think about and all that keeps swimming through my head is the horror stories I've heard...

In all that I've been through up until this point, for some reason, I swear the thought of these shots scares the heck out of me! I'm literally terrified...

What's so bad about them you might ask, well, let's start with the fact that they are intramuscular injections... In laymen's terms, this means a really big needle that must go through the muscle when you inject it. Yikes! Up until now, most of the shots (at least the self-administered ones) have been subcutaneous, meaning a small needle that basically just injects the medicine right below the surface of the skin into the fat, and then your body absorbs it from there. 

I've had a few intramuscular shots before when I've taken my HcG trigger shots, but the intramuscular ones were done in Dr. M's office by one of the nurses, so we've never had to give them ourselves (I say "we" because my husband is amazing and helps me with pretty much all of the shots).

The second frightened aspect is the fact that I will literally be injecting oil into myself. I don't know why, but for some reason this just seems weirdly unnatural... then again, what part of any of this process has been "natural"?

In addition, I've heard numerous stories that the shots are painful, the oil hurts when going in, the oil can be tough going in, there can be irritation or swelling/ lumps that form at the injection site, all kinds of fun stuff, ugh.

Of course, I've never been one to be afraid of needles or put off by a little pain or discomfort, and again, at this point, I'm pretty used to all that... but for some reason, these darn PIO shots are really psyching me out.

I have my consultation appointment set up for first thing tomorrow morning, where I'll go through some different consent forms and information to prepare for the upcoming transfer, and then will have a training session on exactly how to administer these shots - - so we'll see how that goes. I'm sure I'm just getting myself worked up into a tizzy about this for nothing, but for some reason these darn little shots are already taking me for a ride and I haven't even started them yet... What fun.

Ladies who have been down this road before, any thoughts? Advice? Experiences? I know I've seen, heard, and read little tips and tricks here and there before, so any advice is more than welcomed... until then, I will just sit here and continue to stew over the fear of these radical little shots :) 


  1. Ok, I wouldn't say you're working yourself into a tizzy over NOTHING, and don't get me wrong, I hate them, BUT... don't let them scare you. That's what they want! haha. Here are some of my tips:
    -stick the vial under your boob, or someplace else really warm for 10-15 minutes prior. That's probably longer than necessary, but I wasn't taking chances. You'll see the difference between cold and warm when drawing it up into the syringe, so imagine it coming out into your bum muscle.
    -alternate sides of your bum each night, and on top of that, alternate areas on that side. I told DH to picture a clock. When on that side, inject into 12, then 6, then 3, then 9 and so on. So that side is getting a shot every other night, but not in the same place.
    -I had DH inject it really slowly
    -ice the spot for a few minutes before, and put a warm pack on it after (not only does the warmth feel nice, but in my head, I figure the oil probably chills as it goes in since you ice first, and then it can't "spread". If you warm the area after, it can stay "thin" and spread.
    -have DH massage the area after with an open palm
    -I found it the least painful while laying down (I think because while sitting or standing, you're using that muscle, at least somewhat, so its firmer)
    -I googled newborn photography to look at while he was giving me the shot. Gave me something to focus on, and what better thing to focus on than what we were working towards?
    -I let out a yell or cried when I felt it rather than holding it in. Sometimes you just have to let it out to help feel better. Plus your hubs will feel really bad that he can't do it for you and he'll go out to get you a milkshake or something ;)

    Honestly, hope for them to get bad. For my first transfer, the one that failed, I didn't think they were too bad, because I really didn't have to take them for very long. It was my transfer that worked that I began to hate them. I did get hard lump spots and you're on them until like 9 weeks or something, so they were really hard to do by the end (I would sometimes cry in anticipation, and of course those were the nights that barely hurt at all...) But that's what you want! Because that will mean you're pregnant. So if you can sort of wrap your mind around that and "see" them differently, that could help! Please reach out if you have questions or need to complain! -unplanned infertility

  2. Oh my gosh, thanks so much for all your great advice!! I will definitely be taking it!! - - I can't thank you enough!! :) And I literally laughed out loud when you talked about letting out a scream or yell when needed, and then DH will feel bad and go and get ice cream, hahaha, sersiously super sound advice!! ;)

  3. I was able to use the progesterone suppositories luckily so didn't have to do those shots. I hope you'll get the hang of it and that it won't be as bad as you feared! Good luck

    1. Thank you so much for your comment and for the encouragement (I actually recently came across your blog as well and have been following!) As we count down the days and the shots are quickly approaching, I'm trying to balance my fear with telling myself exactly what you're saying: hopefully they just won't be as bad as I'm imagining. Just gotta try to stay strong and positive, right?!... And you're super lucky that you were able to stick with the suppositories! I've used those too during previous cycles and never had any issues, so I guess we'll just see what these PIO shots bring.