Friends are starting fertility treatments and are somewhat nervous about all the required injections. Since there’s nothing quite like “been there” guidance, I harvested some peer health advice for them and thought I’d post it here in case people had more to share.
First, I thought about whom I would personally turn to for advice. At the top of that list: Halle Tecco, an angel investor who has been open about her parenting journey (including founding Natalist, a company focused on fertility and pregnancy products). I quickly found her post, “Preparing for IVF: 10 Things I Bought For My Egg Retrieval,” and ordered some Cozy Warrior peer-support socks (because “infertility can be a scary road, but it shouldn’t be a lonely one” – Anna Wang, founder). When I complimented Halle on that post, she pointed me to another, which she described as the one she wished she’d had at the start of her fertility journey: “The IVF Funnel: Understanding Your Chances of Success.”
My next move was to talk with a friend who does her own injections as part of her gender-affirming treatments. Her tips were both practical and emotional.
- Drink lots of water before and after.
- Practice the motion, which her doctor described as like throwing a dart: drop back and then a sharp, sudden motion in. The faster the injection, the easier it is to get the needle through the skin and into the injection site, which is the hardest part.
- Warm up the vial by rolling it between your hands. You want it to be as close as possible to your body temperature – it hurts less. She also finds that this grounds her and gets her ready for the injection.
- Pinch the area. Dull pain distracts from the sharp pain of the injection.
- Create a ritual. Listen to favorite music or have a favorite show on.
- Manifest what you want to achieve. Focus on why you are doing this injection.
- Take a few deep, centering breaths to relax.
- Do something nice afterward to create positive reinforcement with getting the injection done.
A quick Google of “IVF injection tips” yielded:
- Tips from former patients (of a clinic in Oklahoma)
- A very specific step by step guide to subcutaneous injection written by a nurse.
A common theme to all the guides I saw: Don’t be shy about asking your clinicians for help. They know you are not experts on injections and it’s totally OK to ask for training – or a refresher if you’ve been trained before.
Now, your turn. Do you have tips to share about injections? Please comment below.
Image: A bee harvests pollen from a bright yellow flower. By Carandoom on Flickr.
Throwback: Longtime readers may remember this post from 2008, “E-patient Interview: Stirrup Queen.”