Friday, January 9, 2015

The Dreaded Progesterone Shots

Taking hormones is all part of the IVF process.  Since I was the recipient of an egg  via donor, I was put on oral contraceptives and Lupron to essentially put my ovaries to sleep and temporarily stop the production of estrogen and progesterone.  The estrogen and progesterone secretion by the ovaries would interfere with the development of the lining of my uterus, which was essential for the transfer/implantation process.

On the flip side, now I am pregnant.  Due to the fact that they shut down my ovaries, my body cannot produce enough estrogen or progesterone to sustain the pregnancy.  So supplemental estrogen and progesterone must continue until the placenta produces enough of its own to sustain the pregnancy.  I'll have to continue taking these meds until probably the beginning of my second trimester.

I am wearing two estrogen patches daily, switching them out every other day.  I take 6 estrogen pills a day (3 in the am and 3 in the pm); and the absolute worst part of this whole deal:  the dreaded progesterone shots.

I had been administering the Lupron shots myself (into the belly) and they were not that bad.  The medication just needed to go below the skin.  The progesterone shots, however, have to be given IM, in the buttocks (as Forrest Gump would say), so hubby had to learn to give them to me.  We had an appointment where they gave him precise instruction and showed him the target areas for the injections.

Now, those of you that know me are aware I have more than adequate space back there, but it is a relatively small area when you are getting two shots a day - every day.  We had no idea how difficult these shots would become.  I think about all the women with little booties and wonder how they survived them. The progesterone is in oil form, so it is very thick when it gets too cold and needs to be warmed up. It can be hard to draw up and inject.  Hubby gives me a shot every morning before he leaves for work, and again in the evening. We switch sides each time. The shots are very painful when I get them and the pain can last for hours afterwards.  There is not one spot left on my backside that is not black and blue or full of knots due to the oil not properly absorbing into the muscle.  It hurts to sit.  It hurts to lay down.  It hurts to roll over in bed.  My skin burns and itches.  It just plain sucks.  

We've been doing this for about 7-8 weeks now. I think we have about 3-4 weeks left.  In a week or so they may decrease my dosage and take me down to one shot per day.  It all depends on my hormone levels, which they check weekly. 

I think this has been the worst part of this process.  Poor hubby has to be the one to give them to me.  I feel so bad for being a big baby, but sometimes with all the other hormonal issues going on I can't help but burst into tears.   I've felt like a child getting a vaccination.  Sometimes, no matter how brave you try to be, you can only take so much!  Hubby does an amazing job.  He is very gentle and calm, and no matter how I react, he finishes the job properly.  Guilt ridden, I'm sure.   I can't think of anyone else in this world I would rather go through this with than him.   

This is all part of the program.  The end result (no pun intended) will be well worth the pain.  

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