03 July, 2016

Cycle Day Sixteen: First Injections

Today was the big day. Today I started something I have been dreading ever since I realized we would have to go the IVF route. I received two injections of hormones. They are slightly different in how I get to prepare them and then inject them. Shall we take a look?
First off, I had Gonal-f. Gonal-f is a drug that contains FSH. It basically helps my eggs grow and mature. I receive a dosage of 225 IU (International Units). Upon random observance on the web, it sounds like this is a slightly high dose for a beginner (most start at around 150), but I have full confidence in my endocrinologist.
Here's what my drug package looked like once I tore it open:

Yeah, since each box only contains a dose of 550, I only need two of those syringes, but I am hoping I can just use the rest for the heparin I get to start administering soon. Gonal-f was by far the most expensive drug, costing a third of the entire drug bill.

I needed three main objects today: the fluid, the powder, and a syringe. The fluid is already in a syringe that I easily stuck through the rubber stopper at the top of the powder container. Upon injecting the fluid, the powder dissolved almost immediately. (Dissolved is a science word I get to teach my kids in my matter unit. I probably should not use my specific example with needles when I teach them next year.)

After the fluid was ready to go, I stuck in one of the smaller syringes and withdrew 225 IU. Because it contains 550 IU, I use the same bottle for two days in a row. I have to be careful with the Gonal-f because the same needle that goes through the rubber also goes through my skin. Because it goes through the rubber, the needle is slightly dulled and husband remarked later that the Gonal-f took a little more pressure to insert into my belly. (I also heard from a nurse that sometimes the needle gets bent so you have to work with that as you inject yourself.)
Because I had heard from one of my nurses that the Gonal-f stings a little, she instructed me to pinch my stomach as hard as I could to get my mind off the pain of the needle. When  injection time arrived, I could not get a good grip on my belly. Instead of grabbing a good chunk of fat, I pinched the surrounding area with my fingernails instead. It worked. I hardly felt the needle go in.

The other injection I will do in conjunction with the Gonal-f is Menopur. Menopur stimulates the ovaries to produce eggs. For Menopur injections, I need my syringe (no needle attached), needle, plastic screw cap, powder bottle, and liquid bottle. The Menopur is nice because I do not have to stick the injection needle into anything other than my flesh.

The order of events for Menopur is extremely similar to Gonal-f. I first screwed the screw top onto the syringe and then stabbed it into the fluid bottle. After I pulled up 1 ml of liquid, I withdrew and inserted it into the powder bottle. Once everything was dissolved, I pull everything up with the syringe again. Then I twist off the screw top lid and replace it with the needle. I get to flick the syringe with the needle pointed up until all the air bubbles have risen to the top just like they do in medical shows, so you know I am legit.
Upon doing both injections, husband said that the first one was harder to get in, but the second concoction almost felt thicker because it took longer to inject.
We did the injections immediately before going to church and half an hour into the first meeting, I realized with a jolt that I had forgotten to refrigerate the Gonal-f. Yikes. We rushed home to save the rest of the medicine.

One day of injections down, nine to go. I go in on Tuesday for blood work to make sure everything is working.

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