Waiting again. Tick tock…here goes the clock. Tere and I went back to our normal schedules…sort of. Five days after the embryos were transferred; we went back for more blood work. They don’t tell you much at this point because they actually don’t know much. They can tell from the hormone levels if it didn’t take but ours looked on track.
At this point, I was completely off all the fertility drugs and starting to feel more normal. I expected that horrible bloated feeling to go away as soon as they retrieved the eggs. But what they don’t tell you unless you ask, is that the follicles actually fill right back up with fluid almost immediately and then it dissipates over time. So even though they got all those eggs out of me, I still felt horrible! But at ten days later, I was feeling closer to my old self.
Tere, on the other hand, was getting the worst shots of this whole ordeal – progesterone. Progesterone is made in peanut or sesame oil here in the U.S. and is incredibly viscous. In an IVF cycle, a woman’s natural ability to create the appropriate amount is hindered so it’s supplemented with these progesterone shots generally injected in the upper part of the butt/hip.
This is the thing: the oil is so thick that it can sort of clump once injected and cause tremendous pain. Even though we switched sides every day and I was careful to adjust the needle placement so I wasn’t injecting into the same spots, Tere’s backside was essentially becoming completely numb. She was past the pain and now into some sort of numb Dead Zone.
To give the progesterone shot, you first extract it from the vial with a large gauge needle and then switch to a much smaller gauge to actually inject it in the patient (ie, Tere). I’m not 100% sure what happened – maybe I was tired, maybe I had been doing these shots for so long I got lazy – I’m not sure. But this one particular night, I was giving Tere the progesterone shot. I had extracted the right amount from the vial and as I was pushing the plunger down, I was surprised at how easy and quickly the injection was – normally it’s quite slow and requires a good bit of pressure. Part way through, I realized why. I had forgotten to switch from the large gauge to the smaller gauge needle. I was mortified.
A million things ran through my head in a split second. I decided to stop. I unintentionally said “uh-oh”. With a little concern in her voice, Tere asked “What?” I asked her if this shot felt unusual in any way or if it hurt. She reminded me that she couldn’t feel anything. I explained my mistake and we weighed our options but ultimately decided that it couldn’t really do any harm so I finished the shot – apparently there were no adverse side effects!
We had one other funny (depending on your point of view, of course) needle incident earlier in the IVF process. When injecting the fertility drugs, they want to be sure it’s going into the muscle and not a vein. To be sure you haven’t hit a vein; you pull the syringe back just a bit after you’ve inserted the needle into the muscle. If any blood comes into the syringe, you know you are not in the right spot and need to start over.
This one particular night, I did everything exactly as it should be. When I retracted the plunger, there was no blood so I completed the injection. But as I removed the needle, what seemed at the time to be a geyser shot out of Tere. I jumped back and probably let out an “oh shit.” I knew Tere would not be good with the sight of so much blood so I told her not to turn around as I was trying to contain the geyser and assess what to do. She wanted to know what was going on and I explained that I must have hit a vein and there was some blood. She asked how much and tried to turn around to see so I blurted out “Don’t turn around. It looks like a scene from SAW back here!” Tere immediately yelled at me to get it up off our new limestone flooring!
I can appreciate a woman who values her new limestone more than her own blood loss….
Disclaimer: Since I work for the company that produced Dead Zone and produces/distributes the Saw franchise, I’m a little biased, but if you didn’t see Saw 3D on Halloween – get out and see it soon so that I can keep my day job!