Unboxing My Fertility Meds

So, both my donor and I received our meds in the mail yesterday. Inspired by the unboxing video meme, I wanted to create a little unboxing slideshow of my own. I won’t lie – I felt a bit like a kid on Hanukkah opening up this box last night.

Am I a bit too gleeful? Perhaps. Maybe it’s just because I’m super excited to finally start treatment. Or maybe I’m just an online exhibitionist weirdo. You be the judge :)

Scroll down for the unboxing goodness and a desperate plea at the bottom of this post.

Toro patiently guards my meds after their arrival.

Ooooh… what’s inside?

Hidden Pictures: Can you find the bottle of scotch I forgot to crop out of this picture?

Always read the instruction manual, kids.

It’s like a fertility drug goodie bag!

Look Ma: I’ve earned my Girl Scout patches in Estrogen!

Pills, pills, piiilllllssss!!

…and 1 single, teeny tiny Valium. Just one. (For transfer day.)

Progesterone in oil. Sesame oil, in fact. Why can’t I just dump this into a wok and have stir-fry for a month instead of sticking this in my ass?

Oh look – my box came with another box!

That’s… a LOT of needles…

…a lot of VERY LONG needles…

Yes, lots and lots of very long needles that must go into my ass and thighs. Boo-urns, I say!

Just think – I get to start all this madness in just over a couple of weeks from now. Eek!

(And just in case you’re wondering, here’s what it looks like on the other side of the fence for our donor. Between the two of us, we’re needle-tastic!)

Hey, remember how I mentioned I am TERRIFIED OF NEEDLES? Yeah, opening all of this last night just reaffirmed that times a hundred. Even handling them made me light-headed. Shortly after opening everything up, I promptly took the box upstairs to the bedroom (so my cats wouldn’t eat it, because our cats totally just eat boxes), came downstairs… and burst into tears.

Larry, being the awesome husband that he is, immediately swooped me up in a big hug. I blame hormones, my fear of needles, and the very present realization that holy balls – this is really happening for the sudden waterworks moment.

Because I’m such a wuss, he’s going to have to do the shots. This isn’t exactly a walk in the park for him, either.

“You’re not too thrilled about having to give me all these shots, are you?” I asked him.

“Yeah… not so much. That’s a lot of needles.” He paused, then, “But, I can’t really complain. I’m not on the receiving end.”

Ha! My Husband’s Patented & Branded Tact™, FTW.

So, my desperate plea: Please share your injection tips in the comments! The only injections I have are PIO shots. My friend has Menopur, Ganirelix, Gonal-F (pens), Lupron and Ovidrel in her box o’meds. Any tips you have for any of these meds would be most appreciated!

(And, if you could keep it to just helpful tips instead of horror stories, it would do us both worlds of good to keep us sane :))

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  1. Morgan says

    I am beginning my 2nd ivf cycle. The first one had to be cancelled the day before retrieval due to my ovaries ovulating suddenly :( My best advice to you is the warm the PIO in a pot of boiling water for about 2 min. That makes the shot 100 times less painful and the day after you are not as sore.

    For you donor all the sub-q shots feel the best in the belly. They say you can use your thighs and arms but my advice dont. Your belly is less painful and if you lay down to do them pretty much painless! I have to have my husband do them since i am a baby haha! Just close your eyes and dont let the person giving the shots warn you before they come. Sometimes you dont even feel it!

    Best wishes!!!!

  2. says

    Best of luck to you! I will have everything crossed for you!!!

    Ok – so the injections suck. But the end result is so worth it so keep thinking about that. The butt shots feel much better if you ice the heck out of your butt so it is really numb. After the injection, massage the site with an orange or tennis ball. It helps alot and will prevent lumps! I recommend doing the other shots in your gut versus your leg. Just pinch an inch and stick. The leg hurts alot more! Keep us posted – good luck!!!!

  3. says

    Honestly, I promise the first one on your own is freaky, the second is unsure and everything after that you’re barely paying attention. I had a huge fear of needles too and the first injection I botched but then it got to the point where I was like “Oh, forgot my meds, one sec” and would drop my pants in front of my friends who were over to watch a movie, do the shot and keep going like nothing had happened.

    Switch legs each day. It helps.

    If it’s the pain then you may want to make one more purchase: http://www.buzzy4shots.com/

    • Keiko says

      I just went to the Buzzy website… and I may seriously have to get one of those. That’s incredible.

  4. says

    Most important tip – those really big long needles (the 18g ones) aren’t used for injecting – they’re only used for mixing medications. You swap the tip after you pull up the medication from the vial.

    For progesterone, after the shot I used one of those neck bean bags that you can microwave to keep heat on the area. It helps the medication spread out and keep lumps from forming. And yes, switch sides.

    I’ve also always hated needles, but after the first self-injection, the rest are much easier. I find it helps to exhale as I jab the needle. And for PIO, which my husband usually did, he would scratch me with a fingernail (not particularly hard) when he jabbed me – the distraction really helps.

    Your doctor may have specific places for the donor to do her injections. My Lupron was either tummy or upper thigh (upper thigh worked better for me, but is more painful for some). Gonal F is a super easy shot and is usually tummy. Menopur you have to mix and then inject – it stings a little. Ovidrel the location tends to be very doctor specific. The packaging usually refers to it as an IM shot but my doc had me do it in my tummy, and another doc had me do it in my upper arm. So definitely check with the doc.

    Good luck.

    • Keiko says

      Hm… everyone keeps mentioning I switch out the PIO shot needle tips… but I didn’t get any in my box. They’re also 22 gauge, so not sure if that makes a difference? I was wondering about that, since even the medication guide and video from the pharmacy online mentioned switching needle tips… but yeah, no tips. Or alcohol wipes. Hrm. Wondering if I should call my pharmacy…

      • says

        When we first got ours we too only had one size and the smaller they are the harder it is to suck up the PIO. We ended up with 22g luer lock syringes to suck up the PIO and then you take the needle off and put the 25g on. I recommend asking the pharmacy for some 25g needles for the actual injections they are thinner so it takes longer to administer but hurts less.
        Check out Andrea’s latest post: Just RightMy Profile

      • says

        Keiko – Typically your mail-order/fertility specialty pharmacy will send 18G needles that are used JUST to draw up the PIO in oil. You then twist off the 18G and put on a 22G to inject. The rationale for using a 18G to draw the oil into the syringe is it is larger and makes it faster/easier to draw it up. You would never inject with an 18G though, the 22G 1 1/2 inch would be to inject PIO IM. Sometimes the 18G needles aren’t included and although not necessary, they do make it easier to draw up since the oil is thick…

        I wish you all the best of luck in your cycle. I want to extend to you (as well as your readers) that I would be happy to work via facetime/skype to get through the cycle including injections. The way I work is in compliment with your RE. We follow your instructions explicitly but I focus on being available when necessary (usually after hours).

        I was working with a client the other night for her trigger shot. She was completely prepped and stated she was prepared but when the time came, she hesitated. She knew she could reach out to me and didn’t want to page her RE. My phone rang at midnight, and we worked through it in real-time as I talked her through it.

        Wishing everyone lots of luck and good health while working so hard to build a family :)

  5. CzechPlease says

    Some of my meds (90-day supply of estradiol; with 1 refill; oh please let me need to refill it!!) arrived yesterday too!! Apparently I’m only going to need 1 shot; Lupron in 2 weeks. That is arriving next week We are meeting with a nurse next week so she can show my guy how. He is really nervous of screwing everything up. I think he wants us to just go to the doctors and have them do it. Maybe we should

    I’ll get the progesterone over seas, but suppository form, not injection. why is nobody’s protocol the same?

    You can do this Keiko! You’re going to amaze yourself! Good luck!!

  6. says

    Exciting! Here’s my low down:

    Menopur – burns a tad, but no biggie.
    Gonal-F – leave it in for 5 seconds after injecting and then take it out. Some more med comes out after you finish pushing the plunger.
    Ganerelix – burns and itches like a MO FO the first couple of days and then it stops
    Ovidrel – mine have been sub Q and are super duper easy
    PIO – I like to lean on the counter with my weight on my non-shot leg. I rest my shot side foot on top of my standing foot (no weight on it, just rest it). After hubby injects, he does a serious rub down. I have never had post shot pain with the rub down. The two times someone else had to do it and there was no rub down I was HATING LIFE the next day. I don’t do any heating pads or any of that – I’m telling you it’s all about the rub. Oh and switch legs daily. That needle looks scary (you’ll inject with the thinner one), but once you do one, the next are not bad. My doc offered to let me do Crinone next cycle and I actually opted for PIO over the gel.
    Lupron – simple to inject – side effects are another story.

    Good luck!!!

    • says

      I used the same position for my PIO – made it easy. I am kind of with you on the crinone gel vs the PIO, I mean sur ethe PIO is a shot but the crinone gel is messy – sort of 6 on one hand half a dozen on the other :)

      Ganirelix did itch a bit but luckily I didn’t seem to have quite the reaction you did.
      Check out Andrea’s latest post: Just RightMy Profile

  7. says

    I’ve only had one infertility injection so far, and it wasn’t bad at all. It was just an Ovidrel shot in my belly. It wasn’t painful, but I did have a small bruise for a few days afterward. What helped me get through the whole treatment cycle was looking at the morphed photos I made of what my babies would look like. I keep them in my fertility clinic folder. I uploaded photos of myself and my husband since I don’t know what our sperm donor looked like. It was a great reminder of why I was spending all the time and money on this. Speaking of money, can I ask how you are paying for your treatment? We don’t have infertility coverage, and can’t afford IVF. Any advice is appreciated, and good luck with your cycle!

  8. says

    I have all the tips and tricks I know of on my blog. The pens are thes easiest and least painful (short, thin and sharp) and the progesterone in oil are probably the worst because of how long you have to do it. If done right it can all be done with little pain. The Ganirelix needle seems to be a little dull so it pushes the skin before it finally “pops” in but it doesn’t hurt bad. As stated above I recommend a heating pad after the progesterone in oil shot to minimize lumps, and I switched sides each day. I also had my husband give it and while he was a little shaky at first he got very good very quickly and it became mattre of fact. I would “assume the position” – either in front of him pinching some belly fat for the pens, ganirelix, lupron, trigger, or leaning on the counter for the progesterone in oil. Luckily I have a little “junk in the trunk” so the butt shots aren’t that bad. One thing we did which made me feel more in control and comfortable was we had them draw circles on my butt (which my husband had to redraw every few days) to make sure we got it in the right place and didn’t hit anything we weren’t supposed to. Also try not to put the shots righton top of one another even when you are switching sides this will minimize lumps. If you have any other questions don’t hesitate to contact me.

    Oh – just remembered take a deep breath before the shot and let it out as he gives the shot helps relax the muscle.

    • Keiko says

      The Ganirelix needle seems to be a little dull so it pushes the skin before it finally “pops” in but it doesn’t hurt bad
      Even though I’m not taking that one, just reading that made me go white. Yikes!

      Luckily I have a little “junk in the trunk” so the butt shots aren’t that bad.
      This is what I’m trying to figure out. I too have an ample bottom – so will all that extra padding help? I’m so paranoid about the whole “If you see blood when you pull back, STOP” warnings everywhere for PIO shots.

      • says

        I know but the “pop” sounds worse than it is, but I didn’t want you to be surprised. My husband would push it into the skin but the skin would just dimple until it finally slid in – there was no sound just a visual sensation. It wasn’t bad at all.

        Yes the “If you see blood when you pull back, STOP” was scary for me too but the whole time I was getting them it never happened. As long as you relax the muscle it isn’t bad at all just mild discomfort like a stiff dog hair caught in your clothes poking you. Sometimes the stomach shots would have uncomfortable pressure if he went to fast so he made sure to go a little slower if I told him. The PIO shots are thick so they can’t go fast anyways. Have a papertowel on hand because after the PIO sometimes some oil seeps out (or a little blood) and you can hold that for a minute or two so as not to get the oil on clothing or furniture. I don’t have video of the PPIO shots but I do of the stomach shot.

  9. says

    Okay! I promised I’d weigh in with my experience, so I actually created a page about it on my blog linking back to some of my old entries from while I was currently doing treatments:


    I did Clomid + Ovidrel trigger rounds three or four times (I honestly don’t remember!), and then one Gonal-F injectables round with the Ovidrel as a trigger again. I reference both in my post.

    I second (third, fourth?) using the belly as an injection site over the thigh! I don’t know what your thighs are like, but my belly is softer than my legs, and getting a small area of skin to pinch is pretty easy there 😉 It honestly rarely hurt at all– the needle is so thin for sub-Q shots that sometimes, if you hit the right spot, you don’t feel it at all. When it did hurt, it was a tiny pinch, nothing more. I much preferred those shots to my four-times-a-day gestational diabetes blood sugar testing. Finger pricks, ouch!

    I never did progesterone shots, but the advice I see above so far sounds like what I’ve heard in the past from other people who have done them.

    Good luck!!!

  10. says

    I don’t remember having that many meds (even on the recieving side)…maybe it didn’t seem like much as I was already taking estradiol for HRT and didn’t need to take Lupron (my ovaries never act up or at all HAHA). But agreed…the first shot or two are the anxiety after that it’s cake.
    For PIO I would lean over a chair or the foot of our bed (something about waist/hip high). Put weight onto my non-shot side and try to loosen up the shot side as best I could. Check with your clinic about switching needles out. We also did this…I think the needles were the same size (20 or 22g) but switched out to make sure it’s sterile for the shot. I would take the dose needed in the needle then put the sterile needle on (leaving the cap on) and stick the PIO under my arm pit for a few minutes to warm it up (I agree warming it helps make it runny and not so thick). Then once it felt nice and warm I’d “assume the position” posted above and hand it over to hubby. Have a paper towel handy for possible leakage (usually just a little oil…we only once hit a vein for blood in 72 shots). And just ease on the syringe. It feels kind of like a vaccination. Switch hips each day. And rub it into your muscle after the shot. Good luck!! It really isn’t a nightmare and can be soooo worth it.
    Check out Michelle D’s latest post: Sleep Training…Again??My Profile

  11. says

    When giving yourself sub-Q shots (such as the Menapur) it is important not to inject at an angle (doing this will bruise you). To minimize anxiety (I too had a fear of needles), take a deep breath, put the needle in, push down on the plunger, let out the breath. Oh and don’t forget to pinch the skin, and then inject. Good luck to you and your friend.
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  12. says

    I love the photo unveiling :) Very cool.

    I did PIO- I had my husband give me that one, because I couldn’t contort myself (or get past the mental blockade) to do them myself. I did give myself my Gonal-F and Lovenox injections, but I was never able to do intramuscular injections on my own! That said, my husband did an excellent job, even if he is terrified of needles and freaked out about it every time lol. I didn’t usually feel the injection, unless he hit one of the lumps (those were tender!)… they did form lumps, which itched and felt bruised. These lumps lasted for weeks after I stopped the injections. Anyway, I was sore, felt bruised, but it wasn’t that bad. One time my husband did hit a vein, it didn’t hurt, but it scared him so bad because of the bleeding (did I mention that he almost passes out at the sight of blood? Heh) but even then, it didn’t hurt me, it did leave a big honking bruise, but otherwise it was okay. I did ice beforehand, and then after I used the heating pad to try and disperse the lumps… I really don’t know if that helped at all though!

    Good luck. It’s very intimidating, but it’s not as bad as it looks! And the memory does fade 😉
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  13. says

    I take a microwave heating pad (have one long tube-like one that wraps around my neck for headaches)….after heating it, i fold it in half and put the bottle of PIO in the fold and then put the whole thing behind my back in the chair to heat the spot for about 5 minutes….then take the bottle out (the glass will be hot) and draw the PIO into the syringe (if it’s easy going in, it will be easy coming out again)….then i place the syringe back in the fold b/c it takes hubby too much time to get his butt up to do my shot, and assume the position on the couch (laying down on my front) and place the hot pad back on my butt until he gets there to do it…..also massage the spot after the shot to distribute the oil so you don’t have a lump and then place the heating pad back on…..and NEVER do in your thigh! you will feel it with every step you take!! if you have to shoot yourself up, twist as much as you can to reach your bootie! ♥

  14. TheDonor says

    so eating the entire box of cookies was a good idea! Thanks for the advice everyone. I think the husbands are going to need some stiff drinks after all of this :)

  15. says

    I’ve had all the shots your donor is doing and they were really no biggie. I even managed to do a few all by myself. Walgreens makes an alcohol swab with a mild topical anesthetic in it. Can’t hurt, might help!

    For her belly shots, releasing the “pinched” bit of skin and counting to five after pushing the plunger all the way in and BEFORE pulling out the needle will keep the serum from oozing back out, which is particularly important for Menopur (it’s an irritant).

    Never done PIO as we never made it to retrieval, but my doc said to warm it in your hands (or between your boobs) before injecting. You don’t actually want to HEAT it, just warm it up a bit.

  16. says

    The little sub q injections are no biggie. My DH did all my shots for my IUIs but with both IVF cycles, I took over, except for PIO. My experience with PIO was worse than most.

    I noticed yours is suspended in sesame oil. If you run into problems with pain or knots in your muscles, you can try asking for PIO suspended in ethyl oleate (thinnest medium). It is a little easier to inject.

    I also heated my PIO in the heating pad, heated my back, and had DH inject quickly and with purpose. We also massaged the site for a few minutes after. However, in my case, I developed TERRIBLE knots in the muscle. They were awful and after 2-3 weeks on PIO I couldn’t take it anymore. So, they switched me to progesterone suppositories (Endometrin) and my life drastically improved. They were messy but not painful and nothing bad happened as a result of switching. I’m told my knots might have been because DH was injecting too close together (we did switch sides each night). The knots did eventually go away (acupuncture helped) but just thought I would give you a heads up.

    No matter what, all the pain is worth it. I also sat and cried when I got my first delivery, but it all worked out in the end.

  17. Sarah S. says

    I’ve only done subcutaneous injections (Follistim, Ovidrel, and Lovenox), but two things really helped me. First, having a video of what to do on my computer right in front of me so I could pause and replay (when confronted with an unfamiliar needle/medication my mind goes blank, so I need instructions!). Second, do the injections in whatever position feels most comfortable/natural for you, regardless of videos or instructions. It’s way easier for me to inject standing up than sitting down. But some people get better results sitting or laying down. If you’re trying to put yourself in a place that doesn’t feel right, it will just add to your anxiety, unnecessarily. Good luck!

  18. Sarah S. says

    Oh, and I love the unboxing. Just give the box to the cats when you’re done! My cat has taken a real fancy to the box for my current cycle; I’m reading it as a good sign :)

  19. says

    Lots of helpful comments already. I fainted as I gave myself my shots the fifth day (!) and was having panic attacks (I hate needles so so much: major, major phobia) so we hired a nursing service to do it for me for two cycles which was crazy expensive and a total pain (pun intended) to organize, what with the timing having to be exact and all that. And I am sort of embarrassed to admit that out loud.

    The third cycle Darcy gave me the shots and made the experience much more pleasant (turns out he would make an excellent nurse!). I am incredibly grateful to him for that.
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  20. says

    The only shots that truly hurt are the PIO. Ice beforehand and heat pack/massage afterward. I also don’t recommend doing them on your light-colored couch cause you can hit a vein and get a bloody mess. Ask me how I know :(

  21. says

    While I don’t have any experience with larger needles like that, I had to use needles several times a day when dealing with GD. It was freaky at first, but soon it became routine.

    I do feel for your hubby… I found giving someone else needles more challenging. I had to give my mom chemo shots for a couple of months and I cringed every time. Just another reason I could never work in the medical field.

    Best of luck and lots of prayers for a wildly successful cycle!

    ICLW #7
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  22. says

    I don’t have anything helpful to add, but I wanted to thank you for posting this! It was funny enough that I could show my husband without totally freaking him out, and it was also a good way to give us both a preview of what’s to come. He said he hadn’t thought about what the pile of medications and needles would look like, so this was a good way to prepare him.
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  23. says

    Best of luck! I have never needed the PIO shots but you got some great tips here. I also have a needle fobia though, I was absolutely terrified the first few shots. I have to lay down and after three rounds I still can’t look and my husband needs to mix it and inject it as well. I truly hope you find a way to ease the fear and manage it all right.
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