I was recently asked to share the strangest, and most unique, situation whereby I’d injected myself with hormones during IVF, and boy, what a choice I had! You don’t get through seven rounds plus 12 weeks of progesterone shots without collating a lot of ammunition to dine out on! I mean, there was that one time in the theatre, oh and the shot administered in the tapas bar toilets, you know, the one where everyone started to sing “Happy Birthday” as I walked back to the restaurant (I might point out here that it actually was my birthday, otherwise this one would definitely win hands down). Then there’s the train loo, my office loo, various pub and restaurant loos and the park. However, I think the one that stands out most, for me, is probably my virginal encounter with self injecting.
Our first round of IVF came under some pretty individual circumstances right from the off. During our initial prognosis and testing, my father-in-law was diagnosed with leukaemia and sadly passed away two days before our cycle was due to begin. After lengthy discussions with our clinic we decided to continue, as planned, which meant a lot of toing and froing from Sussex to the West Country. For those who don’t know much about the demands of IVF cycles, with my clinic, as soon as injecting commenced, it meant I’d have to go in every other morning for scans and blood work and was also required to have a scan and blood test on the day of my first injection. I’d then need to inject myself, every night, at a clinic given time, which for us was 8pm.
And so the toing and froing began on Friday November 22nd 2013. Armed with a boot full of hormones and a positive mental attitude we left the house, in a timely manner, and headed towards the sunset with an ETA of 6.53pm. BOOM! We had sweets, a car playlist and plenty of time to spare before the jabbing hour commenced. What could possibly go wrong?
And then we hit the M25. Which, quite frankly, is the worst motorway on the planet.
So there we were, at a complete standstill, on the most evil of motorways known to mankind, watching the clock tick tock and starting to lose all hope that the first injection would take place in an ordinary environment, like, for instance, a house.
When we finally got to moving again it became evidently clear that, along with my dreams of a natural conception, my hopes of a “normal” inaugural jacking up had vanished and a new plan would have to be formed. Using that old adage: When in doubt; just find a pub, we decided to enter the world of fertility treatment by combining it with a meal, I mean, who doesn’t like a side portion of hormones with their burger? And so off to find a pub went we.
In hindsight I should have just given myself that first hit in the loos, but I was new to it all at this point and had some eschewed idea about hygiene and needles and public toilets. Plus, I think I just wanted a fellow human being’s support and felt a stranger might not cut the mustard. And so, hubby it was and the car was our choice of location; what better way to finish a tasty meal because, who needs pudding when you’ve got a big fat dose of downers to take? Definitely not me!
With great diligence I selected my syringe and got my drugs and sharps box at the ready. I’d practised on an orange and I was ready to go. Meanwhile, in strange infertility world, my husband had discovered that our interior car light had broken and, for some reason, no matter where we flicked that switch to, it simply wouldn’t shine when the doors were shut. It was agreed, that as I was preparing and injecting, his role in the operation would involve repeatedly opening the car door to, literally, shed light upon the situation. I seriously couldn’t make this up!
Finally everything was ready: Car door open. Tick. Cap off syringe. Tick. Needle inserted in to vial of very expensive hormones. Tick. Pull back syringe and… Nothing. Nil. Nada. There was no liquid in the syringe. And so I tried again. And again, and again, becoming increasingly panicked with each failed attempt to simply just transfer the drugs. What was wrong with me? I eventually realised that as much as medical science was there to help me have a baby it wasn’t there to help me defy gravity. With the ampule turned upside down, as per instructions, we finally accomplished our first mission.
The drugs were in the syringe.
We were therefore on to stage two: Get drugs into body. With pointy jabby needle in one hand and inch of stomach pinched in the other thus began the biggest freak out of my life. What the actual hell? I was seriously going to have to inject myself?
I was a good minute, or so, in to my frenzy when, all of a sudden, my second in command piped up; “There’s a man over there peering in at us through the window.”
Well that shut me up. As indeed there was.
And as I sank that needle into my skin I was, pretty much, face to face with an elderly man standing very close to our window screen, pulling deeply on a rolled up cigarette, before taking a big swig of beer and making no effort, whatsoever, to hide the fact that he was having a good ole gander. I swear I even heard him mutter something about heroin and pub carparks. IVF is pretty glamorous hey?
It was then, with the hormones successfully in my system and the car door fully closed, that we gave our new friend a little wave and got the hell on out of there.
Injection one complete.
If you happen to be around the Somerset area and see a WANTED FOR DRUGS poster of a crazy blonde lady freaking out, then in all probability; that’ll be me!