This is the part I was most nervous about - not the ultrasounds, not the expense (which was a close second ... or wait, expense was the bigger deal, so scratch that first sentence and make shots the SECOND biggest cause of anxiety), not the possibility that it might not work. I was not looking forward to jabbing needles into my wife on a daily basis.
Fortunately, IVF shots start out slow and small, and work their way up in size and difficulty. The first shot was administered by the nurse at the clinic - I'm not sure what this shot was called, or what it did, but my wife claimed it didn't hurt. This shot kicked off our cycle. The next set of shots, designed to stimulate her ovaries into making piles of follicles, were pre-packaged in this little "pen" ... all I had to do was turn a dial on the end of the pen to the correct dose amount, pull out the plunger (which made a clicking sound), then plunge the pen into a pinched portion of skin on my wife's upper thigh, push the plunger and pull it out. The needle was really, really tiny (only about 1/2 inch long) and the gauge small. My wife could only feel the sting of the alcohol in the event that it didn't have sufficient time to dry. This shot (the one with the nifty pen) was delivered in the morning, and in the afternoon her friend at work would inject her with a similar sized needle filled with a mixture of powder and water (which had to be mixed prior to the shot being administered ... much easier than it sounds. Just fill the plunger with the appropriate amount of sterilized water, from a vial, inject it into another vial containing the actual medication, in powder form - watch as the powder INSTANTLY dissolves - I mean it ... it's incredible ... the powder is gone at the very second the water touches it ... pull this mixture back into the plunger, swap the needle and inject)
Next up was the HCG shot, which was to be administered EXACTLY 12 hours before the "harvest". This was a longer needle, and a more precise injection than the other ones. We were warned at the clinic to be very careful with this one, and were told about many people who screwed it up, thereby ruining their cycle. We administered this shot EXACTLY at 11:30 p.m. the evening before our harvesting .... Turns out that this is exactly where Dr. S. looked to determine the root cause of our failed 1st attempt - I assured him I administered the shot exactly as I was instructed to ... he responded by saying poor drug quality may have been to blame for our underdeveloped follicles ... that, or we have "a very serious problem". Next time around he intends to give us a different version of HCG drug - can't remember the name, or any details about this as his description was vague.
Shortly before and again after the transfer, the Progesterone shots began. These used a much larger needle than the others (similar in size to the HCG shot) My wife had a very severe reaction to this shot in terms of pain. She could barely walk for almost a day afterwards. We would rotate sides between left and right (i.e. injection site = just above her rear), but that didn't really help. The nurses, and even Dr. S. commented on how abnormal this was ... but upon further questioning of Dr. S., he dismissed it and switched her to a vaginal tablet form of the Progesterone drug immediately after the transfer (apparently IVF Michigan was extensively involved in proving out this form of administering Progesterone) So ended the shots.
I found it incredibly unfair that I was let off the hook in the shot department. The whole reason we are going through IVF is because of my abnormally shaped sperm, yet, I have do nothing other than make love to a cup and watch porn while my wife has shots, ultrasounds, surgeries and all manner of other procedures. It's good to be a guy, but I feel for my wife, and admire her for carrying this burden for the sake of our family and our marriage. She's a wonderful person and I admire her more than she knows.
What's next? Thoughts about a Thanksgiving weekend with 43 family members.