Sunday, April 24, 2016

Embryo Adoption :: Ode to the PIO

Today I took my last PIO shot {at least for now...we still have 2 more frozen embryos waiting for us!}. Including my first 2 unsuccessful transfers, and now this one where I got to complete the full cycle, I have taken a total of 101 shots in my butt. That's a lot of shots, a bruised and sore rump, and a whole lot of love for our babies :)

About 6 days before my transfer, I started taking these shots of progesterone in oil {PIO}. I started with 0.5ml, increased to 1.0ml, then eventually was up to 1.5ml every day through 11 weeks of pregnancy. Because you have to gear up to prepare for pregnancy with a frozen embryo transfer, you basically have to teach your body how to produce it on its own. By week 11, my body was producing enough progesterone on its own to support my pregnancy, which is why I could wean off.

So what is this PIO shot?

Progesterone in Oil {PIO} shot is an intramuscular injection...which is why it goes in the butt. It's gotta go deep enough into the muscle. It's {obviously} in oil, so it's nice and thick. Which is why you need a large gauge needle to draw the medication out. And no fast injections on this one. Slow and steady is the name of this game. The injection needle is {thankfully} thinner, but it's still a big, long needle...because it has to reach down into your muscle. So it is definitely 1.5 inches long. And for me, it is definitely a 2-person job...look, there are brave ladies out there who do these on their own. I am not one of these women. So my sweet husband was my nurse, and he was fantastic. I hated getting stuck, but he hated sticking me, so at least we were on the same page.

Every night, I would gather our supplies:
  • 18-gauge needle {draw up needle}
  • PIO bottle {the actual medication}
  • 22-gauge needle {actual injection needle}
  • Alcohol swab {to sterilize the bottle and my rear}
  • BandAid {I used the little square ones, because somehow it felt like wasting less?}
  • Sharpie Marker {to redraw our lovely little targets}
  • Heating pad {to heat the oil and my sore rear}

And every night, this would be our process:
  • Step 1: Gather all supplies and turn on the heating pad.
  • Step 2: Sterilize the PIO bottle and draw up the oil into the syringe.
  • Step 3: Remove draw up needle and place barrel in heating pad to help soften the oil {it helped it go in smoother and prevented knots}
  • Step 4: Attach injection needle and prepare for injection
  • Step 5: Sterilize injection site, take a deep breath, take the weight off the side where we're injecting, remind yourself you are doing this for your babies, take another deep breath, and tell Mike "ready."
  • Step 6: Jab that sucker in quickly to the top right quadrant {trust me, it's much better than sticking it in slowly}. 
  • Step 7: Draw back the needle and make sure there is no blood in the syringe. If there is, then you have to start over because you hit a blood vessel. Thankfully, we never had this happen. 
  • Step 8: Begin plunging the oil in slowly. Seriously, the slower the better. Too fast, and the oil doesn't have enough time to dissipate and you can end up with knots and a really sore backside.
  • Step 9: Remove needle and have a towel ready, just in case you have a bleeder. This happened to me A LOT. It's not a huge deal. You just have to wait for it to stop. 
  • Step 10: Add a Band-Aid and dispose of needles in a proper sharps container
  • Step 11: Massage injection site, walk around for a bit, do some lunges, sit on heating pad for a few minutes {all to help disperse the oil and prevent knots}.
  • Step 12: Thank the Lord for modern medicine and kiss your hubby for being an awesome nurse :)

Each night, we would switch sides, which helped give my backside a little bit of a break. I have to say that these were WAY more scary before we actually did them. Sometimes the injection hurt, but most of the time, I didn't really feel much. Some people ice the injection site before they stick the needle in, but the needle prick wasn't what hurt for me. It was the actual injecting of the oil that hurt more, so I took steps to heat up the oil and help disperse it better. Some people get really sore by week 11, but thankfully I didn't feel too bad. I did start to bruise quite a bit, so that made finding a non-bruised injection site a bit more difficult. And the injection sites can itch sometimes. But the shots are definitely doable. All for the babies :)

Until our next transfer....

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