Monday, June 6, 2011

Daily Shots - What is it like?

Many people have asked what it's like to take shots every day for this condition. Some have asked just out of curiosity, and some have asked because they anticipate a similar condition in the future. Well, I'll give you the best idea I can...

There are several different scenarios that you run into when doing a daily injection. Let me start by setting the scene.

I get up in the morning and my belly aches. It's not bad, and it's not really uncomfortable, but there is definitely an ache that gets worse as I walk or move or do anything. Most of this is simply due to the fact that since Lovenox is an anti-coagulant, almost all of my belly is a bruise. Combine that with movement or with general pregnancy expansion, and you get soreness.

The shots themselves are quite easy. All of them are individually packaged and ready to go. They are loaded with the appropriate amount of medication and they don't need any prep time. This makes life a whole lot easier.

From here, you need to decide how brave you are. Can you handle injecting yourself or do you need help? I'm really glad that I had Brian do it all the time at first, but I'm slowly taking over the job as it becomes more uncomfortable. I'll try to give you both scenarios.

When Brian is doing the shots, the hard part is reminding him. So much goes on in the morning that it can get lost in the shuffle. He gets the cotton, rubbing alcohol, and shots together along with a "back-up" band aid. It's almost impossible to tell ahead of time if that band aid will be needed, so it's good to have on hand. I strongly suggest the little squares as they stick best and don't take up a lot of space. Then, I have to pick up my shirt and find a spot that he can stick a needle. One of the pros for this scenario is I can't often find a good spot anymore, so he'll just jab me and get it done while I'm stressing. That pisses me off for a moment, but it's not bad...and it's better than my timid attempts.

If I'm doing it, it's a bit different. I first take the top off the syringe so everything is ready to go. It is a very small needle, but it is quite long. I have to do the injection in my lower belly, and since it causes bruising, this is getting harder and harder to do as I run out of real estate (being fatter than usual tends to help in this scenario, as does having had a C-section that left part of your stomach numb). The tendency is to try to give the shots in the same general area once you find a good spot; however, the bruising makes this hard. Also, if you continue to hit the same spot, you get a large knot that takes a while to go away.

Honestly, your stomach is a big game of chance. Some spots are virtually painless and the needle slides in and out with no problem. Some spots are not as nice. If you begin to put the needle in and feel ANY resistance, stop immediately. It will not get better and you will hate yourself. Most spots are in the middle - mild ouch, but manageable.

The needle is in and out quite quickly if you don't mess around. If I do the shot, I often need a band aid for bleeding, but Brian has a more direct, in and out approach and doesn't need them as often. Shots in the low belly that bleed are likely to become big sores, so avoid if possible. While the shot itself may not hurt, you may notice that the medicine burns quite a bit. Again, this depends on where you injected the medicine. The upper belly tends to burn more than lower, but that can be due to post-C-section numbness. The burning lasts about ten-fifteen minutes and, while uncomfortable, isn't terrible.

And that's it in a nutshell. You're done until tomorrow. What sounds like a long process is probably only two minutes from start to finish. It isn't fun, and it isn't my favorite part of the day, but we'll deal with it. So, if you get to enjoy this fun in the future, just know that it is simple and manageable and that even someone afraid of blood and needles can adjust. It's all for a wonderful payoff, after all.


  1. Not fun at all. How far into your pregnancy do you have to have those shots?

  2. The whole way and then some. At least for a month following delivery.