I'm about to finish my seventh week of Lovenox shots to counteract my three clotting factors. To put it mildly, the experience has given me a whole lot of respect for people with diabetes. I don't know how they go through that may shots a day with no end in sight. At least I know my shots won't last forever. But it's amazing what you'll go through when you have no choice, when you have to do it, and especially when you have to do it for the health and life of your child.
So every time I stick the needle in, I think about the baby and how I'm one shot closer to holding him or her in my arms.
There are some things I've learned about taking Lovenox that I wish I'd known ahead of time.
- Put the needle in slowly. You don't want to jab that half-inch thing in there. It seems terribly in theory to do it this way but trust me, you'll feel like you have more control. And don't worry about that weird bendy thing your skin will do before the needle finally breaks through your skin - no, it won't be difficult to puncture your skin.
- Ice liberally before and after. Like at least ten minutes before and after. If you don't want it to sting like a mofo afterward, you'd better ice.
- Oh yeah, the medicine will sting. It stings much worse than the needle going in (most of the time). The stinging will take your breath away, but don't forget to keep breathing and stay calm. When it hurts too much, stop putting the medicine in and wait a moment. It doesn't hurt to keep the needle in, so take your time when pressing the plunger. The first time, it stung for over 30 minutes. After that, I injected much more slowly and the stinging time has decreased.
- You'll bleed so be prepared. Keep tissues handy and tiny bandaids if you get a bleeder.
- Do the shots yourself. The hubs did mine for the first two weeks because I was a big chicken, but I swear, it's less traumatic to do it yourself. My hands were shaking so badly when I did my first one, but I feel like a pro by now.
- It hurts, but it doesn't hurt forever. The stinging eventually fades and you'll get a reprieve until you have to do it again the next day.
Sometimes it's a bleeder. When you take the needle out, a big bubble of blood follows. Don't put too much pressure on it as the bleeding will eventually stop on its own and you don't want to cause too much bruising.
Sometimes it's a bruiser. Luckily, I haven't gotten many of these, and only one has given me a huge bruise.
Sometimes it stings so badly you think you can't stand it. Along with the stinger can come the oh-my-god-this-needle-is-huge moment when that baby burns all the way in.
And then, every once in a while, you'll get the easy. The injection that you barely feeling going in, that hardly burns at all, and the only way you can identify the injection sight is by the tiny red dot.
But I'll take stingers and bruises every time if it means a healthy baby at the end of the journey. I know these shots will be like labor, and the memories of pain will fade with time. I can't feel the baby yet, but I know it's in there, bouncing around on my uterus and wiggling those skinny limbs like a crazy monkey.
So I let out a long breath as I slide the needle in. And I make a wish.