Today will be my 5th day stimming. And this morning I had my Day 5 blood draw/ultrasound. It’s crazy how many needles IVF’ers have to stick into their bodies, to inject this, and draw that. Just a few months ago, I was basically a needle virgin! All my life I avoided getting my blood drawn because I am scared of the needles! For school physicals, my family Dr was a family friend so I talked him into sometimes just signing my physical form to play sports at school, or when he really insisted, I convinced him to get samples by pricking my finger tips (i know, most say this hurts more – strange). And in college, lets’ face it, I hardly went to the doctor so naturally, no needles. Life was good. It wasn’t until I met Mr. Truffles – or when we got married, that he was surprised at how I’ve never really managed to get my blood drawn and made me make an appointment. When I did, it didn’t hurt, but I didn’t like it. Before infertility, I probably really got my blood drawn only twice.
Now that I’m doing IVF, blood draws are an every other day occurrence :S I had one or two incidents where getting blood drawn was a bit difficult resulting in the old arm switch. Not bad. But after reading other people’s blood drawing experiences, those getting bruised arms, not being able to get the blood to come out, multiple needle pricks, I secretly feared I was one of those too – but willed myself into thinking, nah, my blood draws have been pretty easy, I don’t bruise easily, and… it… just… wont happen to me…
This morning, I drive into my RE office with a vitamin water in the car. I drank half of it and thought, better hydrate myself! I sit in the chair and the lady who did my blood draw for me on Monday was there. I’m thinking “Nice! this lady did the easiest blood draw for me on Monday, this is going to be fast and easy!” Well, she started chatting with me about how it’s her birthday in September and she was planning on going wine tasting for it with her friends. I look away as I always do. And she pricks me… not the worst prick, but i’m just glad it’s over. But then, the phlebotomist lets out a ‘hrmphh” and then take needle out. “That’s strange, nothing” So we go on to try the other arm (which is bruised from Monday) and the same thing… “hrmphhh” Then the left arm again, then the right; and finally she tells me, why don’t I do my ultra sound first and have a sip of water while I’m waiting. Ugh. So I go in, do my ultra sound I have my lead follicles on both sides ranging from size 8-10 (pretty good no?) And I’m told to go out again to get my blood drawn. I feel more awake, and optomistic about this blood draw and sit down. Left arm, “hrmphh”… ARE YOU KIDDING ME? She starts looking at my hand to see if she could maybe get the blood from the veins there, but that freaked me out and i told her, please try again on my right arm, on the vein that is bruised because I know that is my biggest vein. She says ok. She tries again and the needle is in there a long time. She says she got some but barely, but it will do. THANK YOU LORD. So how many times was that, 6? what the heck!!! that was NOT COOL. Here’s a little pic that shows where the needle pricks happened, although you might not be able to see ALL of the prick attempts. I’m sure I’ll be bruised by later today – the phlebotomist did the needle shake and shift while in there to try and get the blood flowing 😦 Did I mention I hate needles?
So my last two attemps at blood draws, I drew somewhat of a crowd, my technician who did my ultra sound, and her assitant. They tell me a few tips that will help, so I thought I’d share:
- Drink plenty of water before you come to get your blood drawn. If you are doing IVF, your blood draws will most likely be early in the morning. Drinking lots of water the night before will help loads to keep your blood veins nice and plump.
- Be warm. It’s tricky in the summer but dress warm for the occasion. The technician told me that she used to carry gloves and would wear them on her way to her blood draw because she knew that even though her veins were big and there, they would just disappear when she was cold.
- If you’re like me with the early blood draws, you’re a get up and go type of girl. I don’t think I was all that awake when I got to get my blood drawn, which probably meant I wasn’t circulating like I normally do during the afternoons. I would suggest waking up early, eating a good breakfast and sipping on hot tea before going to your blood draw. This will ensure circulation and nice plump veins.
Saturday will be my Day 8 blood draw, at 8am. My stims are making me very tired so I’m already dreading not being able to sleep in on Saturday. But I’ll be sure to get up and get my blood a circulating because I do NOT want a repeat of this needle mess again.
P.S ICLW, LFCA and Cycle Sistas have been amazing! Thank you all for stopping by with your comments and following me on my journey!