It wasn't so much the actual stabbing or any kind of fear of needles or even the welts and bruises. But when I began waking up so many times every night in pain - whenever I rolled over, or my husband flopped his arm against me - I decided I just couldn't take it any more.
So, against my superstitious better judgment, I am switching from the PIO to progesterone suppository. I know there is a sort of hard-core IVF badge-of-honor tradition to the agony of the PIO injections. And sure, I get that after all it takes to even make it to this point, I should be willing to do whatever I have to in order to support a positive outcome. But waking up whimpering in pain six nights in a row has done me in.
It really wasn't so bad at first. Even though that needle is long, you don't feel anything past the surface nerves anyway. It's the swelling - and possibly a mild allergic reaction - that was my undoing. I could massage with a hot washcloth until I was sure there were no lumps of oil coagulating in my muscle, but there wasn't much to be done about the general swelling. I rotated sides, of course, and used different spots each time. But after a few weeks there just isn't any undamaged tissue left to puncture. The last few days I have had large pink spots on each hip, swollen tissue that is so sensitive that I have to wear soft elastic-waist pants and pretend I am just on my way to a yoga class all the time.
I know the suppositories have a bad rap - they leak, they itch, they ruin your panties. They can cause irritation that can lead to bleeding - and, thus, panic - and progesterone levels can't be reliably measured with a blood test since the effect is so localized. I was hoping to talk to my doctor about Claudia's secret sub-Q progesterone alternative, but since my appointment was canceled I decided I just couldn't go another week without a switch.
I've read a lot of studies that show no difference at all between intramuscular and intravaginal progesterone. Then there are studies showing that one is better, and studies proving that the other is better. There are even studies suggesting that no supplementation at all (past a positive beta) is just dandy. It's ultimately impossible to make the right decision based on all this vague information. Even though I used to be paranoid about changing anything or doing anything that might possibly cause some kind of disaster, I've been worn down by exhaustion and worry and the business of trying to stave off hope. So, I don't know. But I'm damn glad that I'm not icing my ass while I type this.