IVF Round 1 Shots & Side Effects

Our First IVF Fail…Don’t Make This Mistake

How we managed to make our first night of IVF injections way more painful than necessary!

Shots. Injections. Needles. Pricks. Call them what you will, but the most feared part of any IVF cycle is the dreaded nightly shots that you self administer at home.

As described previously, the majority of these injections are subcutaneous (SubQ shots), and are given in the lower abdomen, right below the belly button. At only 27″ gauge, the needle of a SubQ is small and thin and delivers a quick sensation of “being pricked.” I’ve never been particularly squeamish about needles and I felt prepared to handle these small SubQ shots.

What I was feeling increasingly nervous about was my reaction to these injections. I’d never put such a high dosage of synthetic hormones into my body before – and certainly not whilst standing in my pajamas in the middle of my apartment.

So this brings us to our first night of “Stims.” I had read that establishing a relaxing routine for your nightly injections helps quiet the mind and ease the process. So I lit a candle.

“Why is this random candle lit?” my husband immediately asked. 

I blew out the candle. We then laid everything out in our living room where it felt comfortable and cozy. Next, we watched and re-watched the instructional videos from Freedom Teach on how to administer each injection. Then, I let husband take the lead and mix our first drug cocktail while I began icing my lower abdomen (which I read significantly helps reduce injection pain).

First up: 225 IUs of Menopur. As my husband was mixing the syringe I tried not to look over in his direction. I wanted to focus on my icing and my breathing and not psyching myself out. Perhaps this is why I was in absolute shock when he said, “Okay, it’s ready!” and began to approach me with an obscenely big needle. Like, comedically big.

“Is that really going in my stomach?” I laughed nervously.

“It looks bigger than it really is,” he assured me.

Then it was time and one-two-three:

Literally, Me.

The pain was so shocking that I actually shivered. And then it was over. As I stood there, I felt a sob quake my entire body and I realized that I was shaking. I yelled, “THAT. WAS. NO. SMALL. PINCH!” 

The pain was so shocking that I actually shivered.

I was fuming; I was crying; I was hurting. Is THIS what IVF is like? Could this be for real? From what I had read and researched, these nightly shots are supposedly no big deal – just a little prick and maybe some burning from the medication. I felt completely blindsided, ridiculously uninformed, and totally unequipped to handle the next 10-days of injections. I looked at my husband and his signature steady gaze had turned a bit wild. His eyes darted from the needle to my horrific expression to the goose egg lump now forming at the injection site. “I’m so sorry,” he winced. “Oh my god, I’m so sorry.” 

There was not much time for any hesitation because the next shot was ready to go and our window of time to administer it was closing.

Next up: 225 IUs of Gonal-F. This particular drug comes in a “Redi-Ject” pen, a preloaded injection syringe that makes preparation easy since there’s no mixing and measuring. The needle is thin and small. I closed my eyes and prayed it would feel thin and small.

One-two-three and…in one tiny prick, it was over.

Despite the success of the second injection, I was still smarting emotionally from that hellacious first shot. My entire stomach felt bruised and the large goose egg had begun to turn a deep red. I took a hot shower, applied some coconut salve, and tried to sleep – but I couldn’t calm the nervous energy inside me that kept asking: How am I going to get through this “gut-wrenching” shot every night? I don’t think I’m strong enough to do this.

“No.” I said out loud to the dark. “Something isn’t right.”

I flipped on the light, grabbed my computer, and immediately started researching Menopur injections. My query was simple: Why is the SubQ needle for Menopur injections so horrifically long and so barbarically thick?

And that’s when I found out: It’s NOT.

To my horror, I discovered that we had accidentally used something called the “Mixing needle,” rather than the SubQ needle for our first injection. Mixing needles are thick, long needles that are used for drawing and mixing the medication powder with the solvent. They are included amongst the bags and bags of SubQ needles and Intramuscular needles that are delivered to your home with the rest of your meds. Since none of these bags were labeled, and since the process is a bit overwhelming and completely new to both of us, my husband reached for the wrong bag of needles and didn’t even see the SubQ bag hidden among all of our supplies.  

Behold, the folly of our ways:

From L to R: Mixing needle, SubQ needle, Paper clip for scale.

I immediately woke up my husband to tell him the news and he looked just as horrified as I felt. Then we both got really quiet as we sat there thinking about the implications.

In terms of needles, size matters and we had just stuck a much thicker and aggressively-longer-than-it-needed-to-be needle right into my stomach. Did we mess up our drug protocol? More importantly, did we mess up my insides?

“I’m calling the hotline,” I reached for my phone.

“Quick! Call the hotline,” my husband jumped up and started pacing the floor.

The hotline for my IVF clinic is a 24-hour emergency number that you’re instructed to call for “dire reasons only.” At our IVF orientation class, a surly nurse made it crystal clear that if the “bat phone” rings in the middle of the night, it better be for something big. I never thought I’d be using it on day one of my IVF journey. But there was no time for embarrassment now.

The nurse who picked up the call was helpful, if not a little confused. Her reaction to our situation went like this:

Emergency Hotline Nurse: “Oh I see, so you accidentally used the Mixing needle, but you injected it into your butt. No? Oh I see, so you accidentally used the Mixing needle and tried to inject it into your stomach – but you couldn’t. No? Wait…So you injected the Mixing needle into your stomach and you put the WHOLE thing in? Oh, you poor thing!” 

After some reassurance (from her) and some crying (from me), we were told that all was going to be okay. The good news: We didn’t mess anything up in terms of my health or my IVF protocol. The bad news: We made it WAAAAY more painful than it ever needed to be. The silver lining: From this point forward, no shots will ever be as horrible as a Mixing needle to the gut.

We went to bed that night exhausted from the drama, but already starting to chuckle about our stupid mistake. Apparently we were both so nervous about starting these shots that we just went totally gangbusters on our very first day of IVF. You give us a task, and we’ll go HARDCORE with it – always. And this is why I love the team that we make. <3 

IVF Pro Tip: Always stick with your gut – before you stick it IN your gut – and double, triple check needle gauge dimensions because SIZE MATTERS.

20 comments on “Our First IVF Fail…Don’t Make This Mistake

  1. Candy

    I can’t believe this has no comments yet and I know this is kinda an old post. First of all, THANK YOU FOR SHARING. While I didn’t use the mixing needle (seriously, I’m so sorry!!!) I forgot to pinch with the menopur and was suddenly faint and worried I like injected my intestines. Good to know an actual medical expert said you would be ok.

    Second, this:
    “From this point forward, no shots will ever be as horrible as a Mixing needle to the gut.” Made me laugh and feel better about the whole situation. It was good to laugh as this is a bit of a trial! Then I felt bad about laughing. Then your next paragraph said you were chuckling too. 🙂

    Anyway thank you in two ways! Wishing you the best.

  2. Jessica

    Oooooh my GOSH!!! girrrrl. You handled your reaction to your husband stabbing you with that thing way better than I would’ve!! I can’t believe you guys didn’t go over that part with the nurse first? Our office had us do Ora five shots into a stress ball and that actually did help. ☺️ Menopur sucks. But you’re right about it becoming more “doable” over time. Not easy or less painful…just doable. 💕

  3. Anonymous

    Happened to me! Just last night. Thanks to your post, I didn’t freak out. I also put the mixing needle straight into my gut, all the way in, and was worried I pierced my inner organs or something. All is well. Phew!

  4. Anonymous

    I’m so sorry – but this is freakin HILARIOUS! I am literally crying because I can’t stop laughing.

  5. Anonymous

    Oh my god! Thank god I read your post! We start stim’s tonight and I’ve been looking at that needle thinking, “That’s going to be hell.”. Thank god it’s just the mixing needle. They didn’t fully explain that in the video I watched. THANKS!!!

  6. Danielle Pizarro

    You have no idea how much this post calmed my nerves!!! First timer here and my husband and I did the same thing! I’m a little bruised, but ok. So glad I bumped into this during my panic lol. Happy stimming to all who read this article 🙂

  7. Meera

    I should know better as this is my second cycle, but I was flustered because I couldn’t break the saline vial!
    Gosh was that painful!!!
    But I googled and luckily found this post so THANK YOU for putting my mind at ease 🙏🏽

    It doesn’t help that the needle colours don’t match the instructions given by our clinic. They really need to update those.

  8. Anonymous

    This made me feel so much better reading this! Day 1 of my shots started last night and my husband did the exact same thing. I felt that exact same shiver and dreadful feeling, and we were both panicked that we did something terribly wrong when we realized the mistake. Traumatizing experience but glad to see there are others who this happened to! Thanks for sharing

  9. Anonymous

    I used the long mixing needle by accident on the first injection as well!!

  10. Anon

    Ive actually been silently laughing hysterically reading this. Its so awful. Must have hurt like hell. Ive just been weeping on the sofa after the mixing needle fell apart in my hands and i panicked and injected way more concentrated menapor dose tonight so been frieking out i have messed up and was looking for help/reassurance/advice. I still may have messed up but this has made me feel a lot better. Thank you for sharing this so humorously and i hope the end result has worked out for you.

  11. Shanywany

    Yea I am here because I did the same thing last night. I knew I couldn’t be the only one. Tonight’s injections should be easy peasy now! 😊

  12. Audrey

    I did this last night! Happy to hear you called the hotline and we’re all still okay. The only small needles I had were Lupron- much smaller capacity so it took me THREE shots to get all the Menapur in tonight. Ugh..not sure which is better. 🤷🏽‍♀️

  13. Nidhi Arora

    Menopur is by far the most painful injection. It feels like it’s burning your internal organs. I can’t imagine what you would have felt with the mixing needle. So sorry 🙁

  14. Anonymous

    They give you too many different needles and syringes! It’s so overwhelming and confusing! At this point I’m about to trigger and have what seems to be 200 needles leftover. Wow, just wow. Plus Menopur is a more painful injection. What a way to start.

  15. Allison

    Oh my god this just happened to me! 😂😂 Beginners mistake.

  16. Angelita Sias

    I used the mixing needle 3 nights in a roll

  17. Jennifer Simmons

    OMG! I just didn’t the same thing last night and was like this cannot be right. Thank goodness I found your post!!

  18. Kristy

    Oh my gosh!! I literally just did the same exact thing!!

  19. Anonymous

    Your story just eased all of the anxiety I was feeling for having done the same thing just a few minutes ago. I was freaking out until I read this post. I was mixing two different medications and should have thrown the excess needles into the sharps before injecting either one, but I didn’t and attached a mixing needle (which also happens to be the same color grey as the right needle) that gets taken off the menopur syringe and not used and put it on my cetrotide syringe and into my belly it went. I used the cetrotide for the first time last night but I was at work while injecting myself so I was rushing and today I couldn’t remember if the needle was that big or not. Safe to say I’ll never do that again.

  20. Anonymous


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