I am terrified by needles. Like sweaty palms, shallow breathing, I’d-rather-eat-shards-of-glass terrified of needles.
One time when my mother had to take me to urgent care, it took two orderlies to hold down my legs for them to get a blood sample so I didn’t buck myself right off the bed.
Now I put on a good show; I’m even able to carry on a conversation with a phlebotomist like a champ as she takes a sample. I, of course, have to avert my eyes and think of every distraction technique known to man in order not to freak out. Lately I’ve been trying to name all the NHL teams (I’m getting pretty good at it).
So when my fertility treatments recently advanced to the stage of giving myself daily injections, it was a bit of a concern, to say the least.
My doctor and the pharmacist gave me pamphlets and video links and all the things one needs to supposedly feel comfortable with this sort of thing. But, come on, who EVER feels comfortable sticking themselves with a needle?
So it was with barely contained panic when I had to give myself that first injection. I held it over my stomach and froze.
My poor husband, who is even worse than me when it comes to this type of thing (seriously, if this isn’t already a classified phobia, it should be named after him), looked green.
“I don’t know if I can do this,” I said, as I stared at the would-be injection site. “You might need to help me.”
He swallowed down what I can only imagine was a blood-curdling scream and said, “I will do it if you absolutely need me to.”
There was a moment then as I continued to stare at the needle, hovering inches above my skin. Could I do this? Could I overcome 36 years of terror? It’s not like I am diabetic and my life depends on this. But then another thought came: My life does depend on this.
I already know what I would do for my son, all the way up to taking a bullet for him. The thought of holding another baby in my arms is something I would go to the ends of the earth for.
And then I had my answer. I am capable of great strength, and this was no time to chicken out.
“This is for Baby, right?” I whispered, and poked the needle in.
And you know what? It didn’t hurt. At all. As in, I’m not deluding myself into thinking it didn’t hurt. It really didn’t. And I couldn’t have been prouder of myself. Suddenly all the doctor visits, blood draws, ultrasounds and injections don’t seem all that scary.
I can do this. I WILL do this and once I get that baby in my arms, every hurt in the world will have been worth it.
— Sarah Leach is editor of The Holland Sentinel. Contact her at (616) 546-4278 or email@example.com.