Another step toward motherhood…

I have a needle phobia. Anyone who doesn’t have a phobia will find it hard to understand just what that means. When I need anything done that involves needles, its a major ordeal for me. I have to have someone go with me. Sometimes my doctor (or dentist) prescribes me Valium (which really doesn’t seem to help much…but I feel goooood after). I’m hysterical. I have panic attacks. I feel like the world is spinning out of control. And it makes me angry. I consider myself a very grounded, rational, and practical person. So to have this crazy fear of something like a little tiny needle, it just doesn’t make sense! But I’ve been this way since I was a teenager, so I’ve mostly avoided needles.

Now, I want to become a mother. More than that, I want to become a single mother. So no wonderful husband to work through this with me. I need to be able to go do this alone. So I started seeing a hypnotherapist. Me being a very rational (and kind of cynical) person, hypnosis was not something I had ever thought of doing. But I’ve gotta do something right? And when the problem is a totally irrational crazy fear…you’ve got to think out of the box.

I did 2 sessions of hypnosis. It wasn’t anything like I would have expected. She didn’t dangle a watch in front of my face or say “you are getting very very sleepy”. It was more like a guided meditation sort of thing. Very relaxing with a lot of positive imagery. Then she tells me, “Its time to see how you’re doing. I want you to have your blood drawn…alone.” Oh god! Deep breaths…

So I call my doctor’s office. You can’t just call and tell your doctor, “I’m in therapy and I need you to stick me with a needle.” So I just make an appointment. When I go to see my doctor, I lay it all out there. She was great. She’s like…let’s just run your cholesterol, your insurance will cover that.

So I sit down…I breathe deep…I close my eyes. Ok…so far so good. I’m not hysterical. And she sticks me, my heart is going to beat out of my chest. Then its over and I open my eyes. The world spins. The nurse is asking me if I’m ok, but I feel like she’s talking under water. My vision is blurred. Other nurses come into the room. They’re all buzzing around me. One gets me juice, one puts a cold towel on my neck, one props my feet up. They keep asking me if I’m there alone. I’m my muddled state, I want to scream “Yes! This is what the therapist TOLD me to do!” But I don’t, I’m just nodding slowly to their questions. 15 minutes later and I’m finally coherent enough for them to let me leave.

I feel totally defeated. I feel like I’ve failed. I even go to a baby consignment shop and look at the baby stuff to try and make myself feel better. But eventually I just go home and cry. My wonderful friends try to reassure me. They tell me it was a step in the right direction. And it was. But in the aftermath of a very emotional experience, its sometimes hard to see that.

2 days later, I’m back in the game. I scour the internet and find a group called Hypnobabies. They do hypnosis as a child-birthing method. On their website is a MP3 called “Needles are OK!”. I download it. I listen to it religiously. I listen to it once during the day and then I put it on as I’m trying to fall asleep. (I’m sure my dog has no needle fears whatsoever now) I continue going to see my hypnotherapist.

3 weeks later its time for my physical. I’m prepped. I’m ready. I’m terrified. But here I go again anyway. My doctor says “You feel up for blood work?” I give my most confident yes (it was probably a squeak) Next thing I know, I’m the “the chair”. You know the one…with the funny shaped armrest so they can stab you. The nurse remembers me. Oh good. I breathing deep, my heart is hammering, I’m doing my hypnosis trigger. She draws blood for what seems like forever. Then its done. I open my eyes. The room isn’t spinning! She asks me if I’m ok…I am ok! OMG! I stand up. I walk down the hallway. I see the nurse peek out to watch me and make sure I’m ok. (I love my doctor’s office) I’m kind of in a daze all the way out to my car. Then I’m calling everyone. I did it!!! I did it!!! I really really did it! I stopped and got a giant chocolate cupcake on my way home as a reward.

So I’m feeling accomplished. It was a step I felt like I had to take to reach my goal of motherhood. I think it’ll start to get easier now each time I have to have blood work. I think everyone has those steps toward motherhood that aren’t just Trying To Conceive. Some have to lose weight, some have to change jobs, move to a new place, change/break habits, get over fears. Whatever your steps toward motherhood, remember that no matter how scary they are, you can do them…and you can do them alone. If I can do this, anyone can.

Good luck on whatever steps take you to motherhood.


3 thoughts on “Another step toward motherhood…”

  1. Kudos to you! I was the same exact way. If I had to go for a blood test I always said no “chair” need a bed unless you want to see my on the floor. I had no idea how I would get through giving myself all those shots. I used to take Xanax before going for my blood tests but the doctor didn’t want me doing that with the shots. … Curse or Blessing… when I went to begin my IVF treatment my doctor tested my blood for everything, I was on the road to being a type II diabetic, a broken engagement gave me the excuse to put on 50 pounds which lead to this condition. The only way my doctors would allow me to move forward was to lower my sugar levels which meant working with a special dietician and test my blood sugar at wake-up and after every meal. Pricking my finger was a panic attack every time! Though I kept thinking of the goal, my own child. I dropped the 50 pounds and still need to test 3 times a day but the panic attacks did stop (most of the time) and that made it easier for the shots. In fact, those shots have prepared me for what it might feel like if I end up with gestational diabetes, the small needs in the end were not so bad.
    I did have my therapist do hypnotherapy with me too and taught me some techniques to help. Though I have to tell you it took me 1-1.5 hours each night to give myself all those shots on my first round of IVF. I did have wonderful friends and even my boss offered to do the shots for me but each night I thought what would be worse having them see me like that or just doing it on my own. I decided to do it on my own. My boss gave me the best tip ever she told me she used ice and held it tight to the spot before giving the shot. It made the whole area numb, night after night of not feeling the shots made it easier to not have a panic attack. Though I was only able to bring my time down to 30 minutes at that point… I know because I would set a timer and force myself to do it before the timer ran out.
    Anyway, my first attempt didn’t work and part of me said “why did you put yourself thru all that drama for nothing?” but I decided not to give up. By my second round of IVF I became a pro at the shots and they now only too 15 minutes at the most to administer.
    Net, Net I got my wish I am expecting and due this December. Every shot was worth it, every panic attack was worth it. Keep that in mind and you will only get better and better at it.
    The plus… I can have my blood drawn now and sit in THAT “chair.” No more sweating, no more turning white, no more being so embarrassed by the whole experience of a blood test.
    I wish you all the best! Keep up the good thoughts!

  2. I was always squeamish about needles too. I found it helps a great deal to look away. Fortunately, I cannot seem to feel much when they stick me.

    It was considerably more difficult to stick myself with a needle for the FSH injections. I might as well have been committing hara-kiri. The thought of asking someone else to do it seemed ridiculous. It should have been a simple thing that I could do myself!

  3. Wow. Major kudos to you for taking the steps to both move you toward motherhood and to make your life better in general when it comes to medical procedures. I’m so impressed and you must be very proud of yourself. Well done!

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