Connie N. is a married mother of 4 children and a two-time surrogate with Creative Family Connections. She delivered her first surrogacy in 2016, twins, to a same-sex couple. She is currently matched and getting ready to cycle again for her new Intended Parent, a single dad.
Patches, Pills, and Pointy Things
As a surrogate, one of my most important jobs is to follow strict instructions from the fertility clinic, whether the instructions be about diet (“I can’t eat what!?”), activity levels (“I can’t do what!?”, or medications (“You want me to stick that where!?”). No, really, it’s not that bad, but we surrogates have a job to do and being ready to follow the clinic’s requirements is a huge part of it.
During the early stages of my first surrogacy journey, it was pretty easy to keep up with the medication schedule because it was limited to a prenatal vitamin and a birth control pill. Once a day, easy peasy. But as we grew closer to that all-important transfer date, the medications started to increase. You should have seen my face when that substantial box of medications arrived in the mail! I was completely overwhelmed! Pill bottles, patches, needles the size of my face … But this is what I’d signed up for and what was needed to make my IPs’ dreams of a family into a reality, so I was all in and ready to go.
From that day on, shots, pills, patches, vaginal suppositories (there goes my dignity) … they all became an essential part of my day. Some medications had to be taken multiple times a day (pills mostly). Some had to be taken every couple of days (patches usually). It was a lot to keep track of. I eventually developed a system. I used a calendar to record when I was to start and stop medications, as well as the dose.
I can’t tell you how convienient it was to be able to look back at the calendar and determine when I had started certain medications and how much I was taking, especially when I graduated to an OB. I also recorded symptoms, side effects, appointments, cycle days, and bloodwork results in the calendar. Everything was in one place.
To keep track of when to take pills or do my shots, I utilized alarm or calendar apps on my phone. I’m proud to say that I never missed a pill or a shot, but that definitely required some creativity when I was out and about in the world during shot time!
I stored all my medications, with the exception of the ones that required refrigeration, in a box, like this.
Once a week, I would pull the box out and distribute my pills into a giant pill case by day and time. I had a smaller, travel-sized pill box that I’d stock if I was going to be out for the day. I’d count out the patches I’d need for the whole week, the injectible medications, the needles and syringes, everything, just to make sure I was fully stocked. I would have my calendar open to that week just to make sure I wasn’t supposed to start taking more of anything, since I’d have to work this varible into my calculations. It’s important to take note of any medications that you are getting low on as every round of bloodwork (and there will be many of those) will likely bring an increase or decrease in some medication dose, with little warning. Low medication inventory meant a call to the pharmacy to request a refill be sent.
Other things that I kept in my box were things like alcohol wipes for cleaning injection areas and injectible medication bottle tops, baby wipes for blood dribbles (“Well, this is inconvient.”), and Bandaids for the more stubborn bleeders (“Am I dying here?”).
Keeping everything in one place really helped me to stay organized. I would also suggest keeping the number for your pharmacy in your medication calendar for quick reference and find out how much notice they need to refill medications, because the medications usually come through the mail. And just an FYI, the pharmacy won’t sent you a massure to rub those progesterone knots out, no matter how many times you ask. Believe me, I tried.
Good luck, my fellow surrogates! May your shots be painless, your suppositories not be runny, and your pills not taste like moldy chalk. Baby dust to all.