Adoption Physicals

We completed the ‘physicals’ step in our adoption home study last week. I made a comment about being freaked out by needles in my last home study-related post, and I wish I could say that the experience went easy-breezy, but it didn’t. It was more queasy-MEasy.

After a short wait in the waiting room, the door to our left swung open and we heard someone call out, “Palmer!“. I wasn’t feeling too nervous at this point, but I was relieved that they were allowing us to go back to the panic room, I mean, examination room together.

I tweeted this Instagram photo while we were waiting for the needle, I mean, nurse to come in:

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 8.44.54 AM

Shortly after that, we heard a knuckle knock-knock on the door and the nurse came in to get the party started. I could feel my pulse quicken as she began to wrap the death gripper, I mean, blood pressure checker around my left arm. “118 over 83. Whew. Maybe I’m not as nervous as I thought.

After that, she handed us little plastic cups and pointed to the restrooms. I won’t go into detail about this part of the process, but I will say that I am currently smiling as I type this thinking about Kevin wandering the hallway with his sample because he didn’t know where to put it when he was done. (Don’t worry, I introduced him to the little two-sided cubby door in the wall- ha!)

After that, another nurse came in to draw our blood.

Re-cue: Anxiety.

I casually-with-a-internal-side-of-very-seriously mentioned, “some friends said I should ask for a butterfly needle”, as she snapped the tourniquet around my upper arm.

I concentrated on breathing. I forced a smile, and when she turned away to prepare the needle I tried to use mental telepathy to get a message over to Kevin: “I don’t think she got the butterfly thing! Should I be saying something else about the butterfly thing?!“. He just mouthed, “You’re okay. It’s gonna be okay.

Needle nurses never have an easy time with my veins. They hide, they roll…they fight that needle like they’re allergic to it. The last time I had blood drawn, it took three different nurses and six different sticks. No joke. Total swiss cheese moment, for realz.

It took longer for my tube to fill up than Kevin’s, but it only took one stick, and it didn’t hurt that bad, so I was pretty smiley at this point. But then all of a sudden, my arm started hurting from my elbow down to my hand. I asked Kevin if his hurt, and when he responded, “no“, I yanked my sweatshirt back off to see what was wrong.

The area around the needle hole was swelling with a quickness, and needless to say, I was instantly allergic to smiling, too.

The doctor came in a second later and I immediately went into full, “what the heck is going on with my arm” mode. He apologized, and told me that needle must have gone all the way in and through my vein. He also told me to apply pressure for the next five minutes, and was happy to oblige when I made him look me in the eye and (truthfully) repeat the words, “you are not going to die“.

So here we are, a week later. I’m still alive, but man is my arm sore from the elbow down.  I’ve got a hard bump the size of a bird egg next to the sticking point, and I’m still black and blue (and yellow and green), but I’m thinking things will be back to normal with it soon.


The next step of our home study involves reading a book called The Connected Child and taking a 10-hour adoption course online. Yay! Reading and writing! I’m definitely not allergic to that.


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  1. Debi says

    OUCH!!!! I can so relate. My veins do the same thing, and I’ve come home with nasty bruises. BUT, your bruise looks so sore!!!! A little bit of heat – sit in the tub, read the book and soak your arm!

    So glad things are progressing well for you. I know it must seem like a LOT, but the end will be so worth it!!!


  2. says

    You nailed my needle anxiety to a t! Even reading your post proved anxiety proviking. I lay down for all needles. My last surgery after multiple nurses poking me they called in the anethesiologist who had to use a pediatric needle! Ick.

    Good luck with your adoption process! Three of my 5 siblings were adopted and my oldest child was, too.

  3. Laura says

    Oh sweetie! Your veins must be even worse than mine! I was a nurse, and I didn’t mind sticking laboring women for a half-gallon of blood, but I CANNOT WATCH when mine gets drawn. I get dizzy, too. And I’m not sure that the butterfly really helps. Digging is digging in my opinion (and that of my soon-to-be-bruised, no-I-have-not-been-attacked-and-beaten arm)! Here’s to a bruise-free rest of the adoption process! And I’m glad Kevin understands the drive-thru specimen window now!

  4. Allison A. says

    Bless your heart girl. I’m sorry you got a big bruise but happy to hear the stick part wasn’t too bad. Butterfly? What’s this you speak of? I may need to ask for that myself. I get blood work done a lot and bruise too so I think your ordeal may have just inadvertently helped a sista out.

  5. kelly says

    Try drinking pineapple juice for the bruising. I can relate because I hate needles! I have to wear sunglasses whenever I have to get one. It really does help for some reason. Next time give that a shot!! Lol no pun intended.

  6. says

    I feel your pain. I have the same problem and nurses have to use the butterfly needles on me every time. I did find out at my last blood draw that they DO NOT HAVE TO take it from the bend in your arm. It’s not a law or anything! They took it from a vein halfway between my elbow and my wrist and it was, without a doubt, the easiest draw I’ve ever had. I’ve decided that if I ever move, I’m taking that nurse with me.

    Good luck with the adoption!

    • COEngrGirl says

      @Tarisa – So True! They can also do the back of your hand or your foot, if necessary. I’m also needle phobic from having a traumatic blood draw as a kid, so the first thing I say to the phlebotomist is that if I see the needle, I’ll hyperventilate, which it true. Then, they only get one try. No multiple sticks by the same person. If the 1st person can’t get it, then need to bring in the BEST person they’ve got! @Layla, so glad it’s over with! You and Kevin will rock out the next stage!

  7. says

    Eck! I hate needles too. I once passed out at the health department after getting shots. And I have never given blood. Most of the women in my family can’t for some reason…Anyway so glad you made it. Reading is definitely better than needles. You all are in my prayers

  8. Marianne in Mo. says

    Oooh, reminds me of the first (and ONLY) time I decided to give blood. Hurt like the dickens! The next day I was black and blue all the way from above the elbow to mid-forearm, and all the way around to the other side. I had to see the doctor a few days later for an allergy shot, and when he saw my arm, he was shocked…which I now think is funny! I mean, I actually shocked a doctor! :0)) He thought I should file a complaint with Red Cross, because I had some serious pain. But I just decided they weren’t going to get any more of my blood, unless they could guarantee I would not have that experience again! I was never fearful of shots, and still am okay with it, but every time I get poked I’m wondering how it will go. Sometimes they can’t get the spot they need, and I start having anxiety right away!
    Word of advice…keep it moving, it helps with the soreness!

  9. rebeckah says

    Layla – READ EVERY WORD OF THE CONNECTED CHILD…then re-read it…then watch the Karen Purvis videos ….then read it again. (Then maybe one more time for good measure) I will be honest – I skimmed it when we were waiting. I kind of took it with a grain of salt when our sw told us to educate ourselves as much as we could about toddler grief- then we brought our greiving toddler home and our world turned upside down. For the first 6 months home I clung to that book – but reading it when you are sleep deprived and emotionally fragile isn’t nearly as good. If I had one thing I could have done differently about our adoption that woudl have been it. Read all you can on adjusment and grief. Seriously. Seriously.

    • Lauren H says

      I agree! – read The Connected Child as many times as you can before your child comes home! Read it enough times that you are dreaming about it, that you quote Karyn Purvis in your sleep. The go the an Empowered to Connect conference and listen to Karyn and take notes and then read the book again. Then buy the videos and watch them, then watch them again. I have 2 boys adopted from Ethiopia and ETC and Purvis’ work changed our lives!
      And I am so sorry about your arm – I had a reaction to one of the vaccines for travel to Ethiopia. My arm was so sore I wore a tank top in the middle of winter (in South Dakota!). I feel your pain! It’s the pain of bring our kids home. :)

  10. says

    Awww, you poor thing! That looks so uncomfortable! Nurses always have a hard time getting a vein on me. One tip I was given is to drink a ton of water beforehand. Also, the nurses at my OB are the only ones who don’t make me queasy when they draw blood and I think it’s partly because they sit down at your height to draw blood. Everywhere else I’ve gone, they stand over you and then they dig and dig, but these nurses usually get me on the first try. I hope this is your last blood draw for a while. It’s no fun for sure!

  11. says

    Layla! The next time you have to get blood drawn, you need to ask for a butterfly needle for your HAND. It sounds like it would hurt more or be a crazy suggestion, but trust me, all nurses have learned to take blood this way. Seriously, I’ve had blood taken like that my whole life and it’s okay. Still hurts. Still scary. But there’s never a chance they can’t find a vein or the vein will hide (there’s no where for it to go)! I also find it helps to pump up the veins in your hand my keeping your hands super warm (like hold them against a hot drink) and make sure you are super hydrated. Seriously, it will make it not hurt so much! :-)

  12. Anastasia says

    Layla, Please don’t suffer in pain. Get some Emla Cream. I also do not like needles and this has been a God send.

    • Sherri, RN says

      EMLA cream (topical anesthetic) is available only by prescription and should be applied 45 mins to one hour prior to venipuncture. For best results, place a small piece of plastic wrap over the cream after application.

  13. Sandy says

    When my husband and I went to get our marriage license in Wyoming Years ago…he knew we were having blood drawn, I did not. They took us into separate rooms across the hall from each other. I yelled across the hall…YOU knew about this right? Good thing I love you!!
    We celebrate 30 years next month. Hard times and good times…he was worth it. Your little one will be worth it ALL!!

  14. Nancy says

    When you check in at the clinic, you could mention that you have difficult veins and it would be really appreciated if you could have the most experienced person available to do the blood work. At least you are less likely to get a greenhorn poking around. I find deep breathing helps control the anxiety when going for blood work, especially if I inhale deeply just as the needle is going in. It gives me something to concentrate on instead of what they are doing. I also slouch down in the chair so I am as reclined as I can be without falling out. Ideally lying down is the best. At least the worst part is over and you’re one step closer to your dream coming true.

  15. Siobhan says

    Great job! And you even managed it without a butterfly!

    For what it’s worth…it helps to drink a few glasses of water within a few hours of getting blood drawn…makes it easier sometimes. (And you’ll be sure that you have to pee on command then too!)

    Even though I don’t know you personally, I got a little laugh out of imagining your hubby wandering the halls with his cup! I still remember when my son (when he was 9), came back to the examination room, and announced to me that he succeeded in filling the cup all the way to the top! lol

  16. Rachel Carey says

    I’m not needle phobic….but I hate, with a passion, IV’s….I always feel dizzy! Whoever invented injections vs medicine was a genius, I’ll take one little prick any day. IV’s…and I’m curled up feeling sick.

  17. says

    Hi Layla~Just a little advice for your next blood drawing session. Let them know the second the call your name that you need to have some type of heat applied to your arm about five minutes before the draw. Some places just wrap the arm in a warm blanket. Some use a warm bag of rice. Once this is done, the blood can be drawn much more quickly.

  18. Barbara says

    I am a HUGE needle phobic. Here are my tricks –
    Drink plenty of water starting a few hours before hand.
    Music and headphones – something soothing,
    lie down if possible.

  19. Michelle says

    Did you have to get any other testing done? I pass out even looking at a needle, and as far as other *ahem* girly exams, avoid as much as possible!!

  20. Angela says

    Ooh what a fun experience! The things we’ll do for our babies! ;) I had a nurse do the same thing when I was in labor with my 2nd baby…I’m a queasy measy too & the blood all over the floor didn’t help the whole labor experience! Hopefully that’s the last of the needling for you…at least for some time! :)

  21. says

    I cringed, had anxiety and got nauseous just reading this – I’m terrified of needles! I can’t even look when I take my dog to the vet because I feel like I’ll pass out!!

    It’ll totally be worth it though!! Enjoy reading your adoption story process.

  22. says

    It’s interesting reading your process. My husband and I have adopted from Russia and were starting a second adoption when they banned the U.S. over the holiday season. It’s curious that you’re process is a little different though. We had to have our exam and several other things completed before even meeting with a social worker for our home study report. It’s nice that you’re getting to do things after your meetings, keeping the process moving.

    I’m sorry if it’s mentioned and I didn’t notice, are you pursuing an international or domestic adoption?

    Enjoy the training and the book!

  23. says

    A physical? It makes sense, but I never thought of it.
    So, my question for you is this: do you prefer six sticks and no after effect or one stick and a goose egg with bruising? Yikes! Either way sounds dreadful! All this adoption talk made me think of an adoption story for you. I got to witness one for people I didn’t even know. I’ll let you know when I finally write it out.

  24. debbie r says

    now i have another reason to be scared to get my blood taken. i didn’t even know that could happen!!

  25. says

    Your story makes me so nervous! We have our first foster (to adopt) class this weekend. I know we will have to get physicals and blood work soon – hope I don’t pass out.
    At least we know it will all be worth it in the end!

  26. says

    uggghhhhhhhhhhhhh, another reason why we are friends. I make enemies in doctors offices all the time because I have the same issue and I insist on having the ONE nurse who knows how to deal with me. They should be happy. Just give me the right nurse and you won’t have to pick me up off the floor. You have a problem with that? LOL
    Glad it’s over. Your arm looks horrid.

  27. chrissi says

    Oooh, that happened to me once, on my hand. All the nurses gathered around to see the damage, which scared me even more. Love a good bedside manner. All I got out of the deal was a lot of pain and a lovely purple hand, but you and Kevin get to move one step closer to your new family. So worth it.

  28. Kelley says

    Layla – I just love you and your anxiety. I am the.most.anxious.person.alive! So it’s so nice to hear there are others just like me. I had to have surgery a few months back and I just about drove my doctor crazy with questions. I even interogated the anesthesiologist – asking him his age, how long he’s “knocking people out”, and what are the worst case scenios! That stuff freaks me out:(

  29. Erika says

    I just received a copy of the Connected Child with the workbook in the mail, and man was I excited. A friend of mine (after reading a plethora of material on the subject) said that it is by far the best resource she has found. It has proven to be the most beneficial for their adoption experience. Anyway, all that to say, I think it is awesome that your adoption agency recommended and encouraged you all to make this a step to your adoption process…seems vital. I have yet to dive into the reading because after receiving it my husband agreed that it is equally important for him to go through it as well. Bonding hasn’t been as smooth sailing with our latest adoption, so we need all the encouragement we can get:). Love your updates! -erika

  30. Annie says

    You can definitely REQUEST a butterfly but that doesn’t mean you will get it. For some reason they take that as an insult and then set out to prove they can get your blood with a regular needle. So many stories. So sorry you are hurting. Drawing blood is definitely a talent that few have. Did you know they can numb the area prior to digging around for your vein? Why keep that a secret?

    • Cookingmel says

      Agreed! I also ask for the most experienced/whomever is feeling the luckiest if there is a choice of people drawing that day. I actually have a guy that I “stalk” around town that always gets me on the first poke… :o)

  31. says

    Yeah – I’ve got a few of those stories from Dr’s rooms as well – not fun! Generally, anytime something sharp comes into the picture it isn’t pretty over here ;) Glad to hear you made it through!

  32. says

    Well, my good gracious, girl! I am sending up a prayer asking our sweet Jesus to heal that arm up quick…and maybe to keep those needles away from you for a while ;).

  33. Dawn says

    After years of infertility treatment and blood draws I have scars on both my arms in that little crook of my arm. (I should mention my two kids were totally worth it!) however I ALWAYS tell them (tell!) them to use the butterfly needle in the back of my hand. SO much easier and you look tough because the world can see your bandaid!

  34. Rebecca says

    Oh, you poor dear! I am a hard prick too, and now I may be a bit more nervous next time I have blood drawn. Hope you are feeling better.

  35. says

    going through IVF so I’m no stranger to needles (have to inject yourself twice a day in the stomach for a fortnight initially, and then many many blood tests after that) and I still have a small bruise from a blood test a week ago. But I had no idea that could happen! Hope the pain eases soon!!

  36. Brooke Rash says

    I’m cracking up at Kevin walking down the hall with his cup of urine! Sounds like something Jason would do!

  37. Gwen says

    We have family members awaiting a referral from So. Korea. They were fortunate enough to attend a Connected Child conference last weekend & they can’t stop talking about all they learned. See if you can find one in your area.

  38. Courtney says

    I am glad you are posting your experiences. We are in the middle of our first adoption (4th child) and seeing your posts have encouraged me to get going on the process when I feel like quitting! Glad you braved the needle. Your child is totally worth it! That is what I keep telling myself while feeling completely overwhelmed by the process to adopt. I am very excited for your family!

  39. Cookingmel says

    Hi Layla~ I read your blog all the time and really enjoy the little slice of your lives together that you share here. I just wanted to say how sorry I am about your experience. I can totally relate… I’ve had draw after draw just like yours. It doesn’t help that my one good arm is completely scarred after 5 years of infertility treatments. Try a warm compress on your bruise/arm… it might help. A warm compress also helps right after, as does wrapping your arm all the way around with a bandage at the draw site for an hour or so after having your blood drawn. I hope it gets to feeling better soon. Best of luck with your adoption journey. And a quick shout out for the Canton IKEA. That’s my “local” IKEA (an hour drive for me) and I was so excited to hear you were in my stomping grounds recently!


  40. Jennifer R. says

    I do not know you, but I visit your blog from time to time. You were brought to my mind a few times today. Just wanted to let you know that I was praying for you all today. God knows your needs and your concerns. He hears and is answering. Keep seeking, knocking and asking. God bless.

  41. says

    I’m with you…I don’t like needles. My advice is this…I always lie down on the bed thingy not seat in the seat. I always lie down while they prep and I have my eyes closed the entire time until it is finished. I had my first blood test at 38 and when I was pregnant at 40 and 42, let me say that there are so many more “taking blood” and needles that you just have to do it. My last blood test I actually sat up and had it done but I had to fast for 12 hrs but it was about 10am in the morning by the time I dropped the kids off, found the place I had to go and sat in the queue so I fainted once she started…when I woke up with her slapping my face gently I said did you get it ” and she replied” no…because you are dead weight when you faint so she had to look after me rather than the had to start all over again. I even had my little vegemite sandwiches ready to eat after the blood test but it was too long not to eat so I stand by my…….lie down, close your eyes and tell them you have to do this and wait until it is finished. It’s the only way for me. Regards Kathy A, Brisbane, Australia

  42. says

    Reminds me of the feeling every time I go to the doctor and have a series of tests including needles being poked on my skin. It’s so annoying to bear the anxiety and the pain of course. But in your case, I guess being poked by needles is going to be worth it once you succeed in your adoption process. Still, I could have fainted myself as I am really, really allergic to needles. Looking forward to your next post.

  43. melaniek says

    I am also a horrible stick, it took 3 nurses with my last c-section and 5 sticks to get my IV in and the one that did work? Well it managed to spray the nurse with blood and I felt so bad about it, like I aimed it there! I have learned that there are some people who are just really good sticks, and thankfully the nurse at my doctors office is one of them since I get my blood drawn 3-4 times a year for anemia. She rocks, one stick I dont need a butterfly and its all good. There are others who are not so good!

  44. says

    The Connected Child is awesome. Soak it all in. And, if you have a chance, attend one of Dr. Purvis’ “Empowered to Connect” conferences and/or view her videos. Have I somehow missed where you’re adopting from? I can’t recall reading that. I know you’re with Lifeline (as am I). If you are adopting from Ethiopia, we have a private Facebook page for families….email me at movedtomove @ gmail for an add.

  45. says

    The blood draw during my adoption physical was pretty awful too. I almost passed out! My veins are hard to find too so I always cringe when the process starts. The nurse did a HORRIBLE job. She stabbed and jabbed and kind of got into a vein but it obviously wasn’t in right because it really hurt and was taking FOREVER to fill the vial. That’s when I started getting hot and woozy and almost passed out. She finally pulled the needle out, gave me a few minutes to rest and then used a butterfly in the back of my hand. That one didn’t go great, but it was at least better than my arm. Hate, hate, hate having blood drawn! I tried fertility treatments for a while and I told my husband I was going to have PTSD from all the blood draws!

  46. says

    OH MY! I can totally relate! This is my experience almost every time. And everyone thinks “they” are the ones that are going to get it right the first stick. I suffered from severe Postpartum Preeclampsia with the birth of my daughter (our only child). When we were in the ER after be 36 hours of being released from the hospital after giving birth, they attempted 15 times to put in an IV (this included 3 collapsed veins and one burst vein). One nurse came in and said she was going to put an IV in my neck! That’s when I rudely said “Ah, no you are not, get out”! Hormones:-) In the end I ended up with a PICC Line (may you never and if you do, tell them to knock you out). I recently had to have some blood work done and they took 17 vials of blood! That was severe anxiety. Lucky me, she was good and it only took 3 sticks. Congrats on your adoption process! I will be intrigued to hear how this adoption process goes! Needless to say, due to our past pregnancy we have considered adoption, but are scared of the process and cost for that matter. Looking forward to future posts. Thanks for sharing! Sorry about your experience…it does stink. But secretly I am glad to know I have a vein twin out there! :-)

  47. says

    Maybe one of those ALERT bracelets should be considered to avoid future incidents. So sorry you had to endure this experience.

    I am excited about your adoption and feel like a grandmother awaiting my first great grandchild . . .

    Blessings to you and your future . . .

  48. Lisa K. says

    I’m also a butterfly-needle-gal! So can relate! You’re brave! And your child will be so blessed by that!

    Thank your for sharing your journey!

  49. says

    Awful!! I had the same thing happen to me back in my poor college days when I was donating plasma! My arm started getting super warm and BIG and I got all flustered and cried out “um! nurse! ummmm, my arm!!” Ya, not a big fan of needles myself. And I never donated plasma again :)

  50. says

    I don’t know if this was already mentioned, but in my experience – and I have had arms looking like yours after having blood drawn, I found out that most of the bruising, for me, comes from pressing down on the cotton ball too tightly afterwards and bending your arm like they do in the movies. My new thing is to not press down on the cotton at all and let my arm hang down and just check that the bleeding has stopped, which it does do pretty quickly. That has really brought down bruising for me. Maybe you can use that tip…
    Good luck with everything!

  51. Donna Lohr says

    You are so brave! I can feel your pain…I have those same veins! I had second thoughts about getting married when I found out we had to have blood work done first! Not really, well kind of not really. :)

  52. says

    Needles and I have a bad history as well. Two pregnancys and many holes later and I avoid them as much a possible. I think the worst was six times. It was not pretty. 1st time I gave blood they nicked my vien and I had what you had happen. It was not plesent. I envy people and their easy viens…

  53. Joyce says

    I used to work at a blood center. The nurse should have instructed you to alternately apply warm and cold compresses to the site. That will lessen your discomfort.

  54. says

    Praise God I have pretty good veins, but I also get crazy nervous before blood draws. I have a few tricks. 1. Drink plenty of water beforehand. I want nice, poppy, hydrated veins. 2. Pinch myself. Seriously, I’ll pinch my leg, arm, whatever. Something about it calms me down. 3. Babble like an idiot. My husband says I exaggerate, but I do tend to babble about whatever nonsense comes into my head. I figure the butterflies are better out than in :) 4. Relax my hand/arm. I used to get sore arms from even a tiny little stick. As soon as the needle goes in I have to relax. Otherwise I get pretty sore. I also don’t carry anything heavier than a sheet of paper with that arm for about an hour afterwards.

    Anyway, I’ve always had pretty good results, but that’s how I deal with the needle anxiety.

  55. Pat Richter says

    It is all worth it. Our daughter is now 21 years old and we adopted her 20 years ago. The first 24 hours of having her in our home was panic because our life changed in an instant. I cried so hard and wanted to send her back (I was temporarily insane) But that next day I feel in love and would not change a second of time being her mom. She completed our life and has brought us joy.
    I wish you all that joy and love!

  56. says

    I laughed out loud about what Kevin did with his pee cup- I did the SAME THING!!! I felt like such a loser and told my husband that im never going back to the doctors office… Which made him laugh and roll his eyes… Little does he know how serious I am ;). Needless to say, I am glad I am not the only person ever to not know what to do with the ‘cup”! ( I actually roamed the hallways with it before I found a nurse… so embarrassing :). I hope your arm feels better soon!!! I can imagine it does not feel very nice :(. Your sweet P is so worth it all!

  57. Susannah says

    I remember our son and daughter in law going thru all of this twice! Most recently last year, but as they say too, it is all worth it. We have two beautiful grandsons from Korea. They are the apple of our eye!!

  58. says

    I feel your pain. I have the same pathetic veins. I usually get stuck a minimum of three times before they strike pay dirt. A butterfly will usually work well for me when they draw blood, but with any kind of medical procedure they never have a butterfly or a pediatric needle. Best wishes to you and Kevin in the future.

  59. says

    Oh bless your heart! I was having sympathy anxiety just reading this… I hate having blood drawn! And I’ve had three kids, so you would think that needles wouldn’t phase me. :)
    CHeck it off the list, my friend — on to more FUN stuff!
    xo Heidi

  60. says

    Oh my gosh, I am so sorry you had to get stuck and had such a reaction to it. I am a seasoned fainter when it comes to needles. I get horrible vaso-vagal reactions and will pass out in a nanosecond if I don’t 1) put my feet up or lay down and 2) drink something sugary during the process. I always try to drink a lot beforehand because the nurses tell me that it “plumps up” your veins. Who knows if that’s true, but it’s worth a shot! Glad you are done with the poking part of things!

    • Layla says

      Thank you, Jessica. :-) I didn’t really have a reaction to it- the nurse stuck the needle all the way THROUGH my vein, which is why I’m all bruised and sore. I would’ve been fine if the needle had only gone INTO my vein- LOL! :-D

  61. says

    I will say a prayer you are ok, I am sure you will be. And my mom used to have the problem of them not finding a vein, so if there is ever a next time that you have to give blood, make sure you initially, before-hand, ask for an “experienced” person, who has taken blood a lot. Also relay the story you’ve just been through with going through the vein, that will scare any future clinic and they will watch out for you! Well, with this story, at least you can show your child and say, “Look what I had to go through to get you, you’d better appreciate it.” (only kidding) But I must say you were very funny with your story of panic room:examination room and needle:nurse coming in, etc. ;)

  62. Denise Gebalski says

    Next time….if there is, don’t let them poke you unless you are sure it is a butterfly. just Say No! Not much you can do about the bruise except try Arnica. The color goes away much faster with it. Just think of this as your form ” of Labor”. Only yours is coming in bits and pieces instead of many long painful hours! Be calm and carry on. You both are doing great : o)

  63. angela says

    I’ve had a few folks that have gone through my veins through the years, and it definitely doesn’t feel good. I’m sorry that happened to you!

    And I promise, there’s nothing wrong with your veins! No such thing as rolling, no such thing as hiding. There are just a lot of unskilled professionals out there. I’ve had some horror stories too! But, I also promise.. you are not going to die ;)

  64. Jeannie Lenefsky says

    Layla: I too have needle anxiety. The phlebotomist ( needle sticker guy) told me that I should drink LOTS of water the day before I go to the doctor. I tried it and it was much better. Still don’t like it, but it worked!

  65. Sallie says

    So sorry for your experience with the blood draw. I had to have a needle put in for chemo today. The nurse took one look at my arm which was black and blue in several places from pokes the day before. I asked her to use a butterfly and told her what a difficult job it was to get a blood draw from me because of my tiny veins that moved. She said not to worry, that she was better than the others had been. It may sound like bragging to the casual observer, but those words put me completely at ease and she got it quickly on the first try. The trick was that she first heated my hand with something that looked like an ice pack that turned warm when she massaged it for a moment. She said it should be used every time for questionable veins. Please ask for it next time and know that you do have the right to ask for the best “stick” in the office. Please do–some are just more talented and you have a right to have yours done by that person the first time round–not have that person called in when no one else can do it and you have gone through totally unnecessary pain!

  66. brenda says

    I HAVE HAD THE SME THING OCCUR WITH THE ROLY POL VEINS AND FINALLY have learned to open my mouth at an stage that I think they are ignoring my option of having the butterfly. It is your arm and your discomfort for days after. My dr said speak up and I d. Hope you will feel more comfortable with insisting in the future.

  67. Lisa S. says

    I have the same problems that you have with the veins. I had a nurse tell me if I drink plenty of water before I come in for the blood draw it will make for a easier “stick” and helps with the plastic cup/bathroom thingee. The water will hydrate you. I have found this helps a whole lot. They can never get my veins in the arm. Now, I tell the nurse that I am a difficult stick and please use a small butterfly on the top of my hand. If they insist on trying to stick me in the arm, I will not allow it. I just tell them that I have tried many times in the past, however, no one has been successful getting blood from the arm. I do not want to try anymore, Please use the butterfly on top of my hand. Thankfully most of the nurses have been understanding.

  68. Cyndia says

    Ouch! So sorry about your difficult experience with the blood draw! Definitely insist on having someone with loads of experience to take your blood next time. My hubby has lymphoma and we learned quickly to speak up, as his veins roll too and are now very scarred from the chemo.
    I’m concerned about that hard spot around the puncture site that you mentioned. I’d suggest calling the doc first thing to ask about the possibility of a blood clot, which can be serious. I’ve gotten two from blood draws and they’re nothing to mess with. In the meantime use lots of hot compresses.
    Wishing you well on the adoption process! Y’all will be great parents!

  69. Sheila says

    Bless your heart!
    I hate needles too, and have the small tiny little veins that have a tendency to hide as well. But Layla here’s the truth, your so called nurse didn’t know what she was doing. I admit there are some of us that have somewhat difficult veins to jab but if that person is trained and experienced in what they do there should be no trouble. This is my new rule whenever I need to have blood drawn, no more than 3 tries. If you can’t get it by the third stick I’m outta there. And sad but true, doctors will hire most anyone to pass off as a nurse. I know because I worked in the medical field for many years. I could tell you stories that would make you cringe. The truth is she may have been working at McDonald’s last week flipping burgers.
    And there is no such thing as veins that roll. They’ll tell you that after they have stuck you numerous times to make it appear it’s your fault. Now next time you ask for someone with years of experience. Don’t be afraid of hurting someones feelings. You’re probably to sweet for your own good. You must take charge of your well being. It took me a long time to do this. But as I get older and wiser I don’t really care so much what people may think of me. You know, most people just take for granted that when you go to a doctor or a hospital that you are being cared for by professional’s who know what they’re doing. Not necessarily so. So you do your research. I hate it that you had this bad experience and had a vein blown. If there is ever a next time please don’t rely on the mental telepathy. Very loud with a stern voice ask for your butterfly needle, or I’ve been told to ask for a pediatric size that are used on children and I always do… Good Luck!!!
    I’m hoping and praying that God will soon bless you both with a beautiful healthy child. He or she will be one very lucky little one.

  70. Dawn L. says

    That has happened to me before. I have the same vein issues. I was just happily giving blood…and after a couple of sticks it seemed to be going well, but very slow…and then, surprise! hematoma (sp?) the size of a goose egg. It took FOR-ever to completely go away. Annoying. Somewhat painful…but I did manage to give blood many more times after that, so I guess I got over it. Glad you made it through another step!

  71. says

    This makes me feel lightheaded just reading your post. I am totally needle phobic too… but just wait until you have that precious child of yours and you will laugh at how worthwhile even the yuckiest of hoops you had to jump through were.

  72. Beth Nolan says

    Girl…. You have a way with words. I was laughing so hard and felt like I was right there with you until…. I saw the picture of your arm. Yikes!!! When you get that baby it will all be worth it! Praying for you. I am coming from orlando to Montgomery next weekend. Maybe I will bump into you. My son in law owns the Benjamin Moore store there called new look. I have a design store in there too stop by some time. Tell em Beth sent you!

  73. JoAnn says

    I am glad that is over! That happens to me every time I have blood work…. drink lots of water before you visit next time… 5 glasses if you can! No coffee! It does help, sometimes!

  74. says

    Layla, I’m a little late to comment on this post, and I know you’ve gotten good advice already, but I just thought I’d share this tip that may insure that you get a butterfly needle if you have to get blood drawn again. (I’m the breast cancer survivor who has to have multiple lab tests all the time…) When the lab appt is made, let them know that you will need someone there who is experienced at using butterfly needles (you can also clarify it by saying it is the type used on pediatric patients). Not all lab techs have much experience with them, and if they don’t, they usually don’t want to use them. (My phlebotomist friend taught me this.) When you arrive for your appt, remind them again (with a smile) that you will need a lab tech who can use a butterfly needle. Then, if the lab tech says you don’t need one because your arms are big enough or whatever, just say that you appreciate their skill, but you have had very difficult experiences in the past with pain, arm swelling, etc and you called ahead of time and made sure that it was noted on your records that you require a butterfly needle. Hopefully they will get one at that point, but if they don’t have one available, you can thank them and tell them that you will reschedule. Usually, someone is around who is used to drawing blood with butterfly needles. If they say it will take longer to use a butterfly (because the blood flows slower through the tiny tube), don’t let that discourage you. It may take a few seconds longer, but it doesn’t hurt nearly as bad! Honestly, if you have a lab tech who uses butterflies a lot, you may not even feel anything! The needles in butterflies are really tiny and might just feel like they put their fingernail on you, if that. They really, really do make a difference! I hope this helps, Layla. Also, before they begin the draw, consciously drop your jaw and exhale with long breath while dropping your shoulders at the same time. (Practice that ahead of time…in the waiting room, even.) That is a technique I teach preggos to help with labor pain. Relaxing the jaw and shoulders will help release tension in the upper body and can lower stress & cortisol levels. That will help relieve pain and will increase pain tolerance at the same time. Stress hormones increase pain (from whatever source), so learning how to release and relax will go a long way toward helping relieve pain and tension. I hope this helps! I really care about you a lot. I’ve been a follower for a few years. Yours was the first blog I ever followed and is the only one I keep up with all the time. My niece met you at Blissdom a few years back and said you were as sweet as I thought. :)

  75. Carol Adams says

    I am just reading this and am concerned.
    As a intensive care RN with 30 plus years of experience drawing blood this should not have happened but I do hope that your arm looks better now. I was very concerned that you might have a clot in your arm Pressure needs to be put on the puncture site after the blood is drawn which allows the blood to clot around the puncture site so that you do not bleed into the surrounding tissue. This can occur with a butterfly needle too but it’s a smaller bore needle so not as likely. Please let me know that your arm is better now. sending hugs!!! :)

  76. Jen says

    HI Layla,
    I love reading your blog. Congrats on your adoption journey. It’s a crazy ride! We adopted our son from Russia in 2007 and we are now adopting domestically and waiting to be matched.

    I’m writing because I want to share something with you that I wish we would’ve known long ago because we’ve always wanted two kids. If you think you guys might want another someday, consider adopting two now. We are having such a HARD TIME adopting a second. We’ve been waiting two years this week to be matched with a birthmother. We’ve been shown to many birthmothers and we’ve heard time after time is that we’ve made the “short list,” however almost every birthmother seems to want to place their child with a childless adoptive family. So we continue to wait and wait. Now I wish we would’ve adopted two children the first time. I loved giving our son our full attention, but I hope it’s not at the cost of a sibling. (Our first adoption took exactly 9 months.) :) So I just wanted to share that….I have no idea what you guys are thinking! :)

    Adoption is a wonderful way to have a family and you’ll be surprised how much your child will be like you. :) I think families can be made spiritually too – my son was always my son – just born across the world in the Arctic Circle. Who would’ve thought? He even looks like us. Knowing this has given me faith that we will have another someday, and it will be the perfect child for us. That’s why we have this wait. (weight) He or she just isn’t here YET, but already having one has significantly prolonged the process this time around.

    Good luck on your journey. Take in every moment you guys have as a twosome because soon enough you will be a forever Trio. :)

  77. says

    This has happened to me before. I had an IV put in before a surgery and it missed my vein and started filling up under my skin. It was the worst searing burning pain…pure and utter agony!

  78. Melanie says

    First off, I’d like to say I’ve LOVED your blog for quite some time now, but this is the first time I’ve ever commented! I was THRILLED to hear that you have to read The Connected Child and take the online course.!! We adopted our daughter when she was 19 months with the understanding that she had autism, received her diagnosis at 2 1/2 yrs. and got her into IBI therapy for the next 3 yrs. Only to discover that she has an attachment disorder. (Could very well be attachment disorder and autism, but they are so alike it’s unreal). Unfortunately, I had to go searching for info. on my own after years of struggles and the therapy not helping as we had hoped. I came across the book by Karyn Purvis, watched her on you tube, fell in love with Christine Moers at and are finally seeing some improvements!!! Now, I certainly don’t want to frighten you!! We planned on adopting a child with special needs but any child who deals with loss no matter how young will be impacted in some way. You on the other hand are going to be so well prepared!!! Had I known about Karyn Purvis 7 years ago, I don’t think our precious girl would have had so many difficulties! The strategies for autism are the complete opposite as the strategies for attachment!

    Is the online course based on Dr. Purvis’ book? If so, is there any way for others to take it online? :)

    Lifebooks: Creating a Treasure for the Adopted Child by Beth O’Malley is another great resource!

    Thinking of you and Kevin as you go through this process together…it’s worth all the pain and bruising on your arm! :)

    Melanie from Canada

  79. Elizabeth says

    God Bless you on your adoption journey…. We are in the process of finalizing the adoption of our second child, born on 1/30/13 , I am constantly amazed at how God works… Both our children have the same birth mom and birth dad…. We waited only 10 months for our second….. Adoption is truly a gift from God… After all Jesus was adopted by Joseph : )
    I understand what you go through with needles … I too have to let the nurses know to use the butterfly needle – I have very small veins that like to roll and avoid needles as well. : ) It certainly is part of our “pains” in the adoption process…. Being paper pregnant can be challenging at times – However, after going through it now a second time, I do have to say that the wait was harder for me. After the Homestudy was completed, I found myself having to keep myself occupied as to not focus too much on when and how the placement and adoption would happen…. My prayers are with you during your journey ….. has some humerous shirts for prosepective and adoptive parents……

  80. Chrissy says

    Oh so sorry to hear about your experience. My veins roll and dodge as well, but the needles don’t bother me. I was in Jr. high school when my mom was in nursing school one hour from our home. On days when we had to go to the orthodontist (also one hour away), we’d miss the entire day of school b/c we’d accompany her to nursing school. I always volunteered my arms for the student nurses to practice on. Maybe that is why they roll now??? Maybe I’m like a druggy b/c I’ve been pricked so many times???

    Anyhoooo, I haven’t been to your blog since you moved…life is busy. But I wanted to share our story of our first adoption physical so you could have a laugh…at my husband’s expense.

    I went in first (no shared apt. where we were!) and had a relationship with my Dr. and her staff since I’d been seen a handful of times over the 5 years of living there (during veterinary school for my husband). Hubby, on the other hand, was never sick and never in need of a Dr., so this was his first visit for the entire time we’d lived there. I’m not sure why or where the idea came from, but I got a bee in my bonnet and mentioned as I was leaving, that my husband was uber modest and totally unaware of what to expect and they sure could have fun with him.

    Let me back up…I teased Hubs a time or ten that maybe he’d have to have the old high school physical-cough-type check up or maybe even a rectal exam. He never believed me, but those seeds of complete fear were sown and I really didn’t even know it.

    Okay, so he went in and the nurse took his BP and vitals and stuff and then handed him a paper towel and said something along the lines of, “Sorry, but we are conserving resources, so if you’ll just drape this over your lap when you undress would be great! K…thanks and the Dr. will be right in.” Wellllllll, he didn’t want to be caught half undressed so he quickly hit the buttons on his shirt while his BP quickly began to rise. Both the nurse and the Dr. busted right back in laughing and saying that it was all a joke. He was grateful, mightily relieved and had a really great attitude about it for which I am grateful. Too bad the second round of adoptions brought street-smartness to my book-smart husband, b/c he just smiled and said, “I’m not falling for anything!”

  81. says

    I just hopped over here and happened upon your adoption page. Let me say congratulations!! I’ve not used Lifeline but have heard wonderful things about them. We have adopted 3 children. It was a wonderful, different experience each time. All 3 children are so different, yet they meshed together in a unique way rather quickly. It has been an amazing adventure. I wish you the best! Congratulations!

  82. says

    Oh, I hear ya. When we had our adoption physicals we had to all get TB tests. I had to hold my children down. It was horrible!!! The Connected Child is so good! You are going to devour it!

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