Hey there Lovelies,

Acupuncture-Therapists-DublinAs I gear up for our first round of IVF in February I have decided to throw renewed effort into trying to get pregnant. Not that I’m trying to get pregnant before IVF. Instead, I’m trying to become more fertile so I have the best chance at becoming pregnant through IVF. One of the things that is supposed to help with this is acupuncture. Both leading up to and at special times during IVF.

So I signed up.

Not just for any old kind of acupuncture either, specialized fertility acupuncture. Which is like the difference between seeing your GP for fertility and going to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

I learned that acupuncture is the best thing ever! Full stop. Click To Tweet

Before I tell you about my experience I should address some things right off the top:

1. To Kersten, I would like to extend a “Yes, you were right. You have infinite wisdom and I should have gone ages ago!” I don’t know why it took me so long. Ok, that’s a lie, I do. I was SCARED!

2. To Elizabeth, I would like to extend a “THANK YOU, for pointing me in the direction of this clinic.” What an amazing place. These practitioners are incredible!

Ok, now that that’s out of the way. 🙂 Here’s how my fist fertility acupuncture session went.

I arrived early having filled out the required forms at home. It was -25C outside. Being in the warm, incense infused waiting room, with tranquil music in the background, it felt more like I had arrived for a spa day than an hour being stabbed with needles. Even with the relaxing ambiance I felt a little edgy and vulnerable as Gina, my practitioner, welcomed me into her room.

I knew there would be questions about my cycles and my history with infertility. You know, being as that’s why I was there. However, I did not expect that she would spend over an hour delving into every nuance of my cycle and my experiences thus far. Gina was amazing! Very caring and focused. At one point, she told me that if I ever have questions I should call or e-mail her and she will reply the same day. She even said I should do that instead of asking “Dr. Google”. I think it was at this point that I wanted to cry. Her tender concern and validation of the issues with my cycle was so overwhelming and amazing. I don’t think I have EVER been listened to like that by any Dr. before. My reaction, and the rush of gratitude I felt for her, really drove home how disconnected I’ve been feeling in my experience with Western medicine.

Western medicine can do great things but leaves something to be desired. Finally, I felt heard. Click To Tweet

 

I suddenly felt that all my concerns were valid and that I wasn’t crazy or stupid… that she trusted me to know my own body. What an immense relief!

Gina and I discovered through our discussion and by looking at my fertility charts that I have two major issues that are somewhat connected. They are:

1. I may be deficient in Yang: When the body’s Yang energy is deficient an excess of Yin results.  Leading to various symptoms involving cold. (In Chinese medicine you are a mix of four properties: hot, cold, wet and dry.)

2. I may be deficient in Spleen Qi: Too much damp cold energy is being retained by the spleen that is effecting many systems. These conditions explain many of the symptoms I have.
-asthma
-allergies
-short luteal phase
-spotting

Super cool. Gina went more in depth about these things, but I was stupid and didn’t bring a tape recorder so that is the best I can recall. She also gave me dietary restrictions to help correct these imbalances and an herbal powder that I am to drink with water. After all of this we still needed to get down to the actual acupuncture treatment! She instructed me to strip down to my skivvies and lay face down on the heated table. It was exactly like a massage table.

Again, much more spa like than I was expecting.

But even with the spa ambiance it was at this point that my anxiety kicked in. I hate needles! AHHHHH!!! Gina seemed competent enough and I was pretty much in love with her after our hour long chat but, still, NEEDLES! It’s not just the needles that really make me nervous though. I’ve done acupuncture once before and it makes me really nervous when you “feel things” during treatment. Like tingling, burning, pressure, pulling.

I know.

That’s good. It means it’s working.

Yadda, yadda.

Still, it freaks me out. So I’m laying on the table waiting for the needles to start. Practicing deep breathing and thinking what a cute baby this may bring me. Then Gina tells me to breath deeply in and places 5 on my lower back and then one at the top of my skull. I REALLY felt the one for my spleen. Like WOW, OW, OOOOOOW. That was especially cool because I asked her AFTER it hurt which one it was. I like that it corresponded to her diagnosis. But that feeling was nothing compared to the one in my head. Apparently that’s for the pituitary gland, and I must have needed it! It gave me INCREDIBLE deep pressure between my eyes. Sort of like a head ache. I was very uncomfortable and nervous about all of these “feels” and was trying to remain calm when Gina said she’ll be back in a few minuets.

WHAT!?

I started hyperventilating. I tried not to cry.

Since we’re basically best friends at this point, I tell Gina that I’m feeling really anxious and need her to talk me through this a little more. She sounded surprised but also understanding. She explained again what all the points were for and what sensations are normal for me to feel. I was hanging on her every word but then she kindly reminded me that there was another patient she needed to go check on. She patted my foot reassuringly as she walked out.

Ok.

I trust Gina. She wouldn’t leave me here to die. So I practiced more deep breathing... Click To Tweet

Reassuring myself that if anything scary happened I could scream for help and, if I died, surely someone would call 911.

I know. Dramatic.

Eventually she came back in and pulled all the points out except for the horrid head one. She left that one in the whole time. At this point she asked me to roll over onto my back so she could work on my abdomen. This time she placed 4 or 5 on my abdomen and the only one I really felt was the liver one. It felt, basically, like someone reached into my belly and yanked my left ovary. HARD. Interestingly, this is the ovary that I fear may be sluggish because I have never ovulated from that side while doing follicular tracking.

It was much less scary to lay on my back looking at the ceiling and since I didn’t die from the ones on my back I felt more confident that I’d make it out alive. The minutes went pretty fast and then all the needles were removed. The last thing she did was to check my chakras via dousing. This means she used a stone pendulum to check the rotation of certain fields on my body. I know it sounds a little out there,  but I’ve actually done this on myself before!  I was completely comfortable with the process. My solar plexus chakra needs work right now. This area deals with harnessing energy from food and surroundings to transform it into other forms of life. It’s about the process of creating your destiny.

After that she used tuning forks to help align things and clear any negative energy that I may have picked up from the acupuncture session. Um, like from my panic attack? Good, get rid of that shit. This felt really cool and made me want to giggle.

When I left she told me that since my body is storing so much damp cold energy I should make sure to dress warmly and apply heat to my abdomen whenever possible. I have a buckwheat bag that I can warm at home so no problem. I’ll just set myself up with a good book and a warming pad and be happy.

Along with continued treatments, one a week, I was given dietary changes. I was expecting this as everyone else I know who’s doing acupuncture was put on a strict diet.  I’m lucky in that mine doesn’t seem as restrictive as some.

Here are my new rules for food:

-Eat warm food or foods at room temperature. Nothing cold.

-Drink warm liquids. No more ice water.

-Use warming herbs like cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and garlic.

-Only eat apples, pears and berries for fruit. Nothing else, especially no citrus.

-No dairy.

-No sugar.

-No processed crap.

But apparently wheat and carbs are ok. Not that it matters since they are already majorly limited in my fertility diet. Also, I’m to give myself an acupressure abdominal massage every day. With a Moxa stick to help with warming me up.

That was it! I took my loot and left. I super enjoyed the whole thing! Surprisingly, I can’t wait to go back! And for those of you wondering if she’s REALLY that accessible to her patients. Will she actually be available for all sorts of questions? Well, I e-mailed her about the herbs  because I wasn’t sure I was remembering things correctly, and she responded in two hours. And she wasn’t even at work that day.

My practitioner responded to my e-mail, within two hours, from her home! Click To Tweet

Pretty effing good if you ask me!

Til next time,

Unpregnant Chicken

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15 thoughts on “Checking Out My Options: Fertility Acupuncture

  • January 8, 2015 at 9:43 am
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    So I am assuming this last IUI won’t work even though this hasn’t been confirmed yet. Anyway, I am mentally moving on to IVF which may happen in February and doing many of the same things as you. I have my first acupuncture appointment on Friday so this post was so helpful. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • January 8, 2015 at 9:48 am
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      Hey Nicole!
      I had to mentally move to IVF before I was told for sure too. Helps with the sanity. Happy to report that I’m still feeling pretty upbeat about it as it inches closer. I hope you enjoy acupuncture as much as I did! I felt very supported there.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • January 8, 2015 at 3:32 pm
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    I’m so glad you had a good experience with acupuncture. I have been going for a while and it has been an enormous benefit in helping me deal with everything that has already happened on this fertility journey, and we’re working very hard on getting me ready for the next (and hopefully positive) stages ahead. Good luck with the rest of your treatment!

    Reply
    • January 8, 2015 at 3:55 pm
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      Geo-Chick,
      Thanks! Yes, i feel it will end up being a huge benefit to me no matter how the IVF round goes. I’m looking forward to learning more about it!
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • January 8, 2015 at 3:56 pm
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    I did acupuncture during my first round of ivf and I swear it was the reason I had so many follicles and the pregnancy actually took. Unfortunately I miscarried at 6 weeks. Next time I plan on continuing the acupuncture after the positive test…. if there is one.

    What clinic did you go to?

    Glad to hear it was such a positive experience!

    Reply
    • January 8, 2015 at 4:38 pm
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      Kristi,
      I have heard that from so many people! That the reason they feel their IVF worked was down to the acupuncture. Yeah my practitioner said its nice to keep it going as its very good for pregnancy. If you ever need it, and I certainly hope you do, this is where I went: http://www.fertilecalgary.com/
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • January 10, 2015 at 4:11 pm
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    Oh my!! I actually am afraid of pain so after your description I don’t think I’ll try it out 😉
    I’m happy for you though and here is hoping it helps!! <3

    Reply
  • January 11, 2015 at 6:20 am
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    I am so happy that you gave acupuncture a try (thanks for the shout out!), and that you found it to be a transformative experience from the first visit. My “prescription” also involved warm foods only, and I found it to be unbelievably soothing. By the way, do not feel restricted by that in terms of what you can eat. I warmed up salads by sprinkling a little water on top and putting the whole melange of veggies in the microwave for twenty seconds. And oatmeal with almond milk became a staple. The fact that you experienced such a strong reaction with the needle placement shows that she pinpointed (har de har) your blockages accurately. I may have told you this, but my acupuncturist predicted accurately what would happen to me based on my reaction when she inserted a needle. When I went to acupuncture for the first time, I had not ovulated (or had a cycle of any kind) for over a year. We had eight sessions in which she inserted a needle in my lower abdomen, a couple of inches directly below my belly button. Initially, I felt nothing there. Gradually, I started experiencing more sensations, like a tingling that grew into a soft pressure. During my ninth session, when she started to insert the needle, I screamed because I was so sensitive there. “You’re ovulating!” she said, “You will have a cycle that begins in about two weeks. We are going to take a break from that region until after your cycle, and then we will shift the needles to move from stimulating ovulation to encouraging conception.” Sure enough, twelve days later, I had my first menstrual cycle in fourteen months (with no drugs involved). As an adherent to observable, experimentally based science, it was hard for me to accept that my RE had had no success, but the addition of my acupuncturist (with the diet and the herbs) to the mix seemed to make a huge difference within weeks. I credit her approach with facilitating pregnancy. Dozens of other moms who used acupuncture to support IVF had the same sentiments, as was clear from the eight (!) picture albums filled with babies and heartbreaking (but ultimately triumphant) testimonials.

    Reply
    • January 12, 2015 at 9:07 am
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      Kersten,
      I really believe that, with the addition of Gina to my “team”, I am in a much better spot for IVF. I also struggle with the war between science and alternative but I’m glad I went as I really believe she can help me. Everything she said made so much sense and matched what I’ve been dealing with for so long. Fingers crossed it’s the boost I need!
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • January 17, 2015 at 10:40 pm
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    I am such an advocate of acupuncture and am glad that you had a positive experience with it. Acupuncture kept me sane and helped me through endo. It’s such a relaxing and rejuvenating experience! Good luck with your upcoming treatments!

    Reply
    • January 18, 2015 at 11:45 am
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      NorthStar,
      Thank you! I am very fortunate to have found a practitioner that “gets me” and who I also “get”. It makes the transition a good one.
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • January 21, 2015 at 6:59 pm
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    I too see Gina and she’s amazing!!! I’m happy to have stumbled upon your blog :).

    Reply
    • January 21, 2015 at 8:32 pm
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      Kristie,
      Nice to have you over here! I have so much more faith now that I am seeing her. Bring it IVF!
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply
  • February 17, 2015 at 4:38 pm
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    I’ve thought about pursuing acupuncture but haven’t really taken the steps to find someone who specializes in infertility. It sounds fascinating!

    Reply
    • February 17, 2015 at 5:48 pm
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      Catherine,
      It totally is amazing! It has really done wonders for my cycle. And I’m only two months in!
      XOXXO, Unpregnant Chicken

      Reply

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