Hey there Lovelies,
As 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.
-short luteal phase
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.
That’s good. It means it’s working.
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.
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 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,