Monday, September 23, 2013

First Acupuncture

 Friday was my first ever acupuncture appointment.  It's on everyone's fertility to-do list, and has been on mine, but the cost is just too much for me to cover in addition to all the saving we have to do to pay for our own IVF.  I called the clinic on Friday morning as I still hadn't heard anything more about the trial.  We have a urologist appointment today (Monday) and I wanted to make sure I knew what we needed to tell the Urologist about the trial... Okay, being honest I totally just used the urologist as a reason to call so that I could hear someone say again that I was for sure in the trial...

I left a voicemail and heard back from them just before the acupuncture appointment time saying that yes, I am still in the study and that there is nothing special I need to tell the urologist about it.  Hmmm.... She also went on to say, "Oh!  I do have more firm dates for the trial."  Me: "Really? AWESOME!" Her: "Yes, we're looking at October."  Me: "Yes, last I heard we were looking at first or second week of October.  No firm start date yet then?"  Her:  "No, that's all we have for now."  Honestly, how is the month of October a firm date?  Is it just me?  I dunno. I wish they were more decisive and firm about this... this airy-fairy, up-in-the-air attitude makes me panic!  I just need to remember that this is going to cost us 10% of a full pay cycle and suck it up. Ohhhmmmmmmm Ohhhhhmmmm

So anyway, back to the acupuncture... I decided to get started with this since we are essentially about 2-3 weeks out from start of the trial and it needs time to work properly. I had no idea what to expect barring what I heard from other IF bloggers who have done this treatment.  Let's start off by saying that I didn't feel super confident in his abilities on walking into his tiny office.  Firstly, he was late. Secondly, the office was decorated with cheap Chinese tchotchkes and smelled like massage oils. Thirdly, my heart kind of sank when a 6ft tall blonde man walked into the room and introduced himself to me as Dr. H. Am I wrong for wanting a Chinese person practicing acupuncture?

He glanced over the 12 pages of history I had meticulously filled out and then said, "So you want to get pregnant eh?" Understatement. Of. The. Year.  He then walked me through to the treatment room. Oh my!  Bordello red walls.  Giant Chinese fan. And my favorite part... leopard print silk sheets... cos nothing says "China" quite like the print of an animal found in Africa....

He started with the needles and I was pleasantly surprised by how painless they were.  I won't say that you don't feel them at all, because you do, they feel like a tiny scratch and then it's over.  I had them all over my face, legs and feet.  A couple of them did hurt though.  There was one just below my left knee that felt like he had pressed down on a bruise.  I yelped and he said, "Yes, that is your spleen.  That's the source of your blockages." Another on my other leg was also quite tender and he said that was my stomach, also where he believed I had some blockages.  The only other painful one was under my skull on the right where I have a swollen gland, and have had as far back as I can remember. He inserted the needle right into the gland and it HURT. He had to remove it and go at that spot from a different angle.  He also pinched down on my stiff shoulders and said that I was clearly very stressed as he inserted a needle there.  Note to self:  Tie up your hair for your next appointment! Aside from the needles he said were in my ovaries (didn't hurt at all) that's about all of them. He then lowered the lights and left the room for 30 minutes telling me to relax and sleep if I felt so inclined.

I've been wrestling with the whole "think positive!" thing... I hear it from everyone.  I am sure you do to? I have found in my life that if I think positively about something I really want my heart takes over and runs with it and before I know it I've planned out and pictured every single moment related to that thing.  I go through positive images so much in my head it's as though I've lived them.  And 9 times out of 10 it falls through.  Positive thought doesn't work for me.  But what if I NEED to think positively for the IVF to work? All I know is, if I open my heart and dare to picture myself with a baby at the end of all of this and it doesn't happen my heart will break into a million pieces and I don't think I will ever, EVER get over it.  But I feel like it's important to try it.

So I've decided that I am going to try a little moderation.  During my acupuncture sessions and ONLY during these sessions, in the 30 minute  relaxation time I am going to picture the blockages being freed, my eggs coming back to life and my ovaries becoming bountiful.  I will picture the whole process from start to finish, step-by-step, ending with me holding my child in my arms. As he turned the lights down I was excited to try it.  Excited to allow myself for the first time to think about a positive ending to all of this. And guess what?? I couldn't do it.  I got all the way through to the IVF process in my head several times, but when it came time to see the sac in my first ultrasound I stalled.  No matter how many times I brought myself to that point I just couldn't bring up that image in my head.  It's like my body is acting in self preservation mode. 

There are two ways I could look at this: 1)  I am about to spend a LOT of money on a no-hope project. 2) I couldn't picture myself driving when I tried it before I got my license and that worked! Maybe this will be the same... I dunno... I guess I will keep at it during my next appointment. 

I was also interested in the traditional Chinese herbs everyone has been talking about, but it seems my guy (who I should add is the ONLY acupuncturist within a 45 minute drive from my house) dispenses little pills in decorative bottles covered in Chinese text.  I am to take 8 of one and 8 of another with meals.  He doesn't seem to have any dried herbs, or anything like what everyone else has described and I had to ask him for these... he didn't recommend them to me.  One is labeled in English as "Relaxx Extract" and the other "Six Noble Combination".  I can tell you that these taste AWFUL and have to be taken with a liquid that has flavor.  Water is not going to cut it with these little suckers -- which resemble rabbit droppings.


  1. I also used acupuncture and it helped me conceive. Not sure about the herbs - I also had tablets, not sure if they helped, but normal prenatal vitamins, Vit C and omega capsules also are good.Good luck to you!

  2. Hi Heather, Nice to see another Saffa on the blogs! Thanks for the feedback on the herbs. It seems that these aren't as uncommon as I at first thought, so I feel a lot more confident about them now. :)

  3. I like your optimism! Regardless if the treatments you’ve tried have proved to be futile, the most important thing is you’ve tried your best options and you won’t left wondering with the “what ifs”. Anyhow, I do hope that the acupuncture worked for you, or that you’ve found the perfect method you needed to improve your situation. Keep the confidence going! Believe in the power of the positive mind. I wish you all the best!

    Hannah Holland @ BCA