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Acupuncture

on November 8, 2013

Around cycle 7 is when I kind of started freaking out. I had been taking OPKs since cycle 1 and temping since cycle 5, and was pretty well convinced that I had a Luteal Phase Defect. Some may call this crazy obsessing; I call it being proactive. I had done a ton of research from the get go and knew what a healthy cycle looked like. I had taken the time to get to know my body. BUT it had only been 7 months, not really long enough to be really alarmed. I would share my fears with friends and family, and they would give me the old ‘just relax, give it time.’ And if I were just trying to get pregnant in an ‘we just have unprotected sex whenever and hope something happens’ kind of way as most normal people do when they first start trying, they may be right. But I had literally been tracking and having perfectly timed sex from the start, and I just knew something wasn’t right. Being in this place where I couldn’t get anyone to believe that I had a problem, and would have to wait 5 months until I could see a doctor, made me go insane.

I started to convince myself I was pregnant like every month. Anything; having to pee a lot, being tired, a nipple twinge, was a symptom. I would let myself and believe it and start getting excited. I would basically just set myself up to be even more disappointed. But I wanted it to be true so bad. There was no reason I should have problems. What are the chances I am that girl who can’t get knocked up (like 12% turns out)?  Around cycle 7  I took a pregnancy test at like 10 DPO (because of my luteal phase issue, I only tended to make it to 11 DPO anyway).  It was negative, no doubt about it. But I took it and held it under 5 different kinds of light until I thought I could see something. I convinced myself there was a very very faint line and that I was pregnant. I did say anything to The Husband, but I was secretly excited. I went up to the bathroom a few times and held it by the window, the only way I could see the imaginary line. I talked to it. I went batshit insane.

The next morning my alarm went off at 5am as per usual to take my temp (my shift changes every week, but 5am is the earliest I ever have to get up. For the sake of accurate temps I always temped at 5am then would just go back to sleep). Because I was near what would normally be the end of my cycle, I looked at it instead of just putting it away. My temp had plummeted. So I took it again. Same result. I got up and went to the bathroom to find basically a bloodbath. I was devastated.  It was enough that I felt like I needed to get in the shower to get cleaned up, and in that shower at 5am I lost it. Trying to stay quiet and not wake The Husband, I sobbed. I was so frustrated. I was broken. And no one would believe me. In what was the sweetest moment in our infertility journey,  The Husband (who is a very light sleeper) came into the bathroom, and without saying a word got in the shower with me, and held me while I cried. We didn’t talk at all, we didn’t need to. About ten minutes later we got back in bed and slept for a few more hours. I couldn’t just keep doing this and waiting for a miracle, or until I could go see a doctor. I needed to do something.

So I decided to see an acupuncturist. I’d never had acupuncture, but my dad had some success with it and I didn’t see the harm. I figured it would at worst be a waste of time and at best help me, and if nothing else it would help pass the time until I could see a doctor. I found one with a fancy looking website who treated infertility, and set up three appointments; one a week for three weeks. The acupuncturist was a late 20’s-early 30’s blonde woman name Christine. She had a peppy but business like demeanor, and she was confident she could make a difference and get me pregnant (well she wouldn’t personally get me pregnant but…you know what i mean). She looked at my tongue, though I don’t know what she was looking for, took my pulse in each wrist and said it was strong, and poked me with a bunch of needles. It didn’t really hurt, and I am totally fine with needles, so that didn’t bother me at all. She put a blanket over my legs and a heat lamp over my belly and left me alone with the lights dimmed and relaxing music playing for about 30 minutes. It was so relaxing! I think I actually dozed off at one point. She told me that she wanted to see me three times a month for three months, that’s how long it should take to really make a difference. I decided if I wasn’t pregnant after those three months, I would try to get in with an RE.

The repeat appointments were all a bit different. In the one just before ovulation, she hooked some kind of electric pulse thing to the needles above my ovaries and gently shocked them. It kind of hurt, but I dealt with it. Sometimes she would have me on my back and put needles in my belly, sometimes she would have me lay on my stomach and put needles on my lower back, and aim a heat lamp at it. Once she put a needle at the crown of my head. By the end of the three months, my luteal phase was at longest 11 days, and I would always spot at 9 DPO. I felt like maybe there was only the slightest difference in my cycle, but one major difference is that I was much more relaxed. I maybe quietly cried a little when aunt flo showed up, but I was no longer in hysterics or taking a thousand pregnancy tests and convincing myself they were positive. I was glad I went when I did.

I did end up going to see the RE just before my last appointment with Christine. I didn’t tell her I was going to the big fancy doctor because I was afraid she would lecture me about hormones and try to convince me to keep seeing her, and I am very weak and have a hard time saying no. So I just stopped going. Now here we are 4 cycles after I last saw her, and I am about to have my first IUI, so I decided to go back. I know there is data showing acupuncture helps with success rates on IVF, so I figured it couldn’t hurt. I just want to do everything I can this cycle to try and give us the best chances possible. I was pleasantly surprised that when I told her I was seeing the RE and what meds they had me on, she was like “okay, great, those should really help you” and knew what they were and what they were for. Since I am CD 8 today, she did work on my back, with my face down and the heat lamp over my low back. She also put needles behind my knees and in my ankles.

I let her know that I was drinking Fertilitea and doing no alcohol, no caffeine and no soy (she had previously told me to avoid soy because it can mimic estrogen, the opposite of what I need). Because the tea has chasteberry (vitex) she did some kind of muscle test and told me that she thinks that I shouldn’t drink the tea because Vitex can also promote estrogen production, and I don’t want that. She basically said that the clomid and prometrium are doing what needs to be done, and I shouldn’t add other things to the mix. In the past she’s given me Chinese herbs to take, and she didn’t do that this time, I’m guessing for the same reasons. I will be going back next Tuesday, which should be a couple days before my IUI, and then again the following week.

Some of my really good friends who are a lesbian couple did their first IUI a couple weeks ago. It’s much more expensive for them because they have to buy sperm, and even though I normally don’t want to hear that people are pregnant, I really want this for them. They would be great moms, and they are already in the spot of someone with IF just because they are both women. I knew they were going to take a test tomorrow, so I texted the half I am closer to and wished her good luck. She said she had tested a day early (I think 13 DPO) and it was negative, but she was going to re-test Sunday. I feel sad and hopeful for them, come on BFP!

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