Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Trying to Conceive and Acupuncture

I started acupuncture in 2008 when I decided to do a FET (frozen embryo transfer -which failed). After my loss in 2007, I had a lot of anxiety. My eye was twitching due to the stress of losing a child. Acupuncture really helped me in that. I found it very relaxing, which was pretty unusual for me since I hate needles. After going through IVF, needles became more of the norm. It is sad that I've had so many blood draws that the ladies at the lab know me.

I decided to go to a place that specialized in fertility. I decided to continue going to acupuncture, but not while I was pregnant. I went for relaxation. It is pretty expensive though.

I want to share my story because I really think acupuncture can help people get pregnant. I have mentioned this a few times on my blog, but I want to summarize my experience.

At first, one of my friends recommended acupuncture. She and her husband were going due to infertility. My friend's husband (like mine) had a bad sperm count. She thought acupuncture could help. In the end, it didn't help him in this area, but the thing about acupuncture is that the acupuncturist looks at your whole body. What I mean by this, is I hate regular drs because when you visit a normal dr they ask 'so what is wrong with you'. Then they say 'oh let me write you a prescription for x and good luck with that'. This is what I hate about drs. For eastern medicine, it is SOOOOO different. You go in and they ask you 'what cycle day are you at, how is your mood, are you getting enough sleep, what other issues are you having besides infertility, how are you eating, do you go to the bathroom once a day,etc? They look at the whole body/person. I like this approach.

Ok, so back to my story about my friend. They asked him 'do you have any other issues' and he said he had back surgery several years ago and because of that surgery he lost some feeling in his leg. Well, they decided to try to solve that problem. Like I said, they couldn't fix his sperm problem but guess what...they were able to bring back feeling from his leg. I found this story amazing and so did my husband. My husband did not want to go to acupuncture though. I decided to go for me even though our main infertility issues were male factor.

I really think it helped me get pregnant both times. I used to kind of hold it against my husband since I put all of our infertility issues on him. Of course, I love my husband, but I felt our issues were due to him. This was hard on our relationship. I didn't tell him this, but I kinda blamed him. Well, after I had my loss I knew it wasn't his fault body failed too...

So, in 2008 I went to acupuncture only a handful of times. I do think you have to go several times for it to make an impact but here is my whole story (which isn't elsewhere on my blog). I went during my FET as I said and I did get a BFP, but I had an early loss. Well when I went through that early loss, they told me to come in. So I went in to get acupuncture even though I knew I was losing the baby...they were trying to save the baby, but honestly if the baby had a chromosome problem (most likely) -it was not something they could fix. I went in anyway and they gave me some herbs to take to help with the miscarriage process. The next month I got pregnant on my own. I guess my husband's sperm improved, but maybe there was something wrong with me too. My dr was amazed that I got pregnant because around ovulation my HCG was not down to zero. I did not go during pregnancy because although some people go, I do not like taking any chances. My drs definitely told me not to go before my first u/s.

In 2009, I went to acupuncture twice. Yup, the whole year I went only twice. It was hard to get away to go. In the past, sometimes I went on the weekend which was impossible with my son. I also sometimes went after work or during lunch. This was hard to do in 2009 too because I was pumping during lunch and had a lot of meetings where it was hard to take a 2 hr lunch. Acupuncture does take some time. I do admit that one time I went I was not completely relaxed because I was stressed that I had to get back to work for a meeting. Oh, I went in April 2009 to help increase my breast milk supply. They did do points specific for that, but it did not help me. See, it does not always work. Although to be fair, not much helped me with breast milk production. I had a lot of issues. I did breastfeed for 11.5 m, but I had to supplement almost the entire time. I even took Reglan to help me produce more and even a strong drug only helped me so much. I have heard that women who went through a loss or through infertility have breastfeeding issues. I don't know though. I have heard that Reglan has now been recalled, but I am not sure since I asked a dr last week aboout it and they said it was not recalled.

In December I decided to go to acupuncture. I was still breastfeeding, but had a little more time during pumps and during work. December is slower at my work. I went for relaxation in December. It turns out, I went around ovulation time. Everytime I go, I see someone different but I like some more than others at the place that I go. They all approach things differently. Well, I get to my appointment and I am late by 20 minutes. I was in a rush and had not eaten breakfast or lunch and it was now 12:40 or so. The girl that I see is one that I had before who is very serious about her work, not very friendly/chatty. So, she asks me the questions and honestly I just say 'yeah, yeah, yeah'. They always ask me if I am tired...hell yeah...I have a baby. But they always ask if my digestive issue are ok and if I am eating well..I just shut her up by saying 'yeah, yeah, yeah'. Well a lot of times they look at your tongue and they measure your pulse...not all of them do this, but most of them do. So, she looks at my tongue and says I need IRON. Then she is taking my pulse and asks me again 'are you sure you are eating well, 3 meals a day'. I kinda say yes again and then she says 'well your pulse is saying feed me'. I was amazed. I told her 'well I actually haven't eaten today yet' I don't tell her how amazed I am at her skills, but I really am. I had here before and she had amazed me before. I am now telling my friends this story to convince them to try acupuncture.

Do I think it helped me get pregnant? I think it did at least this time. I went around ovulation. Because she told me I needed iron, I started taking my prenatals again. She gave me an herbal supplement but I do not like taking those most times and didn't take it due to me breastfeeding. She said it was safe, but I hate taking ANYTHING while breastfeeding (even when I don't breastfeed). I don't know. I think it can help with infertility issues. When I hear that people do not have periods or they have endometriosis, I think acupuncture could help them. I think it can help with PCOS. Now, if you don't have an ovary or a tube, not sure it can help with that. It also can't help with incompetent cervix. It may help with preterm labor or irritable uterus...I don't know for sure though. As I said, I recommended it to two friends who have non-infertility issues. They have not gone though.

Let me know if you have any questions. My next post will talk about diet and trying to conceive.


Monica H said...

My boss has stage 4 endometriosis and foies to acupuncture for pain relief and it's helping her.

I've looked into going but again I'm not totally sure about it. I called to see if my insurance would cover it and they said they would cover it IF you were being treated for certain things. I'm afraid if they find out I'm going for infertility they won't pay.

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