Before our “let’s make a baby” story turned into an, “OMG we’re having trouble making a baby” story, I was quite a scaredy cat when it came to needles. Growing up I had a tendency to, uhh, pass out when I had blood taken at my yearly physical. My mom would have to hold me on her lap… even when I was well past the age where that was acceptable and/or comfortable. Either that or they’d lay me down on a gurney to take my blood. Fun, eh? I always close my eyes when I see people getting blood drawn or shots on tv (which is most episodes of Grey Anatomy!). It’s not the blood, it’s the needles that really get me.
Anyway, when I didn’t get my period after going off the pill, that seemed to open the floodgates to more and more bloodwork that needed to be done. When I went to get my first big blood draw at Boston IVF they warned me they were going to take 12 vials of blood. I felt that old lightheaded feeling come over me again and decided to let them know I should probably lay down during the blood draw. Since then, though, I’ve been going once every few weeks for various bloodwork — pregnancy test here, progesterone test there, hormone test just for fun, etc. And each time I get a little bit more used to it.
That was a long intro to let you know what a big decision it was for me to willingly subject myself to needles in the form of acupuncture. I have read countless websites singing the praises of acupuncture for fertility, but I just couldn’t bring myself to try it. Paying money to have someone stick needles in you? Not for me, thanks. Since I have taken up yoga, though, I have become a bit more openminded about the possibilities of holistic treatments, and I decided to give it a go. Also, since I may have just ovulated for the first time ever, and may actually be carrying an egg around inside my uterus right about now, I figured now would be a great time to increase blood flow to the uterus and generally balance my body.
I found an acupuncture place near my house and made an initial consultation appointment last Friday. I told her my story, about my PCOS diagnosis and where I was in my cycle currently, and she asked me lots of questions. She felt that I may be misdiagnosed, as she believes PCOS to be sort of a blanket diagnosis, and quite often, in her experience, the condition can be reversed with chinese herbs and acupuncture. Given my young age, she suggested that I consider stopping fertility treatments for a few months and giving those things a try. (Note: I’m not going to do this, as I’m very anxious to conceive and the Clomid seems to be working well for me, but I valued her suggestion and her expertise). However, she was not pushy and said she’d be happy to treat me with acupuncture no matter if I decide to continue with traditional fertility treatments or not. She also said that some of my other symptoms (being cold most of the time, cold/numb hands and feet, constipation, etc.) were indicative of what they call a “blood deficiency” in Chinese medicine. It’s common in women and vegetarians (I am mostly vegetarian) and those who exercise a lot (which I did prior to TTC). Anyway, she recommended some dietary changes as well as acupuncture twice a week for the next three months.
Then came the needles! What they say is true… it really wasn’t bad! I sat in a big recliner and she stuck needles in my feet, hands, forehead and ears. Then she handed me a call button to ring if I needed her, but said she’d pretty much leave me alone for the next 45 minutes or so. All I had to was relax. I found it a little hard to relax thinking about the needles sticking out of me (maybe a blindfold would’ve helped?!), but I did after awhile and it was fine. At about 45 minutes I rang my bell and she took the needles out.
My first follow-up appointment is today. I think I’ll be a lot less nervous and hopefully can relax more this time. I imagine it takes practice.
Have you tried acupuncture or other holistic wellness treatments for fertility? Would you?