I really didn’t mean to go so long without posting! I’m seeing it as a good thing. This break is proving to be a nice relief from all of the waiting. Don’t get me wrong, I am still obsessively reading all y’all’s blogs – I’m just finding myself able to think about other things. Like catching up on work, having dinner with friends, cleaning the house, gardening, hanging with my wife … It’s great, actually.
Thursday was my second trip to the acupuncturist, and tomorrow will be my third. Today is CD 19, which I wouldn’t even have known if I didn’t just check my phone. Ovulation is hopefully on its way, and my CM seems to agree, but it doesn’t really matter since we’re not inseminating. I’ll probably still do OPKs to collect more timing data, but whatever.
As promised, my experience with acupuncture:
- As a speech-language pathologist, I have a science background and tend to not put much stock in eastern medicine. That said, I’ve never really heard someone say “I don’t think acupuncture is helping with my fertility.” I’ve talked to a number of people (on- and off-line) who have done it, and 100% of the reviews have been positive. So I decided to go for it.
- As I am not entirely able to shed my evidence-based practice background, I asked my acupuncturist how it works. He answered by saying it helps improve circulation and also something about my Qi. I have a good friend who is currently 2 years into an “acupuncture and integrative medicine” program, so I reached out to get a better (read: more western) answer (like, HOW does it improve circulation). She said that the needles stimulate neuro receptors to send the message that the area needs more blood, and that stimulating and bringing new blood flow to the ovary area helps reduce growths and regulate hormone production. So hey, that’s a good enough explanation for me!
- On my first visit, he (I’ll call him Dr. Z from here on) did an intake, asked me about my cycles, my diet and activity level, overall health, and why I was there. Then he had me lie down on my back with all of my clothes on (I had no idea what to expect going in – hopefully this is helpful to someone else), but my shoes and socks off. On the first visit, he put in I think 9 or 10 needles? One on top of my head, one between my eyebrows, one on each of my arms near the elbow, 3 or 4 on my belly, and one on the inside of each ankle. Then he left me in the room with music on and told me to “relax, take a nap.” Clearly, placement of the needles is specific to the location of neuro receptors/energy pathways, but he did not explain any of it to me.
- The needles were hair-like. I didn’t feel them at all. When he was putting them in, it just felt like he was kind of flicking me, and that was it. I did feel the needle on my forehead – but not like in a there’s-a-needle-in-my-face-and-it’s-prickly kind of way, more in a way that I was really focused on the tension in my forehead and felt a little pain where the needle was, kind of at the epicenter of the tension. For the first 20 minutes, I kept trying to close my eyes and relax, but my left eye would not close all the way and I really had trouble trying to relax my forehead. Then, all of a sudden about halfway through the session, all of the tension in my forehead suddenly released and I didn’t feel that needle at all. I did feel like I could actually feel my blood flow in different areas (my forehead and ovaries specifically).
- Overall I enjoyed the experience. It was very relaxing. Dr. Z recommended that I come back “a couple” more times, about a week apart, and that we may talk about using herbs “later.”
- He also made a bunch of recommendations about my diet. I know that a few of them are related to balancing my hormones (because my not-at-all-overweight neighbor who referred me got the same recommendations), and that a few of them are related to working on weight loss (as though I wasn’t already working on that …). He suggested that I do the following:
- Cut out alcohol and caffeine (I have totally cut out caffeine. I don’t drink a lot as it is, but I have not cut out alcohol yet)
- Eat only organic meats (We’ve been eating what we had in the fridge/freezer, but the plan is to buy organic meat moving forward)
- Drink more water during the day (I’ve been drinking way more water since I quit Diet Coke, so I’m just keeping on that bandwagon)
- Do exercise that makes me sweat. He stressed that the important part was that I sweat – he didn’t explain but I looked online and the belief is that cysts are caused by excess fluid in the body – so sweating it out, eating less salt (so you don’t retain fluids), etc is important.
- On that note, eat less salt.
- Decrease intake of sugar and dairy
- (Here’s the part that I think was geared toward weight loss): Eat smaller dinners, eat a snack (like an apple) before dinner, don’t eat greasy or fried foods
- My second visit was similar – he asked how I was feeling (good) and doing re: diet and exercise (I said good – I could be better). Then he just had me get right on the table. There were fewer needles this time – he didn’t do the one on the top of my head and only did 3 on my belly. I had the same exact experience with the forehead needle – my eyes wouldn’t close and it took a while before I felt the tension release and I could finally relax. This time, it took a lot longer to feel that tension release (almost to the end). He said I should come back once more and that we would talk about the possibility of using herbs instead for a few weeks. My friend (the one in school to be an acupuncturist) said that the effects are significantly better when combining acupuncture with herbs, so I’ll likely do that. Plus it is much cheaper than weekly acupuncture – I think $30 for a 2-week supply of herbs (rather than $80 per session for 2 weeks). The plan is to go back tomorrow for my 3rd session, buy the herbs, and go back for acupuncture next cycle again prior to ovulation and after the insemination.
So that’s that. I’m enjoying this somewhat-less-stressful month and looking forward to a nice clean cycle next time around.