Saturday, 16 May 2015

In the build up - acupuncture

Let us just start by saying that we are absolutely over the moon to have been re-matched to another egg recipient!

Having been matched to an egg recipient a while back (we are sharing Laurens eggs with an anonymous couple who need donor eggs), we were really disappointed when our recipient pulled out. The second donor we were matched to refused us as she wanted an exclusive donor (someone who was donating all their eggs and not keeping any themselves).
We were very disheartened, and considered not egg sharing anymore. Egg sharing means we get a reduction in price on our treatment, and also means we get to help another couple create their family through what is likely to be their last hope. It adds around 6wks onto our treatment, plus the waits involved in being matched, and after these cancellations we considered going ahead with our treatment and not egg sharing. However, with someone close to us experiencing the heartbreak of infertility, it was something we wanted to give a chance, so decided to wait a month to see if another recipient was found.
This said, we were so happy when four days later we were matched to another couple! The lady we have been matched to had recently had her donor pull out, so we felt like it was meant to be, especially as a nurse who has met both Lauren and our recipient said she can't believe what a good match it is.
So again we are back to the plan of starting on my next cycle day 1!

A friend once told us that the IVF path was all about choosing the path of least regret. If you don't do something, would you regret not doing it if you didn't get the desired outcome? They knew as a couple that regardless of whether they cut out caffeine or not, and ate tons of avocados or not, they would accept the outcome, whether that was a positive or negative pregnancy test at the end of the two week wait. They believed that either it would work or it wouldn't, it was largely out of their hands, so they chose to just carry on as normal.

Over the past few weeks, with our IVF looming, Sarah and I have talked a lot about this, and are both in agreement that we are almost at the opposite end of the spectrum; if we didn't try everything we could to make the cycle a success, we would always be left wondering, what if?! Therefore we have made a few little changes, invested in some bigger changes, and embarked on this journey to make sure my body is absolutely at it's best.

 Our 'In The Build Up' posts will document things we have tried, and our experience of them.

Last week I went for my first acupuncture session. Acupuncture has been studied from a scientific perspective, and a large multi-trial study in 2008 concluded that women receiving acupuncture during their IVF cycles had a 65% greater chance of success then those who didn't. So Sarah and I talked about it, the cost vs the regret of not trying it, and the fact that it can do no harm, it MAY help, and is supposed to be a great stress relief. And decided that I should go for it. I wanted a reputable and experienced practitioner, but a quick google search pointed out two in our area that are well known, often talked about on fertility forums etc, and available for our treatment period.

Well…it was an experience! And one that I guess I am happy to continue with. I mean, don't get me wrong, it wasn't the worst two hours I've ever had, and in a lot of respects it was really enjoyable. First of all, as it was the initial consultation, the therapist and I talked a lot about my health, Sarah's health and my family's health, including emotional well being, which apparently is key to acupuncture sessions. Then we talked in depth about the treatment we are about to go through, why we chose the paths we have, and the projected time scales. This was one aspect I really enjoyed - she obviously knows a lot about fertility, as it's her area of expertise, and sees a lot of couples each week who are going through fertility treatment. In real life there isn't really that many people you can talk to about fertility treatment…I mean, we have each other, obviously, and we talk about it a LOT! But outside of the two of us, not many people know about the IVF, and those who do don't have a clue what it entails. So just being able to sit and talk about us, our journey, and why we are where we are was in itself a great experience.

Then we moved on to the acupuncture itself. First of all she got me to sit upright against a chair, with my back to her, and she inserted the tiny hair like needles down my spine, apparently releasing all of the toxins in my system. She said many people find this particularly draining, and feel like they need some nourishing food and a good sleep afterwards. I couldn't see them, but the therapist said the needles were burning red, showing that my toxins were escaping from my body. I find this hard to believe, because toxins aren't real…but I'm happy to go with it for now…

And then finally she did some treatment (i.e. poked me with needles) in my toes, tummy and ankles. Initially she wants to ensure I am in good holistic health prior to focusing on fertility treatment, so unblocked a few energy paths between certain bits of my body, and allowed the energy to flow more freely. Again…I find this hard to believe…but it wasn't unpleasant!
Image: Nourished Roots Fertility
When I got home and Sarah asked me how it all went, I told her I wasn't sure if it was amazing, or if I'd just paid someone £50 to say some fancy words and stick needles in me. I don't know if I need to believe that it will work for it to work, so I want to believe…but then surely then it's nothing more than a placebo?!

Will I go again? Absolutely! Because I came out of the appointment feeling great. I felt incredibly at peace, more so than I have for a very long time. My thoughts felt calmed and I felt strong and focused and happy. If we are paying for me just to feel like that throughout a process that is known to be fairly gruelling and unpredictable then I'm very happy indeed. I came home and had the best sleep I've had in absolutely ages, and continued to feel pretty awesome for the next few days. So based on that my next session is booked for next week, and will continue roughly fortnightly until the IVF treatment starts, and then there's a pretty strict timetable to stick to. Who knows if this will work. Either we will be sat looking at a positive test in August time or we won't. But if we aren't then we will know for sure that it just wasn't meant to be, but at least we tried our absolute best!

1 comment:

  1. What I love about acupuncture is that whatever your complaint or illness, it can help. Acupuncture affects different people in different ways. You say it left you feeling relaxed and at peace. Others have more dramatic effects, but everyone I know derives some benefit from this amazing holistic treatment. I do hope your IVF journey goes smoothly, keep us posted.

    Shanell Custer @ Sage Health and Wellness


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