Prickly prickly

Have I told you guys about the TTC Money Tree I have growing on my back porch? No? Well, I planted it back in September, about when I decided it was important to supplement my gym membership with yoga classes to chill me out on the baby-making front. And boy has the tree grown big and strong. (Another box of fancy-pants OPKs at Walgreens? No prob, I got it!)


Here’s where this is going. I took some cash from the TTC Money Tree and tried acupuncture last week. And even worse (better?), now I believe in it. My hubs is a teensie bit shocked and appalled that a reasonable, skeptical, RE-going girl like me can actually be putting, um, eggs in this new basket.

I’d been contemplating acupuncture for a few months and found some studies supporting its fertility benefits: promoting healthy female hormones in the body and boosting blood flow to the uterus (click here , here and here for a few abstracts).

Finally, I tried it last Wednesday evening for the first time. My practitioner, Kristen, and talked for an hour about my TTC details and regular ‘ol history. I liked how many questions she asked, and I really liked how well-versed she was with medical terms and Western meds (even dose levels and lining measurements and stuff).

She seemed to glean all the weirdness that is me (I get numb hands and feet a lot, I’m usually cold—except at night when I’m usually hot, I have always had constipation issues, ETC). I changed into loungey pants and a loose button-up shirt and was ready to go. Then she put the needles in me (eeeek!)…in points along my ears, my left wrist, my feet, knees and three near my belly-button. I was scared. I clenched my eyes shut.For 20 minutes I tried to relax on a massage table, never peeking at those needles! I felt a dull ache-y pain under my belly button. (Sort of like that feeling you get in your throat when you swallow something too big? Like that.) Then after a while the ache moved into my lower abdomen area and turned into a fizzy, almost electric crampiness. I was a little freaked out, but I practiced my yoga breathing (thanks TTC Tree!) and made it through.

Before leaving the office, I made a quickie trip to the bathroom. I discovered I had some spotting. Yep, that’s right. The period I never believed would come showed up within minutes of finishing acupuncture. I know this was mostly Dr. C’s magical Clomid running it’s course (it was a little early in the window of ETA, but in it nonetheless). I can’t help but believe the acupuncture triggered it right then. I might be crazy. I might sound like a new-agey goofball. But, I still believe something happened in my session! (Hubs’ very logical take on this: “Why does it have to be something. Couldn’t it just be a dull ache? What’s so great about that?”)

Anyway, I went back last night. This time the acupuncture points were different because now we’re at the beginning of my “cycle,” yesterday being CD7. I felt a dull ache in my tummy again, but not as intense as last week. Kristen was sympathetic about how crushing it felt to be yanked onto the sidelines (oh, the drama of my life!) on Friday thanks to the cyst. But she was also super happy to have a month with me sans meds. She is very optimistic that I can ovulate and menstruate all by myself. While that is VERY awesome to hear, I must admit that I have not totally gone to the dark—er, holistic—side. I still believe in Clomid.

So we made a deal. I will start doing OPKs and looking for CM early next week and if any signals suggest ovulation then I will delay my December 5 start date of Provera. In the meantime, I will eat more red foods (red pepper, beets, etc) and more nutrient-rich greens (kale, chard, etc). These are good for my cold disposition! (Who knew?!) I have been asked to start temping. (I know it might seem weird that I don’t do that already; but I am afraid of getting type-A about one more disappointing daily measurement….the negative OPKs really take it out of me!) She also asked me to cut back on my running…from 20-25 miles a week to 12-15 max, with yoga twice a week instead of once. “It’s great that you exercise regularly and I would never take away that endorphin boost running gives you. But running 20 miles a week—while it may not feel like a lot to you—is very hard on your body. We want to be gentle with your body right now, which means less jostling and high-impact activity,” she explained.

That is a pretty big change (and one I thought I’d successfully tackled in July), but I’m open to easing up even more. In fact, I’m going to set up my road bike inside my apartment this weekend and swap in some mellow bike rides for miles. (I’ve been meaning to do that anyway!) Finally, Kristen recommended some Chinese herbs (that will not conflict in any way with your RE’s Western meds! I highly doubt Dr. C would agree), but even I have my limits. I’ll be incubating that one.



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7 responses to “Prickly prickly

  1. You are swaying me to get pricked sister!!! I am going to research it today. It sounds amazing.
    It’s funny to hear you need to cut back on exercise. Almost crazy for us healthy quacks, but you are right. We can always get back to that eventually, but right now there is something more important to us!

  2. Al

    So glad you posted your experience w/ acupuncture! I have my first acupuncture appointment this Saturday and I’m excited but nervous (and admittedly apprehensive too).

    I hope you start seeing results and maybe even get AF w/o meds this next cycle. That would definitively show that this is helping you.

  3. I’m going on Saturday! Like you, I am a cynic, but I figure it can’t hurt!
    That’s interesting what she said about running. I run about 20 miles per week and never thought of it as being too much. I’ll definitely ask her about that. I also play a lot (like 10+ hours per week) of tennis, so I’m curious if she considers that too “jiggly” for optimal conception…

  4. Yep, couldn’t have said it all better myself. I had almost an identical experience (long lost twins fo’ real!). Last night I had roasted beets and kale for dinner. Not a bad “diet” 🙂

    I’m keeping up with my twice-weekly acupuncture too. It’s expensive, but it’s good for my overall health and wellness, and it can’t hurt, even though I’m not swearing off Western meds anytime soon.

  5. I didn’t really “feel” anything except maybe a slight ache/prickle in my stomach – I was aware of two needles, one in my hand and one in my foot. Definitely an interesting experience.
    She didn’t specify how much to cut back on running/tennis, but that I should try to replace some of it with swimming and yoga.
    I go again next weekend…

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