acu-whatttt?

First of all, THANK YOU for all the love and support that came from my last post. I was astonished by the amount of times it was shared, read and how many messages I received as a result. I had so many great conversations about other areas that people struggle in – women that complain about their body image when another would love that figure, or complaining about their spouse when others would love a spouse. Overall the message was received that we have to be extra cautious in a world filled with sin, where complaining comes naturally, NOT to turn our blessings into burdens. Whatever that they may be. The conversations had were excellent reminders to me that I am guilty of complaining about things that are blessings and it’s helped me put life’s “challenges” into perspective. Another conversation reminded me that we are called to carry each other’s burdens as Christians and the beautiful thing about that is that usually, we can pick our audience. Anyways, thanks for all the love and support! Meant so much!

So with that said ….

In the world of IVF, after a failed cycle, you have what is lovingly termed a “WTF” appointment with your doctor. You know, the What the fickle-doo happened!? talk. You basically fire off questions on WHAT HAPPENED!? Why am I not pregnant?! while your doctor patiently answers and re-answers the variations of the same question. I was able to have this conversation with Dr. C a few weeks ago and wanted to pass off some of the answers I was given, as many of you are asking these great questions to me! (I’ll summarize in a Q & A format and just include the highlights as to not bore you.)

Q: Are you concerned with my egg quality or has this just been bad luck?

A: I am not concerned about your egg quality. I really just think it’s been bad luck. The fact that you had blasts to freeze both cycles is great news and many don’t have that. But truly, everything else looks good. All other tests have come back really positive and I don’t see any reason to have concerns that this won’t happen for you.

Q: We were never told the percentage chance of pregnancy on transfer day. What was our percentage going into this last round?

A: With two morulas, grade B, it was only 30-35%. We tend not to share that unless asked as we don’t want to discourage our patients. (My note – I am glad I didn’t know that! We were told it would be higher at the start of the cycle but based on what was transferred, was much lower than anticipated.)

 Q: And what would be our percentage this time with an FET and the frozen embryos we intend to transfer?

A: Your frozen embryos are all grade B’s. With your age and the quality of embryos, I would give you at least 45% but likely much closer to 55%. At least.

Q: How does the thawing process work?

A: We thaw one at a time. We have an 85-90% thaw success rate and all 3 of your embryos are very strong. I wouldn’t be concerned that they don’t make the thaw. I recommend you transfer 2 again and we start by thawing the best embryos in order until we have your 2 thawed and ready for transfer.

Q: So tell me more about the FET protocol.

A: You would start with being on BCP (birth control pills) for about a month and then move to Lupron shots each day to ensure your ovaries are quiet. Then, instead of stimulating your ovaries, we simply need to stimulation your lining to make it ready for a transfer. We do this with careful monitoring and a few weeks of the estrogen pills and progesterone shots. You had great lining both times so I am not concerned that this will be an issue for you.

Q: Is there anything differently that I could do to make this more successful? A different diet? Weight loss? Acupuncture?

A: Your BMI is at a healthy level and of course we encourage all patients to have a healthy balanced diet. I have no concerns with you whatsoever. With acupuncture, there is absolutely no harm done and we have seen it to be very successful. We have a few acupuncturists that come in to do pre-and post transfer acupuncture sessions on patients in the clinic the day of the transfer. There is no reason I would suggest not doing it and many patients find it to be very helpful with their stress levels, as well as it does increase blood flow to the uterus.

Q: Anything else?

A: I have no reason to believe this won’t work for you. With many PCOS patients, we see a few cycles being common but we have high success rates with patients just like you. You have no male factor and only an ovulatory issue. I truly have no reason to doubt that you won’t have success.

So after that conversation, Josh and I both feel hopeful for this next step. I know that in the end, only GOD can make this work. And He already knows the outcome of this next leg in our journey. At times, I find myself completely filled with hope for whatever comes our way. Other times (usually between 2 am and 4 am), I find myself completely lost in a world of worry, fearful that this fight will never end. It’s usually in those moments where I think of Job. Our story is so far away from Job’s – sure, there are precious things we loved and lost, but some days I feel like I am walking this tightrope where I can’t bear to think about God allowing Satan to test us any further, remove anything from our lives, destroy what we care about. Would we get through it, with a love still shining for Him? Yes, I truly believe so. I just don’t know if I have the strength for that test. My mind will race – what will it be? Will something happen to Cali? My precious fur baby that brings me so much happiness? Will it be Josh’s job? Will it be the death of a close family member? Will it be a life-threatening diagnosis (or re-diagnosis) of someone we love?

In Jr. High and High School, we would travel with our youth group to conferences where at the end, me, an emotional charged teenager would stand, arms raised to the sky and cry out to God to “send anything my way!” Prove me, O Lord, and try me; test my heart and my mind. (Psalm 26:2). Now, I find my heart pleading Oh God, no more! Please stop testing me! No more trying! Give me a chance to catch up. It’s not that I don’t think I could handle it. If anything, this whole journey reminds me that my strength is not my own, and I know that God’s strength in me could handle anything. I’m just tired. I don’t want to be tried or tested anymore. I just want my miracle.

As we prepare for this FET cycle, I have decided to give acupuncture a try. I mean, there is no harm per my doctor and I have several TTC-er friends who swear by it. I was uncertain, still am. But with an open mind I ventured to my first appointment last week.

Acupuncture is a type of Chinese medication that uses carefully placed thin needles into certain points of the body to increase blood flow and stimulate parts of your body. It seems bizarre, but again, with no harm and studies showing it does lead to slightly higher success rates, I am willing to try it! (A recent study had 2 groups of 80 women undergoing IVF. One set was given weekly acupuncture and 34 of those women got pregnant, opposed to 21 in the IVF-only group.)

Unsure and somewhat skeptical, I called an acupuncturist, Lauren, that my doctor highly recommended and made my first appointment. She specializes solely in fertility acupuncture and from the first phone call, we clicked. I ventured to the clinic last week (dressed in comfy clothes as instructed.) As I entered the partial basement clinic in Uptown, I was a little hesitant. As I sat in the waiting room that smelled like dirt (because of all the herbal medications surrounding me, a frequently used type of treatment for those not undergoing IVF), I was concerned. As I listened to the littlest water fountain splash tiny drops of water over its edge onto the pebbles below, I had to go to the bathroom. (Not really, but they really should get a bigger water fountain.) It certainly was a little bizarre but I kept reminding myself if my highly paid doctor was suggesting this and her, I didn’t have too much to be concerned about. I met with Lauren and we went over EVERYTHING. We looked at my chart and talked about my history start to end. It was much more therapeutic than I imagined! She knew what questions to ask, empathized during tough stages in our journey and was incredibly perceptive with asking follow up questions that would tie things together. After about an hour and a half, she told me a little about what to expect. “A typical needle sensation may have a brief burning sensation immediately around the insert location but will be brief. Most you shouldn’t be able to feel. Let me know if any cause pain.” I laid on a table, similar to a massage table, on my back, and she asked me to pull my leggings up over my knee caps and pull my shirt up a bit to expose my tummy. She alcohol swabbed several areas and then quickly and simply began to place these tiny needles into me. A few in my shins and knees, 1 in each foot, ear and hand, 1 in my head and 1 between my eyes and a few in my tummy. At this point, I was really perplexed. Truthfully, I wasn’t in any pain. I felt 1 or 2 of them in my knees but otherwise I felt nothing. It was SO bizarre. Just as quickly as she inserted the needles, she turned on some relaxing music, put a few heat lamps over me, set a doorbell under my fingertips to call if needed and turned off the lights and left. “Now I will give you time to relax. Many clients sleep.” and poof! The door shut and I was left laying on a table in a lookout basement in Uptown covered with needles in the dark.

That’s when the insanity of all this kicked in.

What am I DOING?! I am laying on a table with needles all over me? What if I roll off? What if I stab my brain with a needle if I twitch really bad and roll? (Unlikely, I know, but still a valid concern at the moment). Did I feel a needle pinch? OUCH YES! That hurts! Wait, no it doesn’t. I don’t feel it anymore. Ummm, what kind of cd is it? Waves? Or fountains trickling? Hehe. I’m glad I don’t have to go to the bathroom. I’m bored. I have needles in me. This is weird. How do people relax? And sleep? I barely sleep at night in bed after laying there for 5 hours with several pillows! Wait, do I have to go to the bathroom? She said she will be back in 30 minutes. I am going to go insane. Insane. In-sane. Bane. Bane like the guy in Batman. That was a good movie. Ohhh like Dark Knight. Awww, Heath Ledger. That was so sad. OUCH! My ear. Wait, it’s gone. Sighhhhhh….

Then it all went blurry.

“Hi Chelsea, I’m back. How was your rest?”

WHHHHHAAATTTTTT????

I fell asleep.

I have NO idea how it happened. My heart was racing so fast and I was so confused for a minute (or 10) wondering how the heck that happened. I fell asleep. One minute I was re-mourning over the loss of Heath Ledger and worrying about Matilda (his daughter) and the next, I was being woken up with lights being turned back on and needles being swiftly pulled from my flesh.

I have no idea.

I wish I could tell you what happened in that 28 minutes. I stumbled to my car wondering if she drugged me with needles. I felt rested and great. Just sooo perplexed and I still don’t know what to think.

I had my second appointment today and while I didn’t fall asleep this time, I was relaxed again (I think?). I don’t feel any different, but I just don’t know what to think at this point. Only time will tell!

acu

Shots start in 2 weeks! Can’t believe we are here again. But I am ready and generally feel hopeful. At the end of the day, we trust in a God that cares and is the sole provider of our joy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have difficult moments, but it means that when they come, I turn them over to Him with a trust that He is in control.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.” (1 Peter 5:7-10)

25 thoughts on “acu-whatttt?

  1. carolinenharries says:

    So glad you got so many questions answered, and that you started acupuncture! I’m a big believer in it! Of course, with God being the ultimate healer and master of the plans!! Praying this next cycle you get your BFP!!!

    • chels819 says:

      I’m so glad you love acupuncture! I really love positive stories that come from it, because right now I am just a little perplexed. :) And YES! God is the ONLY healer and master of our plans! Thanks for your prayers!!

  2. There Is A Chance says:

    Acupuncture is so amazing. It doesn’t make any sense to me, but I know how I feel, and that’s enough for me! I’ve just gone through the FET process exactly as you described, so if you want to toss any questions/concerns at me about the experience, I’ll answer anything!

  3. Jaimee says:

    I’m excited to see how your next cycle goes and if you think the acupuncture helps! I have a very good friend with PCOS who is starting acupuncture. She hasn’t started any medical treatments yet, so I’m interested to see how it works for her as well! It’s something I’m very interested in looking into in the future!

  4. Olga says:

    You are hilarious, girl!!! I never had experience with acupuncture, but after your story I do want to try! BTW, my suggestion will be very old and not original, but don’t worry and over think things! I wish someone told me that before I even started this journey! I foolishly though that 2WW would be the end of the worries and anxiety! HaHaHa!!! No way! So do what you need to do, but take it easy and have fun! Praying for you!

    • chels819 says:

      Thanks Olga, for that helpless reminder! It’s always needed because I DO tend to over think things and let me brain race! (Clearly …). I will let you know what I think about it all – only thinking positive thoughts!! :) Hope you are feeling well!!!

      • Olga says:

        I know, I am just like you, an over-thinker! I used to ask a copy of each of my blood work after my long awaited BFP, compare my results with Dr. Google and ask endless questions about the simplest things! My RE yesterday told me “Olga, I promise I will tell you when you need to start worrying!” Now I am not going to even ask my results! I figure they would tell me if they see something suspicious… I do think about you and your upcoming FET and send you positive vibes!!!

  5. Sarah says:

    I was skeptical of acupuncture, but I knew it couldn’t hurt and I was desperate to keep trying things. And like you, I was amazed at the whole thing – confused and wondering at first, and then realized OMG this makes me feel amazingly at peace and rested. And the stumble out to the car afterwards – totally me too! I had a headache one night I went, and she put a needle at my right ankle, which hurt at first, but by the end of the session I couldn’t feel it and low and behold my headache was gone. Oh and mine also spent time asking me questions about how I was feeling…it was refreshing.

    Acupuncture is something I’ll probably never understand, but I like to think it is making a positive difference.

    So sorry your last cycle didn’t work. Will be thinking of you for your FET!!

    • chels819 says:

      HAHA! Sarah, I am so glad to hear you have had a similar experience at first of confusion but that it has grown on you completely! I am so glad to hear that and excited for my next session next week. I do love the Q & A part – its really nice just to talk to someone that really isn’t emotionally invested!

      Thanks for the thoughts for our FET cycle!! :)

  6. Laura F says:

    I’m glad that your WTF appointment went well, it really seems like he is feeling good about the FET, which is awesome!! I can’t believe you start up again in 2 weeks, where is the time going?!?

    I LOVE your internal dialogue during those first few minutes, that is seriously too funny. Acupuncture is just so strange, I was very skeptical too, but after today I am a true believer. I look forward to your FET, and I’ve been continually keeping you guys in my thought and prayers!

    xoxo

    • chels819 says:

      I am not sure where time goes!! And I am excited to follow you and YOUR FET!! I am praying for you guys and really just love that you have had so much demonstrated success through the use of acupuncture. So encouraging! Praying away and so thankful for your positivity and comments! :)

  7. elaaisa says:

    I also sometimes need to remind myself that it’s hard to be tactful with people all the time. For instance when I talk about my job or husband or family.
    I hope you get to enjoy acupuncture. I had a similar experience to yours the first time and now I love it: I go to relax even when I don’t need it for treatments.
    Good luck with the preparation for FET!

  8. roribeat says:

    I can’t help but laughing reading your post! I’ve been having acupuncture for the last 3 months and for the first 5 mins of the sessions I always have funny thoughts in my head and just like that I then fall asleep! Acupuncture helps me a lot physically and emotionally. So really hope it works for you too!

    • chels819 says:

      The sleeping thing is so bizarre to me! Haha! I am so glad to hear you have had a great experience with it and can’t wait to reach that stage of utter bliss that I hear so much about! :) Thanks!!

  9. teachmetobraid says:

    What a cool post – from the CRAZY acupuncture story to the great info about IVF/FET to the honest, vulnerable heart-story you told, it all made me feel so privileged to be able to witness your journey through your blog. I pray that God will soon decide that you have had enough and it is time to reward your faithfulness. But if not, I know that you will stand strong. I’ve seen two different acupuncturists and have had very weird experiences with both. That stuff is fascinating.

    • chels819 says:

      Awww, thank you SO much for your kind comment. I feel so blessed to have you following our journey! And I am secretly glad you had weird experiences too because it really is kind of bizarre! Glad I am not the only one who thinks so, ha! Thanks for all the love, support and prayers!

  10. Allison says:

    At the end of the day, we trust in a God that cares and is the sole provider of our joy. It doesn’t mean that I don’t have difficult moments, but it means that when they come, I turn them over to Him with a trust that He is in control.

    I read this post today.. and this was exactly what I needed to read! Without knowing it, you just made my day a little brighter. Thank you for that! I am so excited for you and your FET and wish you the best of luck! You will continue to be in my thoughts and prayers!

    • chels819 says:

      Aw, that totally made my day Allison. I am glad and humbled that my simple words were what you needed to read today. Thank you for sharing that, truly. Know I am thinking about you guys OFTEN and praying for you as well! Your excitement for us ad mist your own heartache really is a shining light of His love. Keep shining and know you are being thought of and prayed for by MANY!

  11. Kyle says:

    Your description of the acupuncture cracked me up! I gone twice a week for about 4 months now and I still feel the way you described. “What if someone busts in with a gun? Will I run out with these in? I wonder if its 30 min yet? Try to sleep? Imagine I’m at a log cabbin and this water noise is the rain. Kids and husband and dogs run in and get everything wet. Now I’ve got to clean. Do laundry. I like flowers.” Ok wake up! Where did the needles take me for the past 30 minutes? And do I tell people what I’m doing or will they think I’ve gone crazy? All I know is I haven’t had a headache in 3 months and my cycles are like a 16 year olds. So, it’s worth it.

    • chels819 says:

      I laughed out loud reading this! HAHA! Seriously we seem to have the same brain! “Do laundry. I like flowers.” You crack me up! I am so glad to hear it has been working for you! I am super impressed with your twice a week commitment! I will be going for my fourth session tomorrow … also starting Lupron tomorrow so hoping to be a headache free gal like you too! :)

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