Saturday, March 07, 2009

East Meets West

So, let's back up a little bit in the saga that is my reproductive funk (prepare for yet another example of the over-share).

Started acupuncture a month ago. Took herbs (in capsule form; acupuncturist says most people don't want to get pregnant badly enough to actually drink the stuff), and noticed that my post-ovulation temperatures soared like a pretty little pregnant bird all the way up to the high 98's, an excellent sign, and not something my post-ovulation temperatures usually do---they generally go up and down and up and down until they resemble what my acupuncturist calls a "saw-tooth" and what I call the jagged fangs of infertility (who's a drama queen?! not me....right?).

Last Saturday found me back in her office, fertility chart in hand (soaring pregnant bird and all), herbs consumed, and her hands taking my pulse. A smile swam over her face and she said, "I know I have only been seeing you for a few weeks and I don't know your pulse as well as I could, but that feels like a very pregnant pulse."

I took some deep breaths and gave myself for permission to believe, for just a minute, that MAYBE she was right (I mean, the chart and all), and then I dove back down into the "It hasn't happened in thirteen months--why should it happen now?" and all that fabulous negative self-talk. I mean, how could she just feel my pulse and know? And more important than that, how could my body let her, my acupuncturist, know, and not let me in on it?!

Turns out, four days and six negative pregnancy tests later, my wariness was confirmed, and it was made ever so clear to me that, soaring temperatures, "pregnant pulse" and all that fabulousness aside, I was still NOT pregnant.

It wouldn't be fair to say that my faith in acupuncture was shattered--actually, there's not a ton to shatter--it's only been three weeks; my verdict on it is still out. I know I feel better when I leave, in a more-connected-to-myself-and-more-centered-focused-and-at-peace kind of way. It is definitely good for my "Year of Living Mindfully" resolution, and for that, if nothing else, I'm grateful. Besides, looking at the wall o' babies collage in her office makes my insides warm and mushy. So, faith not shattered---but not too terribly enforced, either. I continue to look hopefully to the words of friends who either tell me about their own positive experience with acupuncture or relate stories of a friend of a friend, or their cousins' friend's sister, who got knocked up after only a few months acupuncture. So I will keep breathing through the placement of needles on my ankles, forehead, wrists and belly--hoping that the Eastern medicine will do what it says it can do and find a way to help my reproductively challenged body actually reproduce.

But I also had an appointment with a regular old Western OB this week, too. You know, the kind who scoffs at your own attempts to chart your fertility cycle, tells you to relax and just have sex, schedules you for fifteen tests and starts talking about clomid within seconds of walking into the room? Yeah, that kind.

In pure "Sarah can't get her act together" form, I have yet to get my various medical records transferred from my doctors in Virginia, so I spent most of our appointment reliving, in my own words, the experience of my last pregnancy and what my perinatologist expected from any future pregnancy. She threw an entire brain's worth of information at me in response to that not the least of which is that she doesn't do the transabdominal cerclage unless a second type of transvaginal one--the Shirodkar one--fails. My first cerclage was a McDonald stitch, not Shirodkar, so she would perform the Shirodkar stitch on me early on and hopefully have success with that. Also? No bedrest. So all of that sounds fabulous---far less invasive cerclage proceedure, no bedrest. Sign me up.

Oh. Shit. I have to actually get pregnant first. And that's when another barage of information came pouring out of her. Semen analysis, hysterosalpingogram, ultrasounds the day of ovulation, when to have sex, how often to have sex, maybe we'll use Clomid, blah blah blah blah.

So next week, I get to have blue dye shot up into my uterus and fallopian tubes while I lie on a cold X-ray table, and Husband? Well, he gets to look at porn and, as Costanza's mother would say, "treat his body like it was an amusement park." Seriously, even in infertility, men get the better end of the deal.

The Western way feels so cold, impersonal and one-size fits all--if your body doesn't do what it's supposed to do, pop a pill and force it. The Eastern way feels so much more intuitively grounded and respectful--if your body won't do what it's supposed to do, focus on the mind/body connection and work with your own energy to get it flowing correctly again.

I'm not sure which way, if either, will help me. Right now, I'm just about ready to pop Clomid into a Pez dispenser and take them every hour, on the hour, if the doctor tells that it might help my chances of conceiving. I'd walk around with needles sticking out of my belly all day. Because every month is starting to feel like a failure to me. Every time I wake up on the 30th day of a cycle and realize that I'm not pregnant, I find myself mourning that baby that might have been, that somehow wasn't, and that might never be. I hope that by putting some faith and trust in both the West and the East, we'll find a way to bring the best of them together and finally get this baby we're already in love with, made, once and for all.


Becca said...

Ugh, the paragraph about you having to do the HSG test vs. Husband's, er, contribution was funny, but man, so true. I am sorry you guys are struggling. Best of luck.

jeanne said...

Just a lurker . . . I know . . . scary prospect . . popping in to wish you luck and hoping the following months find you richly plump with baby.

Amy said...

You know I am pulling for you in every way. This will happen for you. It will.

Interesting thoughts from the OB re: cerclage. As you know, no bedrest for me second time around so I am hoping the same for you.

And, when it comes to charts, I think it's an awesome tool to see what's going on, but makes you crazy when it comes to analyzing things in progress. I did have better success shortening up my cycle with some liquid herb I can't for the life of me remember right now. However, I do remember that the herb got me Emmie, so there's some hope for you!

KMW said...

I'm just wishing you the best in every way. I have a lot of hope that you will get pregnant and have a very successful easy pregnancy! No bed rest sounds great!

Anonymous said...

Good luck to you! I have to say, I may not have been trying quite as long as you, but the past 4-5 months have been much tougher than I ever imagined. And as much as I like charting to see those points and everything in black and white, it pisses me off beyond belief when the temps are up and then suddenly it's all over and we're starting again from scratch. DH and I have talked about the if/when situation of Clomid and the other stuff...and I still don't know. I'm currently of the mind that if it works, I want it. :)

Sarah said...

Good luck!!

Emi said...

May your womb quicken with a life of your and little bro's making.. (can you tell I have been reading romance novels again.. hee hee.)

Anonymous said...

I have lived your life in just reverse order. I had uneventful first pregnancy blessed with a baby right on the 40th week. 4 years after the first baby still no second baby just one second trimester miscarriage. Went thru HSG, infertility blood work etc and found that i have short luteal phase and blocked fallopian tube. took clomid for 2 cycles and just threw away the prescription and vowed never to try that again. Took a trip to europe with my family sealing the thought of having an only child for life. no periods after that. may be europe trip was the much needed prescription and had my daughter after a incompetent cervix/cerclage/bedrest saga right before your little man (April 2006). I have been reading your blog since my bedrest as we are so close in the experience.
so u see everything is possible. take a trip with your little/big man to anywhere without any pregnancy expectation and i am sure you will come back pregnant. dont ask me how/why/whynots etc but thats how it works in this world. :-)

Good Luck.

Avonlea said...

Dropping by to wish you luck. (Men do get the better end of the deal sometimes, don't they?)