Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Human Pin Cushion

My husband and I have recently discovered the medicine of acupuncture to supplement my upcoming IVF treatment. The goal for his treatment is to increase the number of sperm. For me, it is to stimulate follicle growth. Technically my ovaries are working just fine but there is some research which indicates acupuncture prior to, and including the day of transfer may increase my chance of IVF success. At this point, if it doesn’t hurt my chances, I say BRING IT ON!

The thought behind acupuncture is to increase blood flow. In my case, it is to increase blood flow to my reproductive organs and to reduce stress.

The first treatment was actually at the same time as my husband. He volunteered to go first so I was in the room while the doctor began inserting the needles. There were a couple that caused his back to spasm and shout out in pain. Ok this is not looking good. Now I am afraid for my turn.

I didn’t feel many of my needles go in, and to be truthful, any mild discomfort I felt could not really be classified as pain. I’m sure my husband would disagree. The doctor smiled as she completed my treatment, telling me that men normally complain more.

My second treatment is with another doctor and today I am in the follicular state of my menstrual cycle. This means that I am growing follicles to release an egg at ovulation. The treatment is more aggressive and more targeted on my body to where my reproductive organs are. No twitches so far. This is going well I think. Doc then tells me he is going to attach a machine to run electromagnetic pulses through some needles.

‘’Ahem. You are going to do what?’’
‘’You should only feel a dull buzz on your back and a small tapping on your leg.’’

Holy tapping Batman! BANG BANG KNOCK BANG. So much for a gentle tapping. I feel like my entire calf is jumping off the table. The dull buzz I feel is just that until suddenly I feel a sharp spasm. It is actually very difficult to explain what I felt but I’ll give it a try. Have you ever emptied a can of wet dog food or jellied cranberries into a bowl? The thick plop as it drains from the can is what I felt and then suddenly it passed. I explained this to him and he said this was good. Acupuncture increases blood flow and sometimes this is a sign of some blockage. Great.

Somehow though, once all the needles are in and the banging on the calf reduces to a tapping, I feel somewhat relaxed. Whether this will actually help us is to be determined. If anything, it gives me human pin cushion practice for my upcoming hormone injections.

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