Now then. I am not so sure about this. I read a lot about it and was impressed by the stats. Apparently, some randomised blind study trial held by the highest fertility authorities of the land (I’m not academic, I’m not one for data and stats and understanding studies and research etc) say that acupuncture can increase chances of IVF success from an average of 35% without to 60% with. And it’s not some airy fairy hippy dippy eejit who said that, it was someone who knew their shit. Who am I to argue? When we had our meeting with the consultant, planning our treatment, we asked about ways in which we could change our lives in order to increase chances, and he whole heartedly recommended (among other lifestyle changes) acupuncture.
We had a choice to make – as my wife and I are sharing the IVF between us – do we both go and get it? It’s expensive. There are two things acupuncture can help with – egg production, and implantation. For the egg production, as eggs take 90 days to mature, it’s recommended you undergo acupuncture for that whole time. We were too late for that. Also, my wife has good eggs so far as we know – hence being selected for egg sharing. The consultant said if only one of us have it, he’d prefer it to be me. So I’m having it.
I had my first session last week. We were told it would increase blood flow to the uterus (by the consultant) which will obvs (obvs!) help with implantation. So we got there, and the first question she asked was why I was there, what I hoped to achieve. “Well,” I said “increased blood flow to the uterus, please.” What I didn’t realise, is that she actually intends to give me a full service – she is going to fix my entire body. Everything I didn’t know what wrong with it to begin with, she will fix. Including (starting with!) emotional trauma.
Now, you know when you talk to a psychic (yeah!?) and they ask you lots of questions to sneak information out of you which they then present back to you and you say “how on earth did you know that!?” It felt like a less creepy version of that. She asked me if I had ever experienced any trauma such as a burglary or a car accident, and I mentioned that I was mugged (I failed to mention it happened in 2006.) She then clung on to that and kept referring back to it, even afterwards when I felt like I had a bit of a headache, she declared that my head hurt in the area I received the injury, yes? Hm.
I do believe in acupuncture – otherwise I wouldn’t be paying this woman and giving up an evening every week. I believe in energy flow and that certain parts of your body are related to other parts (i.e. she treated my bad (??) spleen with a needle in my foot). I do believe that a realignment of the energy will help increase my general health and in turn increase blood flow to the ute and help me make that embryo stick. I believe that it is going to help me with relaxation in the lead up to what is going to be a few weeks fraught with worry and stress. I also believe those stats.
All the other stuff – I smile and nod and try to pretend to look interested.
As for the actual experience…
It was odd. I’m not keen on needles and generally suffer with a bit more generalised anxiety than the average person. It’s not too bad, most of the needles I felt nothing, some of them (the one in my forehead!) felt a bit odd, some – that spleen one in my foot – really hurt. Apparently that’s just a sign that that area needs attention. My heart one (which was actually on my arm) bled – she said that’s because of all the love I’ve experienced over the week with the new babies in my life. Aw.
I could not relax. I kept physically making myself relax, breathing deeply and making my body heavy, feeling myself sink in to the bed – until I forgot to remember to relax and found myself with hunched shoulders and holding my breath again. I’m going to talk to her about that this week – I don’t usually have a problem relaxing, I’m wondering if it was the movement of all that internal energy that made me react like that.
Also – you’re supposed to feel all lovely and spacey afterwards. And sleep like a baby. That night I had a gazillion things I had to do to prepare for my trip to Dublin the following morning, the dogs then kept me up all night titting about and then my alarm went off at 5 for me to get up and make my way to the airport. So I’m hoping that this week, I’ll be able to really try and let that relaxation work rather than fight it!
Conclusion: I’ll let you know, if I manage to get up the duff.