My Experience With Acupuncture for Infertility

/ 8:11 PM
ivf acupuncture infertility

My first introduction to acupuncture was at my dentist's office of all places. I found a holistic dentist I was really excited about visiting - finally it wasn't so much of a dreaded chore. She gave me a warm fuzzy blanket to keep me comfortable and asked if I wanted acupuncture. She quickly placed a needle  on web in between my thumb and pointer finger. She said it helps to relax and calm the nerves of patients.

She went on to ask if any of my health history had changed. I mentioned that we were going through fertility treatments (at that time I think I had done our third round of Clomid). She asked what I'd been doing and I said just hormones. She suggested I give acupuncture a try, and said that a local brother and sister team were "miracle workers." Miracles? I needed one! I picked up a business card for the acupuncture clinic and called the next day.

Before We Decided to Use IVF

When I first walked into the clinic I was a little nervous. I'm a pretty shy person, so meeting new people is always a little difficult for me. (I'm getting better). There was no one at the reception desk, so I looked around at the framed images on the walls, the fish swimming in the tank, and then sat to open up a cookbook. It was a book on food and Chinese medicine. Shortly after, the receptionist - also a sibling - greeted me.

Once the acupuncturist guided me back to the room, I unloaded the details of my health history and infertility. She gave me a list of foods to avoid ("cold") and to eat more of ("warm"). Then, treatment began. One thing she did during every session was put a heat lamp over my belly. Warmth is good apparently. I was told to always wear socks, a sweater at night during the colder months, and to put a heating pad over my lower belly for fifteen minutes a night. I was also given some herbs to take. They were for healing cysts and fibroids. I visited her a few times that week, then twice weekly after that.

At this point, I hadn't had a regular period of my own. Anything that did occur, was medically induced (Provera, Clomid - which didn't even help me to ovulate!). Yet, just two weeks after I began treatment, I had my very first cycle since stopping birth control over a year prior. I was ecstatic. I think this was the first little bit of hope I'd had since we started trying.

My husband was going once a week and also was taking herbs. After about six months, we decided to ask for another analysis. However, he showed no improvement really in motility or morphology. I was stressed again about our plan of action. This is when we decided to stop with acupuncture and move forward with IVF. I just wasn't willing to wait for it to work.

During IVF Treatment

When we first met up with our reproductive endocrinologist, he reviewed my medical history and asked what I had done differently to get my cycles going again. I mentioned acupuncture and he smiled, nodded, and said, "it really works." I was a bit relieved that I hadn't wasted all that time and money. His comment was almost validation that we had chosen the right path.

Our infertility clinic partners with a local acupuncturist who specializes in infertility. The treatment options were quite pricey though. So, we opted not to use acupuncture the first two cycles. After the second one failed, I read up a bit more on the effectivness of acupuncture and IVF. Our clinic's website says, "in one study, the IVF success rate jumped from 25% to 42% using acupuncture the day of embryo transfer." I thought those were pretty successful stats. So, we decided to dish out the extra $500 for acupuncture the day of transfer.

The acupuncturist came in and was very kind. He brought a very calming energy to the room. After transfer, I'm usually instructed to wait in the room laying down for fifteen minutes - always torture when you have a bladder full for the ultrasound! The acupuncturist asked about our infertility journey so far, and started treatment. He said to eat warm foods when I got home and not to forget about the pineapple core (which was also something I'd never paid much attention to before).

I still think that having acupuncture the day of transfer is what helped Atticus "stick." I'm sure there are a ton of things that contribute to a happy outcome, but I know that if/when we decided to do another frozen embryo transfer, I'll be sure to have acupuncture as well. If nothing else, it is very relaxing which is helpful for such a stressful/exciting day.

acupuncture ivf frozen embryo transfer fet
Acupuncture the day of our FET.

ivf acupuncture infertility

My first introduction to acupuncture was at my dentist's office of all places. I found a holistic dentist I was really excited about visiting - finally it wasn't so much of a dreaded chore. She gave me a warm fuzzy blanket to keep me comfortable and asked if I wanted acupuncture. She quickly placed a needle  on web in between my thumb and pointer finger. She said it helps to relax and calm the nerves of patients.

She went on to ask if any of my health history had changed. I mentioned that we were going through fertility treatments (at that time I think I had done our third round of Clomid). She asked what I'd been doing and I said just hormones. She suggested I give acupuncture a try, and said that a local brother and sister team were "miracle workers." Miracles? I needed one! I picked up a business card for the acupuncture clinic and called the next day.

Before We Decided to Use IVF

When I first walked into the clinic I was a little nervous. I'm a pretty shy person, so meeting new people is always a little difficult for me. (I'm getting better). There was no one at the reception desk, so I looked around at the framed images on the walls, the fish swimming in the tank, and then sat to open up a cookbook. It was a book on food and Chinese medicine. Shortly after, the receptionist - also a sibling - greeted me.

Once the acupuncturist guided me back to the room, I unloaded the details of my health history and infertility. She gave me a list of foods to avoid ("cold") and to eat more of ("warm"). Then, treatment began. One thing she did during every session was put a heat lamp over my belly. Warmth is good apparently. I was told to always wear socks, a sweater at night during the colder months, and to put a heating pad over my lower belly for fifteen minutes a night. I was also given some herbs to take. They were for healing cysts and fibroids. I visited her a few times that week, then twice weekly after that.

At this point, I hadn't had a regular period of my own. Anything that did occur, was medically induced (Provera, Clomid - which didn't even help me to ovulate!). Yet, just two weeks after I began treatment, I had my very first cycle since stopping birth control over a year prior. I was ecstatic. I think this was the first little bit of hope I'd had since we started trying.

My husband was going once a week and also was taking herbs. After about six months, we decided to ask for another analysis. However, he showed no improvement really in motility or morphology. I was stressed again about our plan of action. This is when we decided to stop with acupuncture and move forward with IVF. I just wasn't willing to wait for it to work.

During IVF Treatment

When we first met up with our reproductive endocrinologist, he reviewed my medical history and asked what I had done differently to get my cycles going again. I mentioned acupuncture and he smiled, nodded, and said, "it really works." I was a bit relieved that I hadn't wasted all that time and money. His comment was almost validation that we had chosen the right path.

Our infertility clinic partners with a local acupuncturist who specializes in infertility. The treatment options were quite pricey though. So, we opted not to use acupuncture the first two cycles. After the second one failed, I read up a bit more on the effectivness of acupuncture and IVF. Our clinic's website says, "in one study, the IVF success rate jumped from 25% to 42% using acupuncture the day of embryo transfer." I thought those were pretty successful stats. So, we decided to dish out the extra $500 for acupuncture the day of transfer.

The acupuncturist came in and was very kind. He brought a very calming energy to the room. After transfer, I'm usually instructed to wait in the room laying down for fifteen minutes - always torture when you have a bladder full for the ultrasound! The acupuncturist asked about our infertility journey so far, and started treatment. He said to eat warm foods when I got home and not to forget about the pineapple core (which was also something I'd never paid much attention to before).

I still think that having acupuncture the day of transfer is what helped Atticus "stick." I'm sure there are a ton of things that contribute to a happy outcome, but I know that if/when we decided to do another frozen embryo transfer, I'll be sure to have acupuncture as well. If nothing else, it is very relaxing which is helpful for such a stressful/exciting day.

acupuncture ivf frozen embryo transfer fet
Acupuncture the day of our FET.

Continue Reading

Well here goes. If you stumbled upon this page and you know us -- we're wanting to try for another baby this year. I mean, I guess everyone was assuming we'd want another at some point. Give me all the babies!!

We want to try sooner rather than later in case it takes another three years or three transfers to get a sticky baby. I don't want a huge age gap between Atticus and any future siblings. There's a five year difference between my brother and I. We get along great now, but I think we aren't as close since we were at different maturity level for most of the time we were living at home together.

Here's the thing. Starting an IVF (or FET cycle in our case) comes with a whole different set of challenges when you are a mom: you can't breastfeed and do IVF. You have to be fully weaned before beginning a cycle for a couple of reasons:

1. Elevated prolactin levels (the hormone that makes milk) can affect the outcome of a cycle. Some women do not resume menstruating while breastfeeding since it can sort of act as birth control if you're doing it the right way. We'd want to make sure we're doing everything to get the best possible outcome we can, since it aint cheap!

2. Obviously, anything I ingest or that goes into my body eventually makes its way to my milk. We definitely do not want Atticus hopped up on IVF meds.

When I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed Atticus for at least a year. It is super beneficial for their long term health* (hey and saves us some money too!). I know a few people who nursed their toddlers until 2 to 3 years old. What I didn't really consider when pregnant is how nursing is a relationship between mom and baby. I was thinking about it primarily from a nourishment standpoint, but it's much much more than that. Atticus gets a say too.

Nursing provides comfort - I think for mom and baby. I swear when we were in the hospital after he was first born, my belly didn't hurt as much from the surgery while we were nursing. Throughout his first year of life, nursing has become his comfort mechanism. I'm definitely okay with that. Sometimes, I feel like I need a break, but overall I really don't mind.

He is a boobie monster. When I first decided to try and cut back his nursing sessions, he was basically feeding on demand. At night especially, he relied on nursing to fall back asleep. It was the quickest way to get him to sleep, so I did it. Our weaning journey doesn't come without a fair dose of mom guilt.

  • What if I'm weaning too far before he's ready? (He definitely hasn't shown any signs of self weaning).
  • What if our FET fails and I weaned for nothing?
  • Will I regret this down the road, if the cycle fails or not?

Also, breastfeeding has been a really happy experience for me. I didn't really have many issues - even in the beginning. I think with all the pain, difficulty, and time it took us to finally reach motherhood nursing was my reward. It was one thing my body didn't fail me on. It knew what to do for once, and I was happy to provide something my growing baby needed.

I just can't help but feel like I'm being selfish and taking away something Atticus still needs (at least emotionally). I'm thinking of a baby who could or could not come to be and not thinking of the baby I've been blessed with. At least I think it can come off that way sometimes. Infertility makes things so complicated.

Combine that with going back to work nearly full-time and missing out on being there for him - I've sort of been a wreck lately. I'm holding it together; all this is mostly in my head. I haven't really had time to stress about doing another FET yet, i'm mostly worried about whether or not we'll wean before the end of summer.

*Note: If you didn't breastfeed for whatever reason, please don't be offended by this post. A fed baby is a health baby - be it formula or breastmilk.


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Blogging after infertility is tricky. (Not that I posted nearly as much when I was in the trenches). I resurrected this blog in hopes of providing hope and inspiration for those still fighting the good fight. However, I also want to include bits of my life as a mother. I feel like this could go one of two ways. I can share my life after infertility, and inspire those (not that anyone reads this) who are still trying to conceive - OR - I can stir up feelings of grief, jealousy, anger, etc.

Just a couple of years ago I was a hybrid of the two. Until my last cycle where I did some deep soul-searching, praying, meditating, I was a really bitter infertile. I felt all those horrible feelings of jealousy and anger towards friends and family who got pregnant (or had kids) that were conceived easily or on accident. My aunt excitedly told me the news of a family friend's pregnancy and I rolled my eyes and said, "Good for her." Didn't she know what I was going through? However, family and friends that went through infertility were a different story. I was kind, I kept in touch, I didn't mind being around them or their kids.

If you're reading this and you are still on your infertility journey, please don't see my posts about motherhood as being boastful or hurtful. That's not what I want to do. I want to inspire you to keep moving forward. Wherever you are in your journey. If you just got your period for the millionth time, it's okay to be mad and sad. Grieve, and channel that energy into something positive that will get you to the next step. If you're on a break, don't be stressed about "wasting time" (I felt that way at first!) - treat yo' self! Eat healthy, get a facial, do some interior decor. Do something for you that doesn't involve infertility. 

Keep hoping. Keep praying. Don't ever give up if you know it's truly what you want. 

My incredible baby boy turned one almost two months ago. I'm still asking myself, how is that even possible? He was just a tiny bundle of joy yesterday - right? I often stop and wonder how strangely amazing it is to be a mom - coming so far from the darkness of infertility. A small part of me still feels like that woman, I have to remind myself I'm not dreaming.

How quickly time has gone by! I have moments of sadness that Atticus is no longer a baby baby. After the hardships endured to achieve motherhood, I almost feel like I need as many years of babyhood to make up for it. Toddler Atticus is so much fun. Anything I think I know about love changes and grows each day I spend with him.

His first birthday part was so tiring, but oh so fun. He didn't get a nap in before the party started, so he was almost falling asleep on the couch while opening his presents. While he didn't really eat any of his cake since he was so sleepy, he did play with his friends and family. I like to think he was happy with his party.


We sort of went with a Where the Wild Things Are theme. I made a paleo birthday cake from The Whole Food Diary (by the way, if you haven't read this blog - do I'm totally obsessed) and it was so good - much better than the cupcakes we made for everyone else from a box. We sent the leftover cake to daycare and he scarfed it down before they could even start singing happy birthday.







One Year Old

by on 9:46 PM
My incredible baby boy turned one almost two months ago. I'm still asking myself, how is that even possible? He was just a tiny bundl...
I've been back at work nearly a month now and I only almost cried once.

Leading up to my return, was very stressful. Not only was I dealing with the anxiety of having to leave Atticus for 9+ hours with a stranger, our hot water went out and we were kicked out of our home for 3 weeks, it took $6,000 in plumbing and drywall repairs, Atticus got his first cold, and our day care lady turned out to be a bad fit.

I ended up having to postpone going back to work two weeks. While, it was sort of nice to get more time with Atticus, it definitely wasn't the slow paced, quiet, staycation vibes I had in mind for my last weeks of maternity leave. we were stressed and definitely had our patience pushed to the limit during those weeks.

Luckily, I found a really great home day care in Natomas where Atticus is doing really well. It's a bit of a commute and the ride home in traffic is a bit trying on our sleepy baby, but we make it work. I only am working part-time, so I think it's made the transition easier on the three of us. He isn't napping or drinking as much breastmilk as we'd like, but it's still a new routine for him. However, he continues to amaze me every day at how much he's learning and how outgoing he's become. He can sign "eat," and points when he sees us or wants something.

      A photo from the Halloween party his daycare had. We left before we could get ghost footprints. :(

Keeping with our routines on my off days has been very restorative for me. Even if he's fussy, knowing we can go out for a walk, go the music time at the library, or cuddle and take a nap together is very comforting. I'm grateful to have so much time with him that not many get. I feel safe contributing to our finances again, and content that I'm still a major part of Atticus' life, not missing any pivotal moments. It's a good balance considering we can't afford for me to stay home full-time.

      Walking home after seeing Mr. Cooper sing at the library.

Working Mama

by on 7:35 PM
I've been back at work nearly a month now and I only almost cried once. Leading up to my return, was very stressful. Not only was I de...


our neighbor has a glorious urban garden. he has a fig tree which we love, muscadine grapes, and overflowing now, a peach tree. they are small, but sweet, and falling to the ground. he let us come grab what we wanted and I thought i would bake a couple of peach galettes to make use of how many there were.

i found a recipe for a home made dough that i attempted to bake saturday, to the upmost failure. it was hard and weird. so, seeing some people on instragram using puff pastry, i decided to take the lazy baker's approach.

normally, i try and avoid any added sugar. we've the same bag in the cupboard forever. sugar lasts forever right? however, it being our anniversary weekend, i thought i would indulge a bit. i made two variations, peach blackberry and lavender peach.

lavender + peach

ingredients
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 large peaches
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 tbsp. lavender
1/2 - 1 tbsp. sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
a bit of Earth Balance (or butter if you're okay using that)


blackberry + peach

ingredients
1 puff pastry sheet, thawed
2 large peaches
juice of 1/2 a lemon
a few blackberries
1/2 - 1 tbsp. sugar
sprinkle of cinnamon
a bit of Earth Balance (or butter if you're okay using that)

in two bowls, mix the ingredients for each of the fillings. line a baking sheet or two with parchment paper. arrange (or pour if you're short on time!) the peach filling onto the puff pastry squares leaving an inch or so border. fold the pastry over forming a crust. dollop with a couple pieces of earth balance. bake for 15-20 minutes.

i plan on serving mine with some dairy free vanilla ice cream. what goes better than peaches and vanilla? yum. This brand is my favorite vegan ice cream.







we celebrated 5 years of marriage on sunday. in the past, we've planned weekend getaways to the coast to celebrate. sonoma county is our favorite spot. while we didn't have time for an escape this year, i think this is probably the happiest anniversary yet. we went to breakfast on Saturday, did our normal errands and chores, and had a picnic in our backyard before the sun became too scorching.

for dinner, we went on our first date night since atticus was born. it is hard to leave him. he is an extension of me. however, i know i owe it to my amazing husband a quick dinner out just the two of us where he can have all of my attention. (even if we ended up talking about our baby the whole night.)

we were husband and wife first before mom and dad. it is important to keep feeding our love. i want it to continue to blossom in hopes that we can set a good example of love for atticus.