I didn’t write much detail about my acupuncture appointment in my last post since I did a quick post from my phone, but it was a very interesting experience. I really do like the doctor, he seems extremely well-informed, connected, and experienced in treatment for infertility.
It’s quite a different feeling than an RE office. The RE office is … sterile, packed, hurried, and cold. The acupuncturist’s office is warm and inviting. On my way in, they offered a hot cup of (decaf green) tea. The doctor was stepped through my history with me slowly. Afterwards, I went to a treatment room for acupuncture. I explained to him my history, the 3 IUIs before Leopold, the losses, the surprise of Leopold without treatment, the three unsuccessful IUIs with folli.stim this year, and our plans of IVF in January.
I also explained my elevated FSH levels and the theory from my RE that we’re dealing with an egg quality issue in addition to some low morphology issues from my husband. He was so positive that whatever my issues, they were not a big deal and would be easily overcome given my age and history (I’ve seen women with FSHs of 30 who are much older become pregnant with acu, 12 is no big deal). He was so optimistic and dismissive of my issues given my age, that it was frustrating. I felt silly for even coming in a way, if my problems aren’t a big deal, WHY am I doing IVF? Why haven’t IUIs worked? Why am I even here? It was a bit frustrating and my feelings and problems felt in no way validated. I sensed he was just trying to be optimistic and not let any sense of pessimism touch the conversation.
As he was hooking me up to the electro machine, he said “don’t worry we’re not going to shock your ovaries out of your body or anything, just stimulating them a bit.” I bantered back “yea, my ovaries kind of suck, but I’d like to keep them.” The doc looked at me sternly and said I needed to stop this kind of negative talk and that we would talk about me having a more positive outlook in future appointments. I didn’t actually think my comment was all that negative actually, so if he considers this negative I’m in trouble!
I get a little frustrated at the positive thinking meditations and the line that is drawn at what’s okay to say and what’s not. Sometimes, don’t we need to acknowledge the fact that our reproductive bits are less than stellar? Isn’t that why I went to that appointment in the first place, why I am pouring so much effort into this, because we have some substantial issues with baby making? Isn’t it also cathartic and ok to validate that I’ve been through a lot and I am dealing with some serious reproductive issues? Because honestly, given his response about our issues, i just felt a bit crazy and like I didn’t need to put this kind of effort in because my issues are SO NOT A BIG DEAL.
It’s true that our situation could be worse. I am pretty confident that if we stick it out, we will have success after one or two IVF cycles. I know we have time on our side and I’m thankful of that. I’m lucky we have a child and know that I can carry a child to term, and that my ovaries are capable of producing healthy eggs.
But ignoring our issues or minimizing them doesn’t make me feel optimistic; just frustrated and ignored. Maybe my issues aren’t the worst my acupuncturist or my RE have seen and that’s great, but they are our issues and they feel pretty important and difficult to face to me. Especially as I watch other couples get knocked up repeatedly like it’s no big deal in the time it took us to have one child.
I know my acupuncturist is not my therapist. It’s not his job to help me feel validated or work through this on an emotional level, but shouldn’t he acknowledge and recognize the issues at hand and help me face them instead of tossing them aside as “no big deal” in comparison to other cases? This isn’t a deal breaker for me with this acupuncturist, I will stick it out with him regardless for treatments because I feel he’s competent. I will admit that a weekly dose of positive thinking is good for me too and I really enjoy the 40 minutes of relaxation during treatment that follows where I focus on being optimistic and those needles working with my body to create life is good for me (I admit, I sometimes fall more on the negative side).
I just needed to work through and write out why this bit of the appointment irked me. I’d like to hear what everyone else thinks: do you feel that positive talk is sometimes frustrating or dismissive as I felt in this case? I understand that while focusing on a given cycle it’s valuable to concentrate on the positives ‘this is going to work, this will work, my body is capable’ etc. But I also feel it’s valuable sometimes to understand the issues that we’re facing are difficult or be upset and negative when a given (particularly a medicated) cycle is unsuccessful.