I can only hope this is where the needles will go.
Guess who loves acupuncture? Trent. He’ll tell you all about how it cured his allergies and fixed his clicking shoulder injury from falling off a bicycle with one needle. We both go to Tony and call him our guru.
So I naturally assumed I would be doing acupuncture in conjunction with IVF, but not with Tony, who is not a fertility specialist and doesn’t come to your recovery room after your embryo transfer. I’ve heard the success stories. I asked my friend who recommended the fertility center to tell me about her acupuncturist and she called to say she’s pregnant! I let out a shrill cry and jumped around the room and then sat down because the Tylenol 3 was making me dizzy and it’s the first day of my period so I probably bled on another item of clothing and ruined it. This is a good sign. Must do acupuncture.
Then I looked on the website and in three months, the acupuncturist can improve sperm morphology. Oh, really! There are studies I would link to but I’m on my tablet and lazy. I immediately Gchat Trent at work and ask him if Wednesday works for him because we’re already behind! He is not about it. I offer to use my savings, don’t care, let’s do this. He is not about it.
Why the sudden change? We go to a sliding-scale clinic and an initial appointment at fertility acupuncture is $140. Trent is frugal to the point of being expensive. He will try to save money and ultimately spend more money because he didn’t bite the bullet to shell out the cash needed in the first place. Trent keeps us in line, which is awesome for the most part. But we’re spending 12k on IVF! This may be our one shot! Don’t you want to give it the best possible chance? Do you have another inheritance I don’t know about coming to you? I immediately barrage him with yelp reviews (5 stars, 15 babies from infertile couples) and research studies. I was being playful, but for some reason this situation was triggering for Trent.
Trent calls me after work and suddenly he doesn’t believe acupuncture works at all. Like, aggressively so. Huh? What cured your allergies? “Probably changes in diet and exposure.” What about your bike injury? “I stretched more.” What caused the blood to move out of my broken toe? “Time.” In one day? Trent didn’t have an answer for that one!
Here’s Trent on why he personally will not do fertility acupuncture:
Cause I think it’s bullshit. I don’t think acupuncture and fertility are related at all. It’s money, it’s time, it’s effort, I don’t want to do it. I don’t care right now to even bother.
I said I was sad, because I initially perceived this as Trent not caring enough about our chance at being parents. I will pay (a reasonable price) to dance naked in the moonlight on spikes if that ritual gets a baby inside me.
Trent: that’s like saying, I’m sad the sun went down, there’s no reason for it, it just kind of happened. (Okay, WOW, invalidating.)
Then Trent said I was invalidating HIS perspective by being sad, so I knew the discussion was devolving from there. This is another fun part of infertility. As partners, you get to mourn the infertility side by side and it comes out as anxiety, anger, hypervigilance about honey-do lists, depression, exhaustion. No one mourns the same way or understands another’s grief or knows when they themselves are grieving. And then you have to make life-changing decisions with the little money you have left after medical treatments for chronic diseases. Maybe if you spent your money a different way, you would be pregnant. And you do it all while being in pain or after your third 12-hour shift, depending on your role in the relationship. The few things which are in your control feel too important to be left in your control. Reasons I’m on Lexapro (which is actually going well, by the way).
And this is prior to IVF. But I realize, together, we have been dealing with medical issues for more than a year and surviving. It definitely feels like surviving. I could do with some enjoying of life or straight chilling. Not that those joyful moments don’t exist, but I would like a few of those moments in a row, stretched out over time. Although a lot of blogs scare me with how physically draining/emotionally exhausting/life ruining IVF can be, that kind of sounds par for the course. And hey, maybe we get a baby out of it all instead of 9 centimeters of cysts. Also: I realized it’s not that Trent doesn’t want to give conception its best possible chance, he has truly disavowed acupuncture (I mean, this dude really talked it up as of a few weeks ago, so we’ll tackle that bizarre perspective change another time) and believes his healthy life changes will improve morphology, so that makes me a little less melancholy.
Does anyone have any experience with acupuncture and herbs for male infertility? I’d love to hear whether the money was worth it, but Trent will say any positive stories are confirmation bias. 🙂