In the two months while we waited for our RE appointment (April and May 2011), I spent a lot of time researching fertility. Specifically about natural remedies, acupuncture and diets that promote and increase fertility. I've never been really into "alternative" medicine, but everything I was reading seemed to make a lot of sense and there were a ton of success stories. I was intrigued.
So June 1st rolled around and we headed off to the RE. I came with about 50 questions, all my charts and I tried to keep my emotions in check. I really didn't want to cry in front of a doctor I was just meeting. The appointment was pretty straight forward - the doctor wasn't super friendly, but he seemed to know his stuff and I appreciated his no-nonsense attitude. I did shed some tears, but what can you do?
Luckily, the appointment fell in the right time of my cycle, so I was able to have my bloodwork and an ultrasound done that day. Everything looked good and he wrote me a referral to get an HSG, which is a slightly uncomfortable test where they inject dye into your lady parts to make sure your tubes and uterus are all clear and look good. I had that test done a week later and everything came back normal. J also got the pleasure of getting yet another semen analysis, which he was obviously stoked about! ha!
So about 3 weeks after our appointment, we got our "official" diagnosis - Unexplained Infertility. It sort of felt like a slap in the face. They couldn't find anything wrong with us, so there was nothing they could "fix". At that point, I honestly wanted there to be an issue with one of us so we could be treated for an actual problem. The doctors recommendation: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Basically artificial insemination. He gave us about a 20-25% success rate per cycle, which is about the same as just trying on our own.
So then we met with the financial advisor for the doctor's office. Our insurance didn't cover any fertility treatment and one cycle of IUI would cost us $2,700. I about had a heart attack and I'm pretty sure J may have said "holy shit" out loud. The cost included all the medicine I would need to take, the trigger shot to get me to ovulate and all the ultrasound monitoring during the cycle. And did I mention it only had a 20% chance of working, so we may have to do this multiple times? Yeah, it was like a punch in the stomach.
We thanked them and left, to go home and "discuss" our options. We didn't have that kind of money sitting around to spend on getting pregnant - we had planned to use our savings as an actual "baby" fund, not a "making a baby" fund. After a lot of crying and talking, we decided we would just keep trying naturally until the end of 2011 and see what happened.
The day after our diagnosis, I made an appointment with an acupuncture clinic in our town, that specializes in fertility. For some bizarre reason, our insurance actually did cover a little bit of acupuncture (a 30% discount on treatments). One hour long session of acupuncture cost $45 - a little bit easier to swallow than $2,700. I was really nervous leading up to my first appointment - I hate needles and I wasn't sure what to really expect.
I met with my acupuncturist, Camille, and I instantly felt at ease. She was so easy to talk to and had a great calming presence. We spent a good hour talking about everything - my charts, the RE appointment and diagnosis, my current diet, what I did for exercise. To my surprise, I didn't cry one time during the appointment. Then she gave me my first needle treatment - I honestly couldn't feel any of the needles when she was putting them in or while they were in. She put them in my legs, feet, belly and arms and then one right between my eyes (not gonna lie, that one freaked me out!). I laid with the needles in for about 45 minutes and pretty much immediately fell asleep. Like a super deep, wonderful sleep. When she woke me up, I felt like I had just gotten 8 hours, not 45 minutes!
So after the treatment, we set up a diet plan to help increase my fertility and she recommended weekly acupuncture treatments - you mean, she wanted me to come take relaxing 45 minute naps every week? Sign me up!
Part 3 coming soon - my holistic regimen!