Acupressure for fertility success

If you know me, you know I’m an avid Googler. I love finding new information and resources to help me throughout life – especially on my fertility journey.

Heidi Brockmyre came across my radar a few months ago. Today, I watched the replay of her recent live training: Acupressure for Pregnancy Success. 

Acupuncture points and acupressure points are the same thing. You just use your fingers instead of needles!

This topic interests me as we all know acupuncture can be costly and time consuming. Months ago, I tapped out my acupuncture benefit coverage for this year. I was fortunate that my local acupuncturist was willing to give me a special price to offset our cost. While we were away for our IVF cycle, I spent $365 alone on 4 treatments during the retrieval/transfer phase.

I like the concept of being able to practice fertility self-care. It saves you money and time while actively involving you in each phase of your cycle.

In the live training, Heidi talked about empowering women to be aware of their bodies. This spoke to me after enduring an ectopic pregnancy. If I wasn’t in tune with my body, I probably wouldn’t have rushed to the hospital when I did. I am always paying attention to my body for signs and symptoms that are normal or irregular.

When I’m having a natural fertility cycle, I sometimes experience pre-flow spotting, menstrual cramps, clotting, and PMS. I also tend to have later ovulation times. In traditional Chinese medicine terms, improvements could definitely be made to my cycle. After listening to Heidi explain signs of imbalances, I would say I show potential signs of blood stasis, stress, hormonal imbalance, digestive deficiency, and low reproductive energy. Um… that was all of them! 

The good news is my flow is MUCH better than it was when I first started trying to conceive. With a combination of acupuncture, acupressure and diet, I will continue to see improvements.

Heidi uses the formula: healthier menstrual cycle = a more fertile cycle 

A healthier cycle means:

  • Increased blood flow
  • Decreased stress
  • Healthy digestion
  • Hormone regulation
  • Boosted reproductive energy

Heidi demonstrated an acupressure sequence to build a healthy uterine lining. Healthy lining is necessary for implantation and also helps to nourish a sustainable and lasting pregnancy. This protocol was quick, easy and effective. I felt tension in areas where she said I might. I also noticed I was more relaxed at the end of the session.

This live training was an intro to Heidi’s new program Fertility at Your Fingertips™. This virtual self-care acupressure program can be used for natural, medicated, IUI, IVF or FET cycles. In fact, Heidi gives you both streams: natural cycle or ART cycle. The acupressure protocols line up with specific times during your cycle. You can do them anytime, anywhere in just 15 minutes. The program also includes a protocol for early pregnancy and one for your man (or sperm donor if he’s known) to make his swimmers faster and stronger. On top of all this, Heidi offers a ton of bonuses!

I don’t promote products on my blog unless I believe in them. I’ve purchased the Fertility at Your Fingertips™ program help me on the next phase of our fertility journey. I’m looking forward to using the acupressure to compliment my existing yoga and meditation practise (which I’d like to start up again once I’m fully healed from my laparoscopy). I won’t be going back to acupuncture until I have coverage again in January, but Heidi’s program will give me an opportunity to work on my cycle on my own, in my own home.

If you think this would interest you, check out Heidi Brockmyre’s Fertility at Your Fingertips™ program.  

Enrolment is only open until October 30th. There’s an added bonus if you enrol by end of day October 24th!

Note: I’m not getting any affiliate bonuses, free product or perks from promoting this. I just wanted to share a good thing that I found with my fertility sisters. I’ll post an update and let you know how it’s working out for me. :)   

Picking up the pieces, then breaking all over again

I haven’t written since Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

I just had two good days. I didn’t even cry once.

Then, I realized it’s just because I’ve been distracting myself, trying not to think about what happened.

Today, it’s been 2 weeks since my surgery, 2 weeks since we found out our pregnancy was ectopic, 2 weeks since we lost our baby girl.

It feels like it’s been forever.

Today, I also had my first session with a grief counsellor. I woke up dreading it. I knew it would all come flooding back. I cried all morning before I went to the session. And then, I was a puffy-eyed, red-nosed, snot-filled mess when I left her office.

She was kind and listened well. She sits on the Perinatal Loss Board at our hospital and offered to take my feedback to them. She also told me she doesn’t think I’m ready emotionally to go back to work. She recommended I take the full 4 weeks that the doctor allotted to me, and even consider taking more.

We talked a lot about my job. I don’t talk about it much on here, but it all changed since we got home from our IVF. My wonderfully supportive boss quit. The project I am on got postponed. I was reassigned to a new role. I don’t even know what my full role and responsibilities are yet as this transition happened 2 weeks before our loss. Although it’s a promotion, I’m dreading the thought of more responsibility and stress.  I have a new boss. He knew nothing about our situation before my surgery. Since then, I’ve sent him two emails and had one phone call. I told him I would be off work for 2 weeks. Then, I extended it to 3. What will he think if I ask for more? 

It makes me angry that grief is unrecognised or seen as weakness – or at least that’s how it feels. 

Like I’ve said before, recovering from surgery is easy. It’s the broken heart that needs time to heal.

The grief counsellor let me borrow books from their library. Tonight, I read Still: A collection of honest artwork and writings from the heart of a grieving mother. It was written by Stephanie Page Cole, founder of the Sweet Pea Project.

On page 13, Stephanie writes, “People will tell you that time heals. Those people are liars. The pain doesn’t go away, you just build up your tolerance to it. It’s like lifting weights. If you try to lift 500 pounds, it is going to crush you. But if you lift it everyday of your life, it is going to get easier and easier to do, and eventually you are going to lift it without breaking a sweat.

I guess that’s all I can hope for: continued strength and tolerance.

My to-do’s after counselling are to consider how I would like to approach dealing with my grief and decide how much time I need off work.

I have some counselling coverage through my health plan. I would consider going back to this woman. She has also suggested the local Miscarriage Support Group, but it only meets 1x a month. I would also like to work with my fertility coach again. My coach and I have a call tomorrow to discuss options.

As for the time off, I don’t even know what to do. Some friends say go back and relish in the distraction of work. I am not the kind of person to shove my feelings down and ignore them though. I’m scared of not being strong enough to lead a team of people right now. I’m scared of emotionally breaking down when the first person asks, “How are you?“.

I’m currently in the process of getting my short term disability claim processed. I have yet to hear from a case manager, but another friend recommended I should see what they say (meaning how much time off they will pay me for based on my diagnosis) before I make my decision and re-inform my boss.

If doing what is right for you is a sign of strength, why do I feel so vulnerable right now? 

Am I just delaying the inevitable by taking more time off? Or do I rightfully deserve a break after everything we have been through since August? How much time would you take off it was available to you?

Joining the wave of light for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day

I am 1 in 6 who suffers from infertility.

I am now 1 in 4 who suffers from pregnancy loss.

Each day my heart slowly becomes whole again, but I know there will always be a tiny hole that represents this missing piece of me: my angel baby.
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I carried her in my body for a 7 weeks, 1 day, but I will carry her memory with me forever.

Tonight, I light my candles with love and light in honour of each and every baby that left us too soon, each and every parent who grieved in silence or out loud, each and every broken heart.

miscarriagequote2

Employers offering to pay for egg freezing: empowerment or enslavement?

This article has been circulating online today:  Apple, Facebook to Women Employees: Keep Working, We’ll Pay to Freeze Your Eggs.

Immediately after I read it,  I posted my reaction to my Facebook wall:

As much as I believe in a women’s ability to choose her life path, I struggle with this concept. I would never recommend fertility treatments to anyone who did not medically need them. IVF (or even egg freezing) is not easy on a woman physically or mentally. If we are going to approach fertility from the scientific standpoint that age doesn’t matter, then maybe we should first consider Government funding for those who medically suffer from the disease know as infertility. It’s difficult for me to grasp the concept of my treatment not being funded, yet companies are stepping up to encourage women to delay their fertility which poses higher risks and no guarantees. On top of that, what kind of message are we sending to women? Can you not have a successful career and become a mother at the same time?”

I should not be as surprised as I am. 

I would love to read the internal publications that promote these programs. I would love to read the fine print and see how much they are actually funding, what are the caveats, what are the loopholes.

This is not empowerment. This is another sign of society condemning women for embracing their femininity, their womanhood and their birthright to be a mother.

This is enslaving women to their jobs. It’s taking away their choice to become a mother when THEY desire. It’s potentially ostracising them if they do not pursue their career path first.

Because as much as they SAY that won’t happen, we all know it will. 

They try to sell it as a positive choice, but really they are promoting a high-risk scenario. They are encouraging women to look to science to solve their fertility woes instead of letting their bodies do what they were naturally built to do. They are encouraging putting drugs in your system and enduring invasive procedures “just because it’s easier for your career”.

Is it really easier for you? Who paints the picture of what fertility treatments are ACTUALLY like? 

The disease of infertility leads so many of us to pursue treatment. Yes, we have a choice to accept treatment or not, but for most of us, it’s not a matter of choice. We will not conceive without fertility treatments.

It’s too soon to be promoting “fertility treatments by choice” when infertility is barely recognized and hardly funded.

What will happen to the infertility industry if a drawn our fertility timeline becomes the societal norm?

I think we need to take a step back here. I’m all about women’s right and women’s choice, but this jaded infertile feels like this issue needs some more thought put into it first.

Heartache is worse than physical pain

Yesterday morning, I got my period. I now get to deal with period cramps on top of lap gas, incision pain, loosing my left tube and my baby.

Why does it feel like I keep getting kicked even harder when I’m down? 

The past two days have been emotionally rough. I’ve cried A LOT.

I am upset with my husband. I know he suppresses his emotions and takes longer to process than me, but he hasn’t really acknowledged the baby loss (nor has his family but that’s another topic). His only response is, “Yes, it sucks“. Today he told me that he has to be strong because one of us does.

I just want him to feel with me. I want him to cry with me.

I want to be able to talk about all of the questions on my mind like:

  • Should we name her?
  • Is this baby gone forever or is she coming another time?
  • How can we celebrate her life? How can we remember her?
  • Are we willing to wait longer for our FET if I’m not emotionally ready by January or February?
  • What if that FET doesn’t work?
  • What if I have another ectopic?

I’m scared of what the future may bring. I’m scared of facing another loss, another surgery, another failure.

I don’t trust my body.

But, I do trust that something good has to come from this journey.

I trust that our children are waiting and they will come to us – someday, somehow.

But right now, I don’t want to think about what else we may have to face to get there.

I just want someone to say, “Lindsey, you have a baby. You are a mother even if she is gone.

It feels like everyone around me doesn’t get it.

They think I’m just recovering from surgery when really I’m recovering from a broken heart.

Ectopic post-op update

We got home yesterday. It helps to have nurse friends in Ob/Gyn as my wonderful friend gracious reminded the surgeon that I was waiting on 5E for him to discharge me. The surgeon came by around 11:30 am and we were home by 2:00 pm.

I’m sore but moving around much better today. My main issue is dealing with the post-laparoscopy gas build up. I’ve been walking around the house, then rotating between laying down and sitting up to ease some of the discomfort.

The outcome of the surgery is that I lost my entire left tube. Pre-op, I was adamant that the surgeon check for endo if he was going in. He said my left ovary is in tact, my right side looks perfect and there are no signs of endo. He wrote me a note for 2 weeks off work and advised me to take Naproxen and Extra Strength Tylenol to manage my pain. So far, I’m doing ok but I do notice an increase in pain a few hours before my next dose of Naproxen.

I have been super impressed with my fertility clinic. While I was in surgery and throughout the next day, Dr. H kept in continuous contact with my husband via phone calls and text. He asked this morning if I could call him on his cell and we chatted for a good while. He showed much compassion and concern for my condition. We discussed the surgery, recovery, my emotional state, my diet, next steps, etc. This man truly cares for his patients and I am so glad that we are under his care.

Dr. H said that often fresh IVF cycles can create harsh conditions for an embryo which could result in the embryo searching out better tissue (i.e. the tube) (I still have to discuss the potential immune issue with him, but I thought we would dig into that at a later date). Even though our 1st pregnancy ended tragically, Dr. H thinks it is proof that my body can achieve pregnancy and it will happen again in the future. He is positive we will have a successful pregnancy at some point.

He mentioned that on any given day they always have someone on ectopic watch as HCG levels are not always predictable. Unfortunately for me, he said the majority of these cases do end up in uterine pregnancies. I fit into that unlucky 2% who end up with an actual ectopic.

I was relieved to hear that we also shared similar sentiments about the Methotrexate drug. Dr. H said it is harsh for the body and he thinks that many women are unnecessarily prescribed it without proof of an ectopic (Yes Jen – we were talking about you here. I mentioned how crazy it was that I knew someone else going through this at the same time when the odds are so low. He asked if you had proof of your ectopic and I assured him you had an ultrasound that detected the tubal pregnancy before you took the drug. Another sign of how compassionate this man is – he showed care for MY FRIEND who isn’t even his patient). 

Dr. H also mentioned that it’s kind of a good thing that my tube is gone. Yes, I know this sounds fucked up. He said often when the tube is left after an ectopic, it is scarred and can actually increase the risk of another ectopic. I get what he is saying. And in all honestly, do I really need my tubes if we know that IVF is our best chance to conceive a baby? Right now, my womb and my frozen embryos are the most important pieces of my infertility puzzle.

Even without my left tube, I’m still going to be high risk for a second ectopic. Dr. H made me promise that I would always pay close attention to my cycles. In the chance that we did conceive naturally, the clinic would arrange my Beta tests and monitor me to ensure it is not ectopic – and the same will happen if the pregnancy is achieved via embryo transfer.

In the end, I have no one to blame for my condition. At first, I was upset that the clinic did not get me in for an ultrasound sooner, but I honestly do not know if that would have changed the outcome. As much as surgery was a worst case scenario, I had no other choice – my life was at stake.

In the end, we got the proof we needed to find closure and slowly move forward. I’m glad the waiting game of uncertainty is over.

I haven’t spent much time feeling my emotions of loss and grief yet. I cried yesterday evening, but right now, I’m focused on healing physically.

One step at a time, one day at a time…

Ectopic emergency

I know quite a few of you have been wondering where I am. I didn’t post my usual beta testing day update.

Yesterday,  my beta rose to 1022. I found this out while waiting in the ER to be diagnosed as left tubal rupture due to ectopic pregnancy.

I joked with the ER doc that it only took them 5 hours to diagnose what I told them when I walked in the door.

Suddenly at 4pm yesterday,  I started experiencing sharp burning pains in my lower abdomen. Let me just say if your tube ever bursts it is NOT comparable to period cramps.

My husband rushed me to the ER. After an hour in radiology,  followed by a OB/Gyn consult,  they determined that my scans showed evidence of a ruptured tube with blood in the abdomen. Surprisingly,  I barely had any blood coming out vaginally.

Because my vitals were stable (and you know the OB had to deliver 3 babies first),  I didn’t get in for emergency laparoscopy surgery until 1:30 am.

Surgery was complete and I was out of recovery by 3:30 am.

I’m still in the hospital tonight. Unfortunately, the surgeon did not come in today to update me on the outcome of the surgery. I won’t be discharged until he does. I’m looking forward to finding out what I have left (does that sound bad?) and why the surgery took much longer than he had originally estimated.

My RE and one of the nice nurses from my fertility clinic have been in continuous contact with us. 

I’m doing alright emotionally. I had enough people ask me how far along I was last night which sucked knowing that it was never going to go any further. Although, it was comforting to see the sympathetic look in their eyes when they discovered it was my 1st pregnancy. The nurse who took me into the OR cried with me as we went in.

Right now,  I’m just in physical discomfort more than anything. I had a wild and crazy adventure on morphine last night. I’ve just been taking half doses today to limit the side effects.

So, this the end of my first pregnancy –  an ectopic tubal rupture at 7 weeks, 1 day.

Good-bye my Angel. Momma loves you. Xo