I’ve recently changed practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine and acupuncture.

My last one was, how do we say … an unwavering, belligerent tyrant. You can read about the treatment plan I followed in this earlier post.

I think what threw me over the edge was his comment during my last pregnancy, once we learned that our sweet pea’s little heart was struggling to keep going, that I had something to do with the potential outcome of loss. That I had been told to come for acupuncture three times a week and take my herbs twice a day and eat two eggs a day and don’t raise my arms over my head and to stay in bed all day everyday….on and on. It was my fault we Iost the baby. Period. I hadn’t done everything he suggested. How could I!? The list was endless. I came pretty damn close, I really did.

Not only did I have to travel almost two hours each way to see him three times a week but I was being blamed for moving around too much to get there. The anxiety, on top of my fear of losing a fifth sweet pea, was nearly unmanageable. I was paying him over £600 a week to be told that was my lack of emotional control was causing the miscarriage too.

Aside from that I loved the acupuncture. I love the herbs. I could feel them working. My hormones were balancing at last. And I learned a lot about my BBT. I have no doubt that the practioner is very knowledgable but I think he is lacking some serious bedside manner. Nothing was worth feeling like I was to blame for losing our little one. Especially as there was no controlling or fixing that. We lost him to a tragically fluke a chromosomal abnormality, independent of egg, sperm, environmental quality. It just happened.

My new practitioner, Ms Lovely, is the most fabulously positive individual I’ve encountered as far as healthcare providers go on this wretched journey. She’s completely 180 from the last guy. First off, she quit her last job with a very exclusive world renown fertility clinic because she didn’t agree with the excessive pricing regime. She didn’t want to be a part of the commercialism that has taken over the world of infertility. She understands that people struggling with infertility often don’t have a lot of money because they are paying for treatment through the nose, but they are willing to remortgage their homes, work two jobs, scrimp and save to bring home their sweet pea. She went out on her own to help people. Her pricing is fair, and a fraction of what I was paying before. For this I love her.

Thankfully she believes in the benefits of other holistic treatment. She believes that as long as the body and mind are in harmony and well looked after, you can pretty much do what you like within moderation and it will have positive effects on fertility. She’s chilled about how and when I take my herbs, as long as I take them. I can eat fruit, I can do moderate exercise, I can eat a little bit of chocolate or drink a little wine now and then if I want. Anything that makes me happy as long as it’s not excessive. It’s happiness that she’s trying to get to.

The last guy made life so difficult that I felt I was no longer in control of my life or my pregnancy. Fear mongering in such a desperate circumstance. I would do nearly anything to have a child but I was losing sight of my own needs.

The way Ms Lovely handled the AMH situation has been so reassuring. She patiently answered my 6,333 questions about it and she went ahead to say she is confident we will not only conceive with my eggs but will carry our first sweet pea to term. That’s some pretty crazy confidence but at least one of us has some.

And while the needles are doing their thing she doesn’t leave me there like the last guy. She spends time either giving me a head massage, back rub or abdominal sacral massage for a full hour. I leave there so content, relaxed and peaceful. So completely different from my last experience. My homework this week? Try a floatation tank. Now that I can do.

The Hubs loves her too and we agreed she is the right woman for us. Her approach is practical, gentle and understanding, just the kind of thing I need in my life right now.

Recurrent Miscarriage & Traditional Chinese Medicine

We struggled to get pregnant prior to the our last pregnancy and in an effort to try to right my body to invite another pregnancy we decided to start seeing a doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Within one month of weekly acupuncture appointments, BBT charting, daily doses of dried herbal tea and following a strict diet of one egg a day, no fruit or raw food I was pregnant and feeling more positive than ever.

Once pregnant the protocol changed and became quite structured. Daily herbs increased to twice daily and I began accupuncture three times a week. I was advised to follow a strict regime which included:
Eggs twice daily
No fruit
No raw food
No tea of any kind
No exercise of any kind
Bed rest as much as possible
No carrying bags or anything heavy
No housework
Limit stress
No high heels
Do not raise arms overhead
No air traveling
No mobile phones or laptops
No alcohol or smoking obviously
BBT charting daily

As a gluten-free vegan this became a tall order.

Private blood tests became part of the protocol with oestrogen, progesterone, HcG monitored weekly. The results would assist the practitioner in deciding which accupuncture points to use. When progesterone levels dropped slightly 400mg progesterone was advised and I had to find a private doctor who would prescribe me progesterone, which I did. When oestrogen levels dropped, a supplement was advised but finding a private doctor to prescribe it was impossible. Something was telling me though that low oestrogen was part if a bigger issue.

All this was of course horribly expensive but I followed it without complaint. It was also a difficult protocol to follow without wavering but I did it. I found myself so terrified of veering from it and that I would cause a miscarriage if I didn’t follow the advice exactly. I became obsessed and was warned by the practitioner that I would be at fault if I didn’t follow every single piece of advice. I tread on eggshells everyday for 10 weeks.

Regardless of the effort however the pregnancy failed and I now find myself struggling with the decision of whether to go down the road of TCM again. I believe without a doubt that TCM can heal my body from the miscarriage and prepare it for another potential pregnancy but I fear that the anxiety and dread-filled anticipation from the pregnancy protocol will be too much for me this time. I want to reduce stress not add to it.

I have no doubt of my practitioners skill, and I believe his old world training is an unusual find here in the UK. I believe he is treating me to the best of his ability the way he knows how. But he plays his cards close to his chest and doesn’t give out a lot of information I feel I need in order to understand how he’s treating me and my baby. My lack of understanding just adds to my anxiety. I suppose I need to explore whether we can spare the financial burden on a protocol that is still so foreign and unknown to me. I also feel torn between the TCM advice and my western doctors, which contradict each other. Do I really have to choose between them?

What will be the winning combination, I still have no idea.