May has been a challenge in a new way. With exception of our anniversary getaway, I’ve found myself to be exhausted in a way that’s much different than the hormone-induced versions of the cycles. I’ve felt so heavy, not in a weight way but like my body is being pulled to the ground, in a way that makes me wonder, is this final cycle just postponing the inevitable? How will I deal with another no if this fourth round of donor egg IVF is a fail? It’s a sinking kind of feeling I cannot properly describe, followed by an immense well of sadness. No, I’m not walking around like Eeyore, and it eventually fades, but it is unsettling. And it’s so completely separate from our adoption. It’s like a very, very long goodbye. But I am bound and determined to find the wormhole or whatever it is that will bring me both optimism and peace – no matter what the results – and this weekend that will be all about…
Embracing Holistic Me
I’ve got the best Memorial “weekend” scheduled (I keep that term in quotes as my husband works weekends because his are midweek, and my work schedule is always fluid depending on my client workload, which is amping up as we speak), at least on the mental side…
- Saturday: therapy!
- Sunday: massage!
- Monday: acupuncture!
Why is this so important (than for the otherwise obvious reasons)? Tuesday I have my endometrial scratch. Hoo-ray.
Very comfortable with our counselor, thankfully. We originally chose her because of her experience working with couples dealing with infertility, and have been seeing her once, sometimes twice a month depending on schedules – sometimes both of us, sometimes one at a time, depending on who’s needing more “sofa time”. A few months ago, it was my husband, and these days, it’s definitely me. So I’m going to try to see her every week until the DEIVF results come in. It is very intense how you change through these treatments, and I’m in full self-rescue mode.
My wonderful massage therapist gifted me with an extra treatment so Sunday I’ll be all over that. I go in there all messy and leave feeling free and refueled in a way to continue on. She’s one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and by the time I’m face down on the table after having emptied out all kinds of words on her, and she brings out the hot stones, I am ready for a nap. And yeah, her scalp massages at the end should win her some kind of an award, y’all.
And finally, I’m truly relieved to be with a new acupuncturist as we prepare for the final round, and know that I will continue to go to her from now on without question. Sadly, my former ND/LAc seemed to show little interest in doing a true, customized holistic preparation for these DEIVF cycles (after being super involved with IUI), with little apparent knowledge on the differences between DE and standard IVF (even though I shared my protocol), and no interest in doing my acupuncture onsite on transfer day at the RE’s office as my current one is planning to do (she simply charges a higher rate, as I’d expect one to to make up for the extra time). I received no nutritional guidance, no naturopathic care, no pulse or tongue checks, just the same needles each time with no explanation as to what they’d be helping with. Considering I had 3 failed cycles, you’d think there’d be greater interest in helping me find ways to increase my odds of a successful implantation. Maybe it’s because the RE she referred me to initially completely treated me like shit and she didn’t like that feedback, maybe she has the interest in infertility but not the level of experience to match, I don’t know…but at the end of it, I looked at what other women’s naturopaths and acupuncturists were doing and realized I was being short-changed.
So with 20/20 hindsight, I came to the realization that because we got along so well and she made me laugh and hugged me at the end of each appointment, I’d assumed I must be getting the best possible care. And I suppose it comes back to the whole self-advocacy concept I’ve brought up before, where many of us put our trust into doctors, assuming they’re doing what’s best for us rather than what’s easiest for them, assuming they’re doing their homework, assuming it’s the ultimate in care.
And you know what’s funny? Originally I was going to go to my (now new) acupuncturist when I was first looking for one, but I chose my (now prior) ND/LAc because she was within walking distance to my house. No harm, no foul. Lesson learned.
So with that, I’ve been to my new acupuncturist three times and feel better EVERY time. Not just the “lay down for a nap” relaxation, but also for me, who’s always run very warm, I’ve found I leave feeling, well, normal! She customizes the needles not just to improve my blood flow, but also for my mental state to help calm me, and for other physical issues I’ve had. This week she paired my acupuncture with moxibustion (moxi) because I’ve been spotting all month (it’s not stopped since I started on my final round of the Pill – a great 3 weeks let me tell you) and it’s supposed to help improve bloodflow and decrease overall congestion. It was interesting having these little buggers burnt on the tops of my toes, and how some were more sensitive than others. (PS – One other thing I learned? Moxi + acupuncture in the 3rd trimester can help turn breech babies. Kinda interesting for me, as I was a 9+ lb breech baby born naturally).
A New Way to Prepare for Our International Adoption
Continuing along the path of finding new and fun ways to prepare for our Ethiopia adoption – not to mention deal with the tremendously long wait – rather than get each other anniversary presents, we are having Spice of Africa do a private African cooking class at our home next week! Wambui is from Kenya, which (for the geographically uninclined) is just south of Ethiopia, and we really wanted to take one of her classes last fall but our travel schedules (us to Paris, she to Kenya) didn’t mesh, so now we’re back on track!
North and Northeast Portland is fortunate to have a number of Ethiopian restaurants within biking distance of our house, but I don’t want it to be one of those things where we have to always pay someone else to make these foods for our daughter, so this is something we are SO excited for. Because Wambui knows our adoption story, she told us she is adapting her menu to be both Kenyan and Ethiopian food. Pretty awesome, right?