Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Witch Doctor, Revisited

If I ever run into another mom dealing with the loss of her baby so soon after their birth, one thing I will wholeheartedly suggest that she should do is start seeing an acupuncturist. Believe me, I am the biggest skeptic on these sorts of things (note the title of this post). I am now, after having seen an acupuncturist for a few months, a believer. Here’s the problem: you have just had a baby and your body is a mess. Your hormones are all over the place. You don’t look or feel like yourself. For the longest time you still look pregnant. Or maybe it felt like forever because people kept coming up to me saying “oh, when is your baby due?” which would make me cry, and they wouldn’t understand why. Write it off to hormones or something. Either way, you take the overwhelming sadness and grief, and combine it with physically looking and feeling terrible, and you have a woman in a dire state. I could hardly function. I have learned from past times of hardship in my life that if you can’t control the emotional things going on, a good place to start is with the physical. Eight hours of sleep at night. Three meals a day. Exercise even in small amounts if you can because that gives you endorphins, which make you happy. If you can get that done, you already have a leg up.

In that same vein, I started seeing an acupuncturist because I have heard that they can help get hormones back in order. They can help with weight loss. They can provide some help with emotional things. They can get your body systems in great shape for infertility treatments. I needed all of the above and I was willing to try anything. I was scared to death because I saw an acupuncturist when I was pregnant, and it did not go well. I don’t know what that guy did, but within 24 hours of treatment, I was an emotional nightmare, sobbing for no good reason. It always went away within the 24 hour period, but it scared me. I went a few times, and decided it wasn’t worth it. Acupuncture is not a very well regulated trade, and people can pick up degrees in it from anywhere. You have to do some homework and find a good one. The lady I chose to see this time is one I heard about from all of the moms in my prenatal yoga class. They all sung her praises and swore by her for an assortment of issues. I have to say that from my own experience, she is quite amazing, and has eased a lot of the stress and physical issues I was facing off of my life. She has gotten my hormones in order again. She has helped me lose weight. On the emotional things, when I have had a bad week, she has a protocol for how to help give me a break from the heightened emotions I feel. It gives me room to use the tools I have learned in counseling and grief groups.

For example, I had a really bad few weeks, and every week, she would look at my tongue and tell me that I was “yin deficient” or “blood deficient.” She would tell me that I needed to eat more red meat. I would walk away thinking “whatever, witch doctor…” and not really put any effort or energy into it. Finally, I got sick of her telling me this, so I went home and I ate red meat every day. Oh my goodness what a difference it made! My energy was better. My emotions were better. I now eat red meat every day and it helps me tremendously! Another week when I was really in a bad spot emotionally, and couldn’t seem to get out of my funk, she put me on a herbal regimen, taking a couple of different supplements, and I felt like a new woman by the time the week was over. I no longer question her judgment and just go with the flow with what she prescribes.

The jury is still out on the impact it has on infertility treatments. They say that if you do it for a series of treatments before you do your IVF cycle, it helps your body respond better to the drugs, and gives you a better success rate of it working the first time. This acupuncturist is about to be published in some big hoopla fertility journal for a study she did on a few hundred women in the area. One in four did not have to go back for subsequent rounds of IVF treatments. For those one in four women, it worked first time (the average is that it takes most women 2.5 times of doing IVF before it takes). It is also supposed to help minimize the side effects of all the hormones and other drugs they put you on. I hope that is true!

I am not going to say that she is the sole source of my healing thus far. I have been in tons of counseling and support groups. I have done some old fashioned hard work with diet and exercise. I am merely stating that this doctor is in my repertoire of things out there that I have used that is a part of my overall health and well-being. I can wholeheartedly say that I gotten some very good results from it. Getting the physical me in shape has definitely helped to make the emotional side much easier to handle. Acupuncturists are into whole self healing – physically, emotionally, spiritually. It is great to have someone being a caretaker of me in such an all-encompassing way!

For my post on my first experience with acupuncture when I was pregnant, go here:

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