Getting off the Rollercoaster - Going for Adoption

Friday, July 14, 2006

Pins and herbs

I have just read a post by Beagle (who has a nearly identical-looking blog to mine – quite disconcerting!)
She talks about her dissatisfaction with her acupuncturist, and I was just wondering if anyone else had any good TCM stories?
I feel like a mug, because after (well, during) m/c #6 I finally walked into the little Chinese ‘Ever Well’ centre in the little town where I work. I booked a ‘free’ consultation, which I attended last Friday. I nearly blogged about it in anger on my return . . . this is why:

I arrived for my appointment to find the receptionist putting out herb concoctions onto paper plates. I was asked to fill in a VERY brief form, mostly asking for address, phone numbers, daytime phone number, evening phone number, etc etc with a gap about this big [_________] to explain what the ‘problem’ was. I filled the space with ‘recurring miscarriage’ but due to lack of space then had to fill in the dates of each one in the margin of the form.
I duly passed my form to the receptionist, who passed it to the doctor who had disappeared out the back somewhere.

A couple of minutes later the two reappeared to ask me to clarify. What did ‘recurring’ mean? Did I mean that I had had a miscarriage on each of the 6 dates? Did ‘July 06’ mean now? Well, yes.
Unfortunately neither of them speaks English very well, though the receptionist ‘translates’ for the doctor continually. So we had some confusion.

The doctor made sympathetic noises about the miscarriages. I think she thought I was totally weird, as I was completely unemotional. Completely. Even I thought I was weird.

She checked my pulse, on both wrists (which I thought a bit odd, but Beagle says this is basic stuff, so I am glad now) and she looked at my tongue.

She then pronounced her verdict.
I need stronger Qi. I must not prognate (I did warn you her English is not too good) for at least 3 months, in fact until she says I am ready. When I do prognate, I MUST NOT WORK. I MUST NOT DO ANYTHING. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. ONLY IF I AGREE TO THIS WILL SHE AGREE TO HELP ME. (Muggins here nods. Muggins agrees to anything really, if she can have the baby.)

Pause for an aside for practical thinking people who have to work: Bearing in mind that once I know I am pregnant, if I get HCG tests in weeks 5 and 6 which are already agreed to, it would be unlikely that I would actually need to take more than 2 weeks off work in practice. Of course, if it turned out that this bonkers Chinese woman can fix me, I would gladly take a leave of absence. But lets not worry about that at the moment.

Then . . . acupuncture session and it seems the herbs (you remember - the ones they were preparing as I arrived) were especially for ME (they are clearly psychic) and I also need to take 2 lots of different pills (round black ones) – 8 of them 3 times a day. As I leave, the total cost of this ‘free’ consultation has been . . . £104. OMG.

Am I stupid, or is this stuff worth it? Your opinions and experiences much appreciated!


  • I have heard success stories from other women, but it didn't help me. I went after my 2nd miscarriage and the acupuncurist told me my Qi was out of balance. I was treated for about three months, got pregnant again, and had another miscarriage. I stopped going, had a fourth miscarriage, and then finally the succcessful pregnancy. So it didn't help me on the pregnancy front. But I do think it helped me relax during a very difficult time, so it wasn't a total loss.

    By Blogger Karen, at 7:01 pm  

  • I just wrote a huge post a few days ago about seeing a new former practitioner left the needles in me,(as in, I noticed them when I got HOME) which I took as a bad sign!

    I am seeing someone new who took tons of time getting to know all about me, my cycles, my experience with IF, etc. She concocts an evil brew of Chinese herbs for me at each appointment, depending on where I am in my cycle and what's been happening between sessions.

    This is my first month drinking the tea (which is quite retched!) but I like the fact that she custom makes the blend for my imbalances.

    I think the acupuncture and herbs won't hurt and I've heard stories of it really helping, but you might want to find someone who will spend some time getting to know your specific needs. And the book "The Infertility Cure" is a great primer on Eastern medicine.

    I wish you all the best!!

    By Anonymous Watson, at 11:51 pm  

  • I tried acupuncture and herbs for a very short while, but I quit because I wasn't comfortable with the practitioner and his staff, and the treatment was quite expensive. I didn't get pregnant that cycle, so I don't know if it would have helped prevent a miscarriage or not. I did find the acupuncture to be rather relaxing, though.

    By Anonymous Jill, at 1:23 am  

  • Well, Im going to say persevere with this but find yourself a very reputable chinese dr who you trust & has a good reputation for fertility. Here in Sydney, I go to a very well known chinese herbalist & acupuncturist. She is particularly known for fertility & has incredible success stories. I started seeing her in Dec & have been pregnant twice since but miscarried & ofcourse have subsequently doubted her but each time i see her my faith is renewed & I do believe the balance & innner health they assist with is good for the whole fertility project. Chinese herbs looks at the whole body - so she'll take care of your liver, spleen etc....mine here is soooooooo expensive but i think if youre going to go you just have to surrender that this project is going to cost & youre at a time of your life where this is necessary (the not working is a bit much) but even mine here expects that when im newly pregnant that i'll lie around till 12 wks & do very little. I remind her i have to work & she tries to get me to compromise & tell her that apart from work i'll do nothing. When i first visited her, I too was told my chi was too low to sustain a pregnancy & my stress levels were sky high & over the last 6 or 7 mths so she restored levels etc.I also think the acupuncture is very worthy. There are studies that speak to the effectiveness of acupuncture with IVF & how acupuncture increases the chances significantly - t trust acup too - so go for it but choose well.

    By Blogger Womb in Waiting, at 12:05 pm  

  • I have no experience of it at all as there are no acupuncturists near me who specialise in IF. Either you believe or you don't. But doesn't everyone get told that their chi is too low? If you like it and you feel better with it, then it is totally worth it.

    By Blogger Pamplemousse, at 12:27 pm  

  • I have done acupuncture. I think there's nothing wrong with it, but it also didn't help, so I stopped. I am VERY suspicious of the herbs as they haven't been tested to see how they affect endocrine systems at all. I did a bit of self-prescription early on, and my cycles got wrose instead of better.

    I think if you want to do this you need to see someone you really trust, and it sounds as if this person is not it. Get a recommendation, if at all possible.

    By Blogger Thalia, at 3:53 pm  

  • Hmmm...this sounds very different from my acupunture expereince. I filled out a TON of information on an intake form. My acupuncture appts consist of about 30 minutes of consultation and then the actual treatment. It took my acuptuncturist several sessions to prescribe an herb blend for me, because she wanted to see how I responded to the treatment and she wanted to make sure she gave me the right herb combo. But yes, the tongue examination and pulse reading are very standard.

    Some of the things your acu said concern me, and I think the fact that she set conditions and wasn't willing to be flexible with your particular circumstances is very questionable. Oh, and the sketchy herb prescription. Huge, flashing warning signs here.

    I think the acu helps very much with my overall health, but I don't think this is the answer to it all. I believe in a combo of eastern and western treatments.

    Also, I had NO acu at all during my most recent pregnancy, and things seemed to be going okay, except for the chromosomal abnormality.

    Good luck!

    By Anonymous Nikole, at 10:42 pm  

  • sounds like my first visit with my TCM guy as well. i was so thrown by the, um, certainty. He said I have a liver Qi stagnation. I took some little black pills as well, no tea thankfully.

    I am CONVINCED though that the accupuncture helped me to ovulate at on a normal CD14 (normal for me had been CD20-ish). I did a 5 week, twice a week course. And I seem to haved had some sucess. I continued once per week through my first trimester and I will go every other week until the end. i have no idea if it is helping, but I feel like I am doing something proactive.

    best of luck!

    By Blogger Stephanie, at 9:24 pm  

  • When I was pg with my son, I had acupuncture to turn him when he was posterior, and then to prepare for labour. It did work, I would see him turn during the sessions ... and in the end my labour was less than 4h.

    More recently I had some acupuncture after my 5th mc, but I must admit I've lapsed as can't find the time or money.

    By Anonymous Fuschia, at 5:11 pm  

  • You are NOT stupid!!!

    As to does it work? I can't say. You've read my post. I am a bit disillusioned with it.

    By Blogger Beagle, at 2:11 pm  

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