Back in 2007 we were told that we were unlikely to conceive naturally and were referred to a specialist for fertility treatment. This was quite hard to accept that this was happening to us. We joined the waiting list for fertility treatment and some 12 months later started our first cycle of IUI treatment. The fertility drugs seemed to react too well to my body, so my first cycle was abandoned – which caused some distress and upset, as you truly hope that it will work first time. The next cycle also was abandoned, even though the drugs had been reduced dramatically, they still made me over stimulate. Third time lucky we thought. Luckily, the third attempt of the fertility drugs for IUI resulted in actually reaching insemination, however this was not without its problems. The actual insemination was extremely painful. Needless to say, this IUI (first insemination, but third attempt at drugs) did not work. So we tried again, and again. Ending up having 3 failed IUI attempts together with the 2 abandoned ones.
Due to the difficulties of insemination, I was then referred for a Hysteroscopy exploratory operation to ascertain the bends in the neck of my womb. This operation failed and resulted in a perforated uterus, resulting in me having to recuperate for some 6-8 weeks before they could re-schedule the operation again. The second Hysteroscopy took place in January 2009, but still resulted in a further perforated uterus again. As you can imagine, at this point I was starting to lose all hope of ever actually conceiving and was starting to feel extremely low.
I was then offered a cycle of IVF, which I took up. At this point, I had been taking fertility drugs for the best part of 10 months, so my hormones and emotions were all over the place. I really thought that this time the treatment would work, but sadly this was not to be.
During all of the above, I had read about how some people had found Acupuncture to be of assistance to them. I was quite sceptical about it, so kept putting it off. I didn’t know anyone who had actually had acupuncture and certainly didn’t know where to start to look to attend – nor did I know how much it would cost. When I did some initial searches, I thought I would need to travel beyond the Midlands to find a suitable Acupuncturist – if I was going to seriously look at trying this. I was also starting to lose faith in the whole fertility treatment regime, as it certainly takes its toll on your body and your mind.
Then, during March /April 2009 I saw an article in the local newspaper about a fertility accredited acupuncturist who worked in Nuneaton and Coventry, and read some of the success stories of couples who she had helped with fertility problems. I was still in two minds as to whether to make the initial call to make enquiries, but something clicked and made me contact Lois Francis for my first appointment.
The first appointment was joint with both myself and my husband and we had to keep a food diary for the week preceding our appointment. I was extremely sceptical as to how this would help and seriously did not understand exactly how Acupuncture could actually help us. Still, I thought if you don’t try it, you’ll never know!
After attending our first appointment, we were basically told to re-evaluate our food intake. Whilst we weren’t really bad, there were certainly food items that we could do with avoiding to help give us the best chance possible. We decided we would give it a go and cleared our house full of everything that we needed to avoid. It was hard at first, but after a couple of weeks, we soon adapted to our no sugar, sweetener, caffeine, low fat etc. diet and started to make sure we ate more fresh food than we were already doing. We were willing to give anything a go.
My next appointment with Lois was with the “needles” ….which was quite daunting. However, I don’t know why I worried about it, as I didn’t feel a thing. The sensation is really weird, and I can’t put it into words how it feels, other than it makes you feel relaxed and gives you a soothing warmth sensation.
Over the next few months, I was not on fertility drugs as I was taking a break from it all to let my body recover and to get it ready for another cycle to give it the best chance possible (as recommended by Lois). However, I continued to attend Acupuncture to help prepare me and my body for when I did start the next cycle of fertility drugs. During this time, Lois was extremely supportive and made some excellent suggestions to me regarding treatment, and when the next cycle should start.
During this time, I started to feel different about fertility treatment, being more relaxed about it all. Even colleagues at work noticed a difference in me. Saying that I was not as “on edge” as I had been previously, and the build up to the next cycle of drugs, they hardly noticed a difference in me at all at work. I can only put this down to the Acupuncture and how it helped me to relax and somehow take my mind off the whole process. You don’t ever forget what is happening to you, but the Acupuncture seemed to help me focus and be more positive.
I started my next cycle of fertility drugs in July 2009, and once started, Lois started on my “fertility Acupuncture” programme. Targetting certain points at certain stages of the drug regime. I was lost on this, so simply let it happen, as I couldn’t get my head around how it would complement each other. When you have fertility drugs, there are a variety of side effects, one I had was hot flushes, I mentioned this to Lois and somehow she managed to control these pretty much in a flash! I was amazed.
I reached the embryo collection stage and embryo transfer stage. On the same day as the embryo’s were transferred back to me, that same afternoon I had an Acupuncture session. Again, I was quite sceptical about this, as I had just had 2 extremely precious embryos placed back inside me, so didn’t know what to do for the best. But, nothing ventured, nothing gained. The session went well, and two weeks later I found out I was pregnant! I was so emotional I could not believe that finally, it had happened. I had got to the stage where I thought my body would never accept the embryos and therefore never get pregnant. But there I was, with my pregnancy test saying in the little digital box “pregnant”.
Over the next 9 months, I continued Acupuncture with Lois, having a variety of appointments from, monthly, to fortnightly, depending on what stage I was at in my pregnancy. I am now 2 days away from my estimated due date, and still having Acupuncture – if anything for relaxation now and to help prepare me for the birth.
I really cannot put into words how Acupuncture actually works, I still can’t to this day, but it certainly has helped me along this traumatic journey. Acupuncture is not as scary as you first imagine – yes there are needles, no they don’t hurt – well, rarely…occasionally some points you feel the needle go in, but more often than not, you don’t feel a thing. It’s a strange therapy! I don’t think I would have been able to get through this without attending Acupuncture, and Lois has been so helpful throughout this last 12 months. I can’t speak highly enough about it. It helps, and somehow it works ….that’s all I can say! Give it go, otherwise, you’ll never know!
Phoebe Clara Lovick was born 18th May weighing in at 8lb 4oz. Claire had a good delivery and Mum and Dad are delighted with their gorgeous daughter.