Saturday, February 27, 2010

Mega Update-Get Your Popcorn ready

Holy crap! It's been two weeks since I last posted here. I'm sorry if you've been visiting my blog and keep finding that same darn old post every time! I have been around. Other people's blogs, that is. Just not here very much! Everyone's else's lives seem much more progressive and interesting... Me? I'm just stuck in a limbo, going around in circles, looking for that elusive miracle doctor who can help me out of this IF rut!

Well, there's so much I've been meaning to tell you before I go off to...
...the Maldives. YES! We are escaping again to an island paradise! With permission from my Chief Financial Officer (hubs) I booked us a really wonderful 5-star resort at the furthest end of Maldives, so far out from civilization that the unpolluted night sky glimmers with the most amazing blanket of stars. And the corals so pristine, that you can snorkel right off your water villa and see the most incredible marine life. And the price so incredibly high that even with a super great deal of 45% off, we're gonna burn a huge hole in our pockets the size of Texas. So this is our last overseas trip of the year. It's only a week-long trip but I am terribly excited! It's my temporary teleportation out of this IF limbo land. My soul's been hungering for some serious romance, where love-making is not all about well-timed make-me-a-baby-sex. And where touching is not about having a femoral massage to increase blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. Failing at TTC's been taking a toll on me and I've been yearning for some time to reconnect with myself, and hubby. I need to escape from IF madness for a while and be surrounded by a serene place, so stunningly beautiful that in the presence of my husband's love, it would lift my spirits up and nourish my soul. Yes, that's what I'm looking for. After a disappointing trip to Boracay, I think (I hope) I've found my little sanctuary.  I can't wait!

We are leaving on Monday, so that doesn't leave me much time to fill you in on the crazy month that was February. There are so many things that I've been meaning to share with you...

I've been meaning to tell you that I found a new "dealer" in my neighborhood to get my daily fix of TCM fertility drugs. I went to Mr Dealer because Dr Yeeeouch does not dispense herbal medicine-he only prescribes them. So I needed someone to give me my daily fix! I thought it would be a simple, straightforward procedure-- 1) walk into chinese pharmacy 2) give prescription 3) collect herbs 4) pay. But nooooo...... Incidentally, Mr Dealer's concern for my well-being resulted in my trip lasting an hour and a half! When he saw my prescription he asked what it was for. Without wanting to give too much away, I replied it was for... ahem... "woman" problems. Not satisfied, he fished for more info and eventually I gave it up that it was for infertility. He then proceeded to tell me that he recently helped a 40yr old woman get pregnant after 10 unsuccessful years in TTC... blah-blah-blah... Ugh! Don't you hate it when they tell you how their patients all get pregnant? I'm thinking, who cares? It always seems to work for everyone else but me?  Then he asked if he could take my pulse to assess my condition. I thought, "Why the heck not?" I'm always up for a second opinion. Shockingly his diagnosis was quite spot on - kidney yang deficiency, cold, and my "jing" is very weak. I didn't know chinese pharmacists could make diagnoses.

He then told me that Dr Yeeeouch's prescription was incorrect... That there were some herbs that were too cooling for me... That the formula was generally not strong enough for me... What? Dr-Yeeeouch-who-spelializes-in-infertility's prescription is incorrect? Oh God! Just what I need - another incompetent TCM doc! He said he could alter my prescription for one that suited me better if I liked, which came to a combination of 17 herbs! He didn't pressure me to change it but he stayed one hour beyond the closing time of his shop to kindly explain to me what each herb was for. He advised that I stopped TTC until I was stronger because my weak body may not be able to sustain a pregnancy, which could result in a miscarriage. That was something I didn't want to hear but I knew it made sense. This Mr Dealer guy sounded genuinely concerned. And quite knowledgeable too. It's that, or he's a really good salesman trying to get me to buy more stuff! I was hoping that defecting to Dr Yeeeouch might do me some good, but is his herbal medicine going to be good enough for me? Will Mr Dealer's herbs be better for me?  Would it be wrong for me not to follow Dr Yeeeouch's treatment to the tee? Who do I listen to? I thought there might be a light at the end of the tunnel with Dr Yeeeouch, but now I was really torn. It was like being back at square one again.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that I did fall under Mr Dealer's charm and I did end up taking his "drugs"! Well, Dr Yeeeouch's prescriptions weren't exactly yummy-yum and they were really awful -think black bechamel sauce -- thick and gluggy, forming a disgusting skin over as it cools! Yeeuck! And Mr Dealer's new herbal formula sounded too good to ignore. After experiencing very bad lower-back pain recently (related to my kidney yang deficiency), I knew I was in pretty bad shape. I needed something very effective. I cross-referenced his herbs with some info I found in another great book on TCM/infertility (The Tao of Infertility: A Healing Chinese Medicine Program to Prepare Body, Mind And Spirit For New Life) and I found that those herbs would help my condition. So I went for it and asked for a week's worth of herbs. I wasn't very sure that it would help me, but I was full of hope that it would. Well, I thought that perhaps it would at least have a placebo effect on me, even if it was really just a con-job ie. a useless pile of dried grass from his garden's mowings!

So I happily brewed my first bowl of Mr Dealer's magic. WTF? It was even more disgusting than Dr Yeeeouch's herbs! It was super astringent and it felt like my cat was scratching my tongue out with his claws. It made my throat clench tight and pukey at the same time. It was possibly the all-time worst herbal concoction I had ever tasted in my life! I struggled with it every time I had to drink it. It was "Fear Factor" everyday for a week. Could I possibly continue with his herbs for months if necessary? How could I force this into my body when every cell in my body is screaming "NOOOOOOOOO!"??? How could I possibly feel good and positive about something that's so vile? What should I do? Do I go back to Dr Yeeeouch's formula? Would I offend Mr Dealer? Can Dr Yeeeouch really help me? What should I do? What should I do? Again, I was really torn. It was like being back at square one. Again.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that I managed to muster up the courage to go to Dr Yeeeouch again for the 3rd time. I was so nervous. And stressed. And anxious. And scared. But I needed more from him before I could decide if he's the TCM doctor for me. My heart was beating fast as we pulled into the parking spot next to the building. And as we walked closer, my heart palpitated like crazy. All I could think about was Pain. Pain. Pain. How could I possibly go through treatment with Dr Yeeeouch if it brings me so much stress and anxiety, which we all know kills fertility! How could I possibly feel good and positive about this when all I feel is dread? How could I conceive a child in this sort of an emotional environment? I was so confused.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that during that 3rd appointment with Dr Yeeeouch, he reads my pulse and tells me that it looked good and that I had a 90% likelyhood of being pregnant this cycle. WHAT? Did I hear him right? My chinese is not that good. 90%? Holy cow? My mind was soaring! My heart was racing, even faster from the fear before. I had ovulated this cycle, and we had timed our sex well. Could it happen this month? He told me - no more acupuncture this month, to which I gave a tremendously HUGE sigh of relief! Wow! No needles for me today! Wooohooo!! He also said no sex, no pineapple, no chrysanthemum. For my husband, he prescribed some sort of foot reflexology. It was his first time and the guy who worked on his foot apparently gave him hell. While hubs suffered, Dr Yeeeouch gave me a wonderful massage to the upper body to relax me. It made me feel really good. I was feeling high, from the massage and from the news that I could be pregnant this cycle. That was 7DPO. I had the best sleep that night.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that the remainder of my 2 Week Wait was sheer hell! I could not stop obsessing about early pregnancy symptoms. And I desperately wanted to know "NOW"! I had been sick with a runny nose. Could I be still be pregnant? I was sick last year and I did get pregnant. I was beginning to smell things I've never noticed beofre. Could I be pregnant? For a few days during the 2WW, I was feeling strangely out of breath and my heart was beating faster than normal.  Could I be pregnant?  I had twingy cramps on 9DPO and I slept a lot. Could I be pregnant?

Then I've been meaning to tell you that I went back to Mr Dealer with Dr Yeeeouch's latest prescription which was to help spark life into the "conception". When I told him that Dr Yeeeouch told me I had a 90% success rate in getting pregnant this cycle, he just laughed. He said no one could or should predict things like that. Then Mr Dealer tells me that there was nothing extraordinary about the prescribed herbs and that it was something any man or woman could take. Oh crap! Here we go again. There is a chance that Dr Yeeeouch was good at acupuncture but not superb with herbal medicine. So who do I listen to? Who is right? A huge dilemma again. Mr Dealer was a trained chinese pharmacist and he really knows his herbs, so I went with his herbs again. It was another week of "Fear Factor". Again.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that I said "F*CK IT!"on 10DPO and took an early pregnancy test. And of course it told me a resounding "Hell No, you're NOT Pregnant!" But it was still early and I was still hopeful. Godamnit! I want to know already.

Then I've been meaning to tell you that during all this head-spinning intensity, I battled with another huge dilemma - should I go ahead with my vacation plans? As you know my track record, I had a miscarriage during a vacation last year. I didn't even know I was pregnant when I left for my vacation. Would I go again this time if I knew I was pregnant? I only had a small window for travel and it had to happen in late Feb/early March. If I booked ahead and cancelled, we would lose just about 100% of the costs (this is Maldives we're talking about where couples book a year in advance for their honeymoons-highly in demand). Would Maldives be the kind of holiday that was safe enough for a pregnant me to go on? But I really needed to seek my sanctuary for the sake of my sanity. I had a lot of suppressed anger, frustration, sadness and bitterness over last year's failure to conceive. Should I put my life on hold for a pregnancy that has not happened or might not happen? Not knowing what to do seemed to be the theme of my life. I felt completely lost and directionless.

And then I've been meaning to tell you that I started to spot on 11DPO. Wow! Could that be implantation bleeding? The timing was just about right. On 12DPO, the spotting hadn't changed and I did a saliva test with my Maybe Baby mini microscope. I saw huge, full ferning patterns on my saliva. What could it mean? What could it mean? According to the leaflet, it meant that estrogen levels were elevated, which meant one of three things - you're just about to ovulate (Nope! Already did!), you have an estrogen imbalance (Hmmm... don't know about that. Never happened in the past saliva tests)  or you could be pregnant. Pregnant? WWWWOW!

And then I've been meaning to tell you that AF came on 13DPO... Wait over... My heart was crushed. There was pain. Physically too. The blood was a bit dark. It didn't look like a healthy period. F*ck it! Out came the pain killers. I wasn't going to be a hero this time and see how bad my pain was going to be. 90% success rate my ass! This is the second time that doctors have jerked me around and got me thinking that I was likely pregnant. It got me all hopeful, but all it got me was devastation. But deep down I knew that a pregnancy was unlikely. I didn't have any breast soreness that I had when I was pregnant. I knew my kidneys were really weak and that my body was not ready to conceive. And I was right because my period told me the whole story (TMI warning!). I had some clots and my period was a little heavy. If my chi and blood circulation had been good, I would not be having pain or clots or darkish blood or lower back pain. The blood eventually turned crimson red and flowed normally. The only good news was that AF was gone in 7-8 days! Spotting and all! I thought I was pre-menopausal, cos that was too little blood for me. It took a lot of convincing to believe that it was normal, because that's what normal, healthy women experience. Me normal? I've never known normal. It was a bizarre thought. Perhaps my uterus is normalizing, bit by bit. Thanks to TCM.

And then I've been meaning to tell you that through all of this madness, I turned 39. That means 40 in "chinese" years. The chinese count your age from the day you're conceived. By the time you're born you're almost a year old. Not zero years. I celebrated my birthday 4 times - once with friends, once with my family, once with my in-laws, and once with hubby, but despite all this celebration, there was really no joy in my heart. And as with every Christmas, every birthday and every New Year during the past god-knows-how-many-years, my mother would wish out loud infront of the whole family for me to be blessed with a child the coming year. Another year older and still nothing to show for it. Damn it! I have to be more aggressive now. Last year I decided that I would give TCM till March this year. If nothing happens come March, I would find an RE and have me and hubs reassessed again for ART.

And then I've been meaning to tell you that I crawled back to my first TCM doc. Dr Yeeeouch's clinic was going to be closed for what seemed like forever during the Chinese New Year and I needed to be primed for my "2nd honeymoon" cycle in the Maldives. I am due to ovulate around the beginning of our Maldives holiday, so if my body behaves, we should be having lots of baby-making sex there. There really isn't a more conducive place to be bonking your brains out than a romantic paradise like Maldives! So I had to get my body ready. Out of desperation I went back to my TCM doc. The plan was to see him till we go to Maldives, and if we should disappear, a.k.a. defect to another acupuncturist, then it wouldn't seem like we left him suddenly.

Then I've been meaning to tell you how wonderful it was to be back with a doctor who speaks English... Whom I could understand and have a conversation with. Whose needles did not morph me into Ms.Scream Queen! TCM doc was very focused on us again. Since his new clinic had been completed, he wasn't distracted anymore. He gave us his full and sincere attention. I liked that he was being generally very positive and upbeat about my recovery from kidney yang deficiency:  he told me to drink his herbs, eat ginger omelette 3-4 times a week (which surprisingly was delish since I'm not huge a fan of ginger), and gave a long list of all the vegetables I can and cannot take. Apparently I'm always eating the wrong kind of stuff!  He also reported that my chi and blood circulation was very good; that I was still strong enough to conceive despite the deficiency and if I did get pregnant by some miracle, it would be easy to strengthen my body to help me retain the pregnancy (assuming there are no genetic issues). AND he said to forget about the horoscope mismatch between my "monkey" husband and my "tiger" baby should he/she be born next year. The effect of the year's animal sign on a person only accounts for 12.5% (1/8th) of the child's personality (I did my homework-he's right) He said I should leave these things up to god. So I guess his advice to wait and avoid a tiger baby is out the window! That suits me really well! No waiting! I'm not a firm believer of the chinese horoscope and I'm happy to leave these things up to god!

And then I've been meaning to tell you that I quizzed him about manual acupuncture (no electricity) and why he didn't practice that. Straight away he said that it was very painful and everyone in the clinic would be screaming! "Who would come?" he exclaimed. Okay..... I knew from first hand experience that that was the absolute truth! He explained that manual acupuncture involved twiddling the needle till it hits the bull's eye (The acupuncture point). He said that electro-acupuncture was just as effective. In electro-acupuncture, the acupuncture points are triggered via electricity that is relayed through the needles.  I was under the impression that electro-acupuncture was slower and less effective, but according to current research, electro-acupuncture was actually more effective in treating many different conditions and longer-lasting. Ding! Ding! 

TCM Doc - 1 Dr Yeeeeouch - 0

And TCM Doc's electro-acupuncture sure is a hell lot less painful than Dr Yeeeouch! Ding! Ding!

TCM Doc - 2 Dr Yeeeeouch - 0

I asked hubby: How long will you be willing to continue treatment with Dr Yeeeouch?

DH: Till I reach the stage where I can't take the pain any longer. 

Me:  "I have reached that stage already!"

DH: Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha....

I don't think you'd be surprised if I told you that I've pretty much made up my mind to abandon Dr Yeeeouch.  So I'm going back to TCM Doc, at least till I find another one, god-willing!

And then I've been meaning to tell you that I've started doing chi gong exercises diligently for up to 2 hours a day, everyday. I learnt a form of healing chi gong from a master many years ago, and I should have taken advantage of this knowledge to help my infertility. But it takes serious discipline. To sit and breathe and think nothing for minimum 30 mins is pure torture for me. And I'm lazy. But now I'm desperate. (BTW, this is much like the chi gong exercise that is recommended in the book "The Infertility Cure"). I am also practicing another form of chi gong-come-meditation exercise that is recommended in the book "The Tao of Infertility". Chi gong is a form of exercise where you harness your body's own chi to heal your body. I can focus the chi on a certain part of my body or set it free to seek out the trouble spots in my body. With the recent exercises, the chi went straight for my kidney point, causing me to sway back & forth uncontrollably. I just find it fascinating that it knows just where I need healing the most. I am hoping that these chi gong exercises will help balance my deficiencies quicker and heal any problems that are contributing to my infertility. At the very least, it should increase the chi and blood circulation around my body. Yup, I have to prime my body up for baby-makin time! 

And I've been meaning to tell you that this month is the 1-year anniversary of my one-and-only pregnancy which I eventually lost in March 2009. Finding out that I was pregnant in a small motel room overlooking a cemetery in Fresno after 4 years of TTC wasn't exactly how I imagined I would discover the happy news, but the joy and the awe was certainly real and overflowing. And Bryce Canyon, Utah will forever be filled with bittersweet memories - It remains in my mind a place so fascinatingly beautiful but devastatingly haunted by the memory of my miscarriage. Spookily, I will be leaving for my Maldives vacation on 1st march, exactly the same date that I embarked on my doomed vacation last year. But hopefully, this Maldivian holiday will mark a new chapter for a wonderful and happy beginning for us.  

There's so much more I've been meaning to tell you, but I've just about written a whole novel here. And a break would be a good idea at this point - for you ;-)  I've really had enough drama for this month. I think I SO deserve a vacation!  But I'm on ovulation watch. It's CD17. OPK today was negative. My stock of OPKs are revving to go. The drama's not over...

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Dr Yeeeouch!

Let me tell you about Dr Yeeeouch!

After a very strange first consultation with him, we decided that we couldn't brush him off based on first impressions. After all, he seemed to be quite deft with needles and acupuncture points, having managed to clear my husband's sinuses with just a couple of pricks. He had given us some herbal medicine to consume over the course of the next few weeks or so, but there wasn't a clear plan of treatment. I was just waiting for an excuse to go back to him, sooner.

That came on the 25th of January, just 3 days after we first met him. Two days prior to my second appointment, I had been having the worst lower back pain. It wasn't a bone thing. And it wasn't my usual radioactive ass-throb, endo-related pain. It was just a very, very bad ache deep inside my body below the waist. I suspected a deficient condition, likely related to the kidneys (think TCM!) My hot water bottle came to the rescue.

Have I told you about my hot water bottle? A hot water bottle is a "Cold Uterus Woman's" best friend, providing warmth and encouraging blood circulation in the womb. Unfortunately my niece had been playing with it and popped a hole in it. So as a temporary measure, I had been using my old polycarbonate drinking bottle which I had retired because, well, to cut the scientific explanation short,  Bisphenol A (BPA) in polycarbonate plastics leaches into your water, and messes with your hormones and fertility. The bottle is sturdy and it can take hot water really well. I could fill it up and roll it around my tummy. This time I needed it for my back. Even when I filled it with ridiculously hot water and the bottle was incredibly hard and uncomfortable to lie on, it gave me the most wonderful relief! 

I thought it would go away after a day, but the pain continued onto the second day. So I thought, "Right, something is so wrong here. I am going to see the acupuncturist tomorrow". The next day, the pain was gone! Oh crap! I was really looking forward to seeing what acupuncture could do for it. I called up my new acupuncturist, complained to him about the pain in as many chinese words as I knew and said I was coming to see him! 

His other clinic wasn't optimally located either as it was again, across town from us in a different direction. But thankfully he was opened till 10pm, so we could avoid rush-hour traffic and mosey on down to his clinic leisurely after dinner. When we arrived, we were greeted by a young woman in a white doctor's coat and ushered straight to the acupuncture beds. We were reminded to take off our shoes at the door-that's how it is at this clinic-shoes off in all the carpeted rooms. Soon our new acupuncturist came to meet us, barefoot. Oh! So that explains his barefootedness when we first saw him. But, he was STILL in short sleeves and shorts! Yes, his top was a buttoned-down, smart-looking collared shirt, and his black shorts did look like the most formal style a pair of shorts could ever look, but that's not the image of a doctor that I am used to. All his other apprentices and students were smartly dressed in white coats and long pants, but he, the master, didn't seem to care. I don't know - maybe it's a chinese thing, but he seems to be saying that he knows who he is, he's secure in his abilities and all he wanted to be was comfortable. And he did come across as quite humble. So lets find out what he can do... I told him about my lower back pain and he motioned me to lie down face down. The bed had a hole for the face like those massage beds.

And here's why I call him Dr Yeeeouch!

He inserted a needle into a point on my lower back. It was a quick prick that went pretty deep. No problem! I could handle that! I'm a pro! I've been pricked a guzzillon times! No sweat at all! Then while the needle was still inside, he wiggled it and did a jack-hammer maneuver into that point with the needle over and over again.


That really fucking hurt! Then he did the other side of the spine. Same fucking technique, same fucking pain! Is this for real? Then he pulled my panty down lower and while my bare ass was exposed in all its glory to my husband, who was probably snickering away, and another student of his who was called over to learn, he went for it again, this time at another point lower!


I screamed and squirmed at every point that he jack-hammered with the needle. Then he covered my butt with a towel and proceeded to massage my lower back and the butt with his elbow.

Then he asked me to turn over. Oh God! He was going for my ute! I knew the "points". He was going for the point near the right ovary. He motioned me to mimic him -- He puckered his lips and blew air out. He wanted me to exhale and puff like a woman giving birth. OH GOD! That could only mean one thing - it was really gonna fucking hurt! OMG! OMG! OMG!

While I puffed, he went for it - I felt the needle go deep and hit something hard. If you have a roll of fat on your tummy and tighten your abs, you would feel the hard mass of muscle beneath it. It was like that. And as soon as the needle hit that hard mass, he pumped that needle again and again! I nearly died! And that was only point No.1. Three more points on the ute to go! I don't know how I made it through alive but I did! He proceeded to massage my tummy which hurt like hell too. He let me rest. Then it was my hubby's turn, who was in a bed next to me.

Dr Yeeeouch! asked him some questions and then started acupuncture on him. When it came to a point in the abdomen, he asked DH to puff like I did. So hubs started to blow air out like he was gently trying to seduce me. Right! That's not gonna work. I told him to blow hard cos it was gonna hurt like hell. And then it happened! I've never seen my husband in such pain before but he was much better at controlling his emotions than me! I couldn't help but snicker away! It's nice to see men suffer for fertility for a change!

After a while, Dr Yeeeouch! came back to me and asked me to turn onto my belly again. Oh god! It's not over yet? This time he went for a point behind the knees. A rather delicate area don't you think? And it was hell all over again! He asked me if there was any electricity. Huh? Did I understand him correctly? My chinese is not that good. He asked me again. So I said no. Then it was the other leg's turn. So I'm squirming and screaming all over again. Is there any electricity? Zzzzing! This time, YES! Something shot down my legs. It felt like when you hit your funny bone and you feel that awful buzz. He went back to the other leg and tried it again but there was no "electricity" still. Nevermind, he said. I guess there must be some kind of blockage but it was enough torture for me for the day. And that was it! Hell was finally over!

When I got up I couldn't walk or straighten my legs properly. I asked him why my legs were so... err... so... I couldn't find the word in chinese. So he filled in the word for me - "tight". Yes! That's it! He said it like he was expecting it. He said it was normal. I pretty much walked like an old arthritic woman back to the car and through the rest of the night.

Do you think Dr Yeeeouch! is an appropriate name for him?

I did ask him if that was his usual style of acupuncture. And he said yes.

Oh dear god, help me!

I'm not sure if I was lucid enough through the torture to know if he did me any good that night, but hubby said that he clearly felt the warmth and the qi flowing through him during his session. Plus, there was a certain buzz in his "man parts" too. Well, my eggs which have been missing a couple of months did finally turn up 3 days later. So who knows?!!

Next - my new chinese herbal pharmacist. Dr Yeeeouch! and me - Two's a company. Is three a crowd?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My New "Fertility" Acupuncturist

After conceiving briefly in March last year, I never thought that it would take me so long to conceive again, especially after going through some intense treatments under the same TCM doc who helped get me pregnant. From March 2009 to Jan 2010, we were thousands of dollars poorer, and the score was still a BIG FAT ZERO. I started having doubts about the effectiveness of his treatments. Who knows? Maybe our pregnancy was a fluke?

I desperately wanted to see a TCM physician who specializes in fertility, but nobody I knew who suffered from infertility sought treatment from an acupuncturist or chinese doctor. My husband and I were on a very lonely and quiet road all by ourselves. Only one other TCM physician came to mind which I had found on the internet over a year ago. It was the same doctor that we had considered before settling for our TCM doc we've had the past year. The only reason we did not go to him was that his clinic was located right across town from us which would take 45 minutes to get to. Inconvenience would greatly hinder our motivation to go for treatments especially if we had to go very regularly.

After re-reading his website again which claimed that he was "well known for treating infertility" we knew we had to consider him. But nobody we know has heard of him. We found ourselves back at square one again, asking the same question we did a year ago - Do we go for any old doctor we find on the internet? What if he's a Quack Doctor? But we had no other options. We have not reached the stage where we were comfortable with trying Clomid, or IUIs and IVFs yet. I believe in the principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and since I managed to get pregnant au naturel once, I am still convinced that I can do it again. So we decided to give him a shot!

On January 22nd, 1 week back from Boracay and 5 days after our last appointment with our old TCM doc, we went across town to see him. After being greeted by a young man in a white doctor's coat, and ushered straight to an acupuncture bed, we thought he was THE doctor. Good thing we asked for the doctor, which apparently was not him. Within a minute or two, a short, middle-aged, barefoot man in a short-sleeved shirt and shorts appeared. What? You gotta be kidding me? The doctor on the website was dressed in a suit and tie, and presumably shoes too! He explained that he was usually at the other clinic (which we weren't aware of) and that it was a rare occasion that we caught him there. Well, I guess it was his day off. But he proceeded to see us anyway.


ROUND 1 - Ding! Ding! Over!
Conclusion - First Impressions NOT good!

I proceeded to explain to him why we were there to see him and I found out that he could not really speak English! OH MY GAWD! That's my worst nightmare! He didn't even understand the word "endometriosis". How are we ever going to understand each other? I only knew a smattering of chinese and it took all of me to communicate with him. My husband fared even worse with languages. We ended up speaking in a mixture of 3 languages!

I barely understood him, and I had no idea how to say ovulation, or period, or infertility, or poor sperm motility, or even sex in chinese! These are not the typical terms they teach you for everyday communication when you're learning a language. So what I know wasn't very helpful. At this point, it's pretty useless going up to him and saying in perfect Chinese, "Excuse me, where's the bus stop?" After struggling for some time, he got the gist and I got the gist of my diagnosis, which had something to do with dry heat and weak kidneys. He wrote me a prescription of herbal medicine and gave me a bunch of home-made black ball "herbal candy" to take with the medicine. And he gave DH some black pills to strengthen his sperm. And that was it! No acupuncture for me! And oh! He told us to abstain from sex for 1 month, but he also said I could go ahead and try when I asked him if we should give this month a shot. So I am all confused.

ROUND 2 - Ding! Ding! Over!
Conclusion - Communication Disaster! NOT good!

Then just before we left he noticed that hubby had a stuffy nose and said that he would treat it for him, free of charge. And that it would be very quick. He pricked a spot between DH's eyes and wiggled the needled a bit. He also pricked another point on his face. And it was all over in less than 30 seconds. DH, was astonished, more because his sinuses magically opened up and drained completely the moment he poked the needle in. He said his blocked sinus was gone in an instant!

ROUND 3 - Ding! Ding! Over!
Conclusion - Maybe he knows something about acupuncture. He's not a Quack Doctor?!?!

When we left we were still clueless about how his treatments were going to unfold. All we knew was that we were to come see him at his other clinic on February 5th. That's 2 weeks on, which is a really long gap, compared to the twice weekly visits I am used to. 

I was pretty speechless after our visit with him. It was not what I had expected at all. I really did not know what to think! It was a very difficult session, but I was intrigued, and still desperate. I had to go back and see what else he has to offer. 

His clinic does not dispense herbal medicine, so I went to a chinese herbal store and ordered 3 packets to try out his formula first. Well, it was pretty disgusting - after boiling it, what I got was this thick, black, gluggy goo. When the concoction starts to cool, a skin would start to form over it. That's how gross it was! The taste was pretty vile, but still downable. And the black ball "candy" was NOT candy at all! I miss my TCM doc's herbals medicine... :-( 

Well, the only consolation was that I only had to drink his herbal medicine every second day! 

My next post - Why I call him Dr Yeeeouch! 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

To Defect Or Not To Defect?

Its 11DPO and this 2 Week Wait is driving me absolutely CRAZY! I am glad I've got a lot of updating to do on my blog, though I've been spending time on the internet instead obsessing about 2WW symptoms - again! I just never learn do I, even after another year of futile obsessions during the 2WWs of 2009!

As I have hinted, much has changed in my TCM routine this year. For one, I have only seen my regular TCM doc once this year. I felt like we had come to the end of the road with him, especially when the last cycle under his care ended up in me having an anovulatory cycle. In lay terms -

No ovulation = No egg = No chance in hell of conceiving!

So when that happened, it's like,

What's going on here? I'm getting worse!

Because from what I know, and what my Fertility Friend and OPKs tell me, I usually do ovulate every cycle.

I know these things happen occasionally and who can ever be sure why, but it's just easier for me to blame him! Time is ticking... And granted that he did help me get pregnant for the first time in my life last year, there hadn't been anymore pregnancies under his care since my m/c in March '09. I was getting worried. And time is still ticking...

My husband and I had developed a great relationship with him over the year, but he hadn't given us what we wanted. I don't care how many couples he's helped got pregnant since. It's always frustrating to hear about so and so who got pregnant. Everyone he's helped seems to be getting pregnant except us. I had no idea why or what to do. If I hadn't been pregnant under his care I would have left a long time ago, but he did help me get pregnant once naturally, and that was the hold that he had on me. I looked very hard for signs that it was time to move on. After our last visit with him, I pretty much got all the signs I needed.

The First Sign - he hardly showed any concern for our inability to conceive last year. Infact, he suggested that we cool it off and wait for three months instead.

What? You want us to Wait?

I'm thinking, there had better be a damn good reason for this. Turns out, his reason was not based on ovaries or qi or meridiens or hormones, but based completely on his beliefs in the chinese horoscope! He really believed that a baby born in the Year of the Tiger (which starts on Feb 14, 2010) was a really bad match for us, especially for my husband, a "monkey". He said that it would be tough on my husband while the kid's growing up and very tough for our child later trying to grow up under a "monkey" parent. It would be a very difficult relationship. Wow! That really threw me off. I wasn't expecting that at all! We cried out in disbelief but all he kept saying was, "Trust me. Believe in what old people have to say."

Well, that got me really nervous. The chinese horoscope is fun, but I've never taken it seriously. Could our dreams of having a happy family be ruined by the timing of our child's birth? He wanted us to wait 3 months so that our child would be born after the Year of the Tiger. Telling an aging, desperate infertile to wait and do nothing for 3 months is like being banished to hell to suffer for eternity! I had to go and have a consult with Dr Google and see what he says. More on that later.

The Second Sign - I didn't feel like he was focused on our problems anymore. Sure he has dying patients with cancer and life threatening diseases, and babies with brain development problems that are in much dire need of his attention, but I want my TCM doc to treat us like we were his one-and-only most important patient in the world that he would drop everything for! And he was not giving that to us anymore. He was also spending less time in the clinic these days, being more focused on getting his other clinic opened within the next month. He's stretched thin, and his staff never knows when he would be in. I like it when he used to be there 24/7 (seriously - he even works on sundays and public holidays).

He gave us an excuse to disappear. So, (take a deep breath...)

We defected!

We had one last electro-acupuncture with him that session. (By the way, when he pricked that spot over my right ovary, the pain was so intense, my screaming startled him! Yup - either he wasn't careful or something was going on at that acupuncture point!) We got one week's worth of herbal medicine to boil at home and we have not seen him since.

Coming soon... Introducing our new acupuncture fertility specialist...

Dr Yeeeouch!

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Report Card of 2010

Continuing on from Boracay...

Boracay was rather fun for what it was. You can tell if you looked at me because I put on something like 2-3 kgs when I was there! Yup! There went the TCM diet!

If pregnancy experts gave a demerit point for everything I did or ate wrong, I would have flunked miserably. Well, I didn't care, cos, well,... I had no egg. They're missing! So what pregnancy? Therefore, I absolutely did not care. It was so liberating, having no rules. I guess that's why it was fun! There were milkshakes galore from the island's best fruit milkshake hut (yummmm!) --that means dairy (swoon!) and ice (swoon, swoon!)! Then there were ice-cold cokes. And swimming in icy cold water-- All the cold things that are banned for a woman who is predisposed to having a cold body. Even though Boracay was a balmy 30˚C/86˚F the water was freezing! It was funny watching everyone's reaction when they hit the water! It wasn't just me! So in short Boracay was very bad for my body.

So what has Boracay done to my body? Here comes the report card...

I went to see my usual TCM doc as soon as I got back. He was very impressed with the beautiful photos we took, but he was NOT impressed with me.

"What happened? Why are you so cold? But your Qi is really good though."

I guess there were no surprises there. I sinned. I did evil things. But I was happy! My Qi was happy!

But that got me thinking - If all the acupuncture, and herbal medicine, and moxa that he's given me for the entire past year and 2 months I was with him have not been able to strengthen my body well enough to take 2 weeks of abuse, how good of a doctor is he really? I got pregnant under his care during the first 4 months but it's been a dry 10-month spell since. I was getting impatient and worried. It's no fun celebrating a 1-year anniversary of being with your TCM doc when there are no results. Was it time to move on? Try a different doctor or method perhaps? I had told him last year that we were giving ourselves till March 2010, and then we would consider other options. But I was already itching to move on.

My heart was really heavy with indecision. I truly believed that he's a good TCM physician, but fertility wasn't one of his strong points or specialty. But who do we go to? Nobody I knew knew anyone to recommend. So here we go again. Do we go for an unknown doctor I randomly find on the internet again? I had found another TCM physician who claimed to specialize in fertility on his website. They say they are :

"..well known for treating infertility. Our successes in assisting childless couples to conceive have been one of the most rewarding part of our mission. The tears of joy and happiness in seeing proud 'parents to be' is what makes all our efforts all the more worthwhile."

That was pretty much the clincher for me, the oh-so desperate infertile.

So, the big question now --

 Do we defect? 

Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

We're Back!

YES! Me and my eggs are back! After what seemed like forever, my eggs which had been MIA since November have finally shown up!

I got a "Woohoo" on CD 18 (27th January)-- It's one of the puuuurtiest lines I have ever seen - on an OPK that is! Sadly, those elusive double HPT lines are still nowhere to be seen though...

Sorry for being MIA myself from the blogosphere for so long. It's been a wonderful break for me mentally. Having been absent here has probably done me quite a lot of good - I found myself obsessing and stressing less about my infertility and my Houdini eggs. But I've really missed you guys - I have so much of catching up to do.

So much time and stuff have passed since my last post. Where do I begin....? First of all, I guess a "Happy New Year" is in order! I can't believe we're already into the second month of the year! I hope everyone has had a great start to the new year and that this will be the year that dreams will be fulfilled for all the IF sisters here.

As for me, I am still trying to come to grips with the awful failure that 2009 was for me. I came into 2010 feeling very, very angry and frustrated. I wasn't feeling like I was given a new start. I wasn't in any mood to make any new resolutions. I wasn't feeling inspired or excited. It basically felt like 2010 was just an on-going, prolonging of 2009's misery.  Even the New Year's Eve party I hosted did little to bring any meaning or real joy to my life. I needed to escape from all this misery of unfulfilled TTC goals and desires.

And so escape I did - to Boracay. When I came back from my beach vacation in December (which was at Pangkor Island, a small little island off the west coast of Peninsula Malaysia - for all of you who asked) I wasn't kidding when I said I wanted to get away again to some island paradise. So in the 2 weeks that I was back, I feverishly did my research and settled for a vacation in beautiful Boracay, an island in the Philippines which is reknowned for it's brilliantly white powdery sand and clear, blue waters, as shown on the internetz.

After the mad dash to make our house look party-ready (and clean!) for the festivities, cooking for two Christmas dinners and one major New Year's Eve party, and doing the dreaded after-party clean-ups, AND planning the whole vacation basically all by myself within those two weeks, I was SO ready to escape to paradise for some R&R! Without any time to rest after New Year's, we packed our bags, spending every waking minute figuring out how to squeeze everything within the 10 kg (22 lbs) limit per person! Wow! What a feat it was! We have never travelled so lightly for an international trip before! On January 3rd, we left the house at 4 (IN THE MORNING!) to catch our flight and be on our way to our well-earned vacay.

Our budget airline (AirAsia, which was surprisingly pretty good) took us to Clark Airbase in Luzon, Phillipines. Getting to paradise wasn't going to be that easy as we had to take another plane to Boracay in the morning from Clark. That meant spending a night in transit. Well, Clark, which is an  ex-US airforce base is rather "interesting" to say the least. Angeles, the town around it, has for many years been servicing these army men and had developed quite a thriving sex industry there. Although Clark has been given back to the Philippines and the marines have left, the sex tourism is still there, and ex-marines have been coming back. Thankfully there weren't a lot of babies around - just plenty of sex. Well THAT- an IF sister can handle! Just not the sight of babies and pregnant women.

Everywhere we went, we saw old, fat, balding, (did I mention OLD) white men with YOUNG tiny Filipino girls. And I mean EVERYWHERE- in the hotel, in the streets, in the restaurants! We were the only same-race couple there. Possibly in the whole town! The hotel we booked was rated No.2 by Tripadvisor. Must be pretty decent right? So you can imagine our surprise when we found out that it had a popular lounge that boasted of some 80 sexy girls for "you"!! As you would expect there were more of those dodgy couples all over our hotel, some making out at the poolside, but at least they were generally pretty discreet. Thankfully the walls in our rooms were solid concrete and blocked out any noise. Infact, funnily enough, everything was built out of concrete into the walls - the wardrobe, the dressing table, even the bedside tables-all guaranteed to stay put from any... err.. shall I say "friction". Odd? Wait till you see the "red light".

I was lying in bed when I noticed one red bulb above me placed between 2 normal bulbs. What's that for? Maybe they ran out of regular bulbs? It had its own dedicated switch. Ohhh....! It eventually dawned on me that it was purely for no other reason than for SEX! Yes, we had our own little red light district in our bedroom! LOL!

Maybe it's to warn people outside the windows that the room was getting a little action? Maybe it's suppose to make us feel like prostitutes - a little "dirty" and risque? Maybe it's suppose to make us look sexy with a red glow on our skin???? Well, I can tell you that it felt anything but sexy - it felt like I was in a photo processing darkroom! One thing's for sure, no pregnancies came out of our little red light rendezvous! We can rule out that red light for TTC! 

And so we eventually got to Boracay on a little propeller plane. Now that I am back, I am still looking for my little private paradise. Boracay was certainly beautiful when you look out straight ahead into the clear, azure ocean lapping gently on the gorgeous white powder. But look left, and you'll see one million people on the beach. Look right and you'll see another guzillion people on the beach. This is what Boracay really looks like:

It feels like downtown on a patch of sand. The beach is a perpetual foot highway for human migration going to and from the mall (yes there's a mall). And the beautiful postcard colours are visible only morning till noon when the light is behind you. The sunset's gorgeous no doubt. This is paradise for some, but not for me. I am fussy when it comes to finding my perfect beach getaway. My heart is still yearning for a piece of private paradise somewhere. My soul is still looking for a moment of absolute bliss and peace surrounded by perfect beauty. After the past year of TTC failures, my soul needs some healing of sorts and I will continue looking for my sanctuary. It will be a place of uplifting beauty to rest and reconnect with myself and my husband - not with a million people. Though that one night of dancing at the club was really fun! ;-)

Sorry for having morphed this into a travel blog but this was what occupied me for the better part of January 2010! 

So stay tuned for more news - ie:

  • My first TCM diagnosis back after the vacay... 
  • Defecting to another TCM doctor... 
  • New acupuncture horrors...
  • New drug (herbal) dealer....
  • Another year older...
  • And another "Should-I-book-my-vacation-now-or-wait-till-a-BFN-what-if-I'm-pregnant-should-I-travel-especially-after-how-I-lost-my-baby-while-travelling" saga!

Plenty of topics to keep me occupied during my 2WW!

Luv to all you IF sisters out there! 

PS-It'll take me a while to sort my shit out with all these changes and get back to blogging regularly, but I'll be touching base with your blogs by and by. For all the gals who have had BFPs while I was gone and have brought their babies into the world, my heart is bursting with joy for you - Congratulations! You know who you are! And for those still struggling on the TTC journey with me, keep going! We'll find a way! God bless us and keep us strong!