Acupuncture & Infertility; Everything you ever wanted to know …

Woman undergoing acupuncture treatment

In continuation of our interview series, following is an interview with Anjali Hasija, a National Board Certified, Licensed Acupuncturist and Chinese Herbalist. Anjali is also the owner of SATORI Holistic Wellness & Beauty in New York City, which offers a variety of services including acupuncture, massage and energy therapies, as well as personal spa care. Anjali became my acupuncturist back in 2009, when I was about to begin my third attempt at IVF.

While undergoing your infertility struggle, you might want to consider the benefits of the centuries old Eastern medicine of Acupuncture. It is widely believed that alternative therapies such as acupuncture are common complementary therapies for IVF and a successful pregnancy. Acupuncture can safely be used prior to and concurrently with fertility medications and procedures but of course before moving forward with any alternative activity please check with your doctor.

So here is everything you ever wanted to know about the medicine of acupuncture and how it can help you in your infertility struggle. Continue Reading

IVF 101: Sara’s Guide to IVF (Part IV)-Latest post on CHR

In my last post I described the part of the my IVF cycle known as The Retrieval. This post will pick up from there and describe the next step: Embryo Transfer.

After retrieval, the eggs and sperm start doing their “thing” in the lab and hopefully embryos start developing via fertilization. Developing means the embryo cells are dividing many times to a point where it is nearly ready to implant on the walls of the uterus. This division takes place post-retrieval, typically between days one to two, and then transfer is scheduled for either day three or day five. In my case, I was always scheduled for a day three transfer.

During these few days between retrieval and transfer, my only job was to try to relax and to hope and pray that my eggs would fertilize into healthy embryos that were ready for transfer. Note that not all eggs fertilize and not all fertilize well. Like every stage of IVF, you need to have the right mix of amazing science and luck. So I spent those few days trying to chill, taking my medication and mentally preparing for  the transfer.

My transfer was scheduled in the morning, and I arrived at CHR about thirty minutes before the procedure. This time allowed me to complete the necessary  paperwork, change into that glorious hospital robe, hair cap and booties, and, most importantly, review my embryo status with the embryologist. The embryologist  and I discussed what my little embryos had been up to the past few days. We reviewed how many embryos I had, which ones we would transfer and how many, if any, we would freeze. The embryologist also reviewed the level and grade of my embryos, so I was armed with the information to make decisions about what to do with each embryo. At this time I also spoke with my doctor so I could decide how many embryos to transfer. This is a decision that is unique to each person based on personal health factors such as age, number of attempts of IVF, quality of embryos etc.

Once we reached our decision, it was time to head over to the transfer room. I laid back on the exam table, which is almost like a “Craftmatic” bed, and my legs and feet went up, my back reclined, and I was in “position.” The doctor arrived and the embryologist once again confirmed who I was and the number of embryos I was transferring. Then, just like that, the embryos, which are mixed with a nutrient fluid, were transferred via a catheter into my uterus. The whole procedure was guided through ultrasound so I could actually see my embryos enter my uterus. How cool is that? Luckily, there were no issues and, voila, I was ready to go home with a few good prizes: a few embryos and an ultrasound photo of the big moment! I spent the next two weeks— TWO WHOLE WEEKS – holding onto that photo with hope and worry as I awaited the next stage of the IVF process: the pregnancy test.

Stay tuned for the next part of my IVF story in an upcoming post.

It’s Mother’s Day

Cookie for Mother's day on green backgroundMother’s Day is approaching. For those going through infertility this day can be just as hard (if not worse) to navigate as major holidays where you might be hounded by family members inquiring about your ovulation calendar and telling you to just relax and you’ll magically get pregnant – or those that don’t know your personal history and harass you with questions about future family plans. So how to handle this Sunday’s big day? My advice is try and not focus on the doom and gloom of not being pregnant or becoming a parent but rather take the day to celebrate the strong women in your life – The women who can inspire you in your life and help to guide you on this journey.

I went to the trusted source of Wikipedia to define the word Mother. Here you go:

A mother (or mum/mom/mam) is a woman who has raised a child, given birth to a child, and/or supplied the egg which in union with a sperm grew into a child. The definition can also be extended to non-human animals and may then also include being the animal that donated a body cell which has resulted in a clone. Because of the complexity and differences of a mother’s social, cultural, and religious definitions and roles, it is challenging to specify a universally acceptable definition for the term.

We all have Mothers in our lives. Some physically birthed us, some raised us and some were there as aunts, cousins, teachers, mentors etc. So take the day to celebrate those lovely ladies and don’t forget about yourselves! Even if you’re not yet a mom, you are on your way. Take a few minutes to relax, find some zen, give yourself a moment or even the whole day off to just breathe. Then if you have a special woman in your life that you call mom, then give her a hug or, at the very least, a phone call.

Finding Strength

red heart hanging on wooden background

I know my blog is supposed to be a humorous take on dealing with infertility. But I have to admit sometimes it’s hard to find room for laughs when the pain is insurmountable. So warning … not sure this post will make anyone laugh.

Recently, too many friends of mine have been going through some awfully terrible things in their lives that in my opinion are far worse than infertility. I am asking myself over and over again why bad things happen to good people. In the midst of all of this deep sorrow, the only piece of advice that I can give someone who is battling with infertility and who believes that her experience is on such a tragic level is to remember that there is good in your life. Yes, you’re not getting everything that you dream about and that sucks. But, it is important to note that you still have your friends and family – the relationships that make life worth living. You also may have a career that you are passionate about, or some other interests that bring you joy or meaning.

From a philosophical standpoint, no matter what you’re going through in your life, no matter what adversity comes your way, remember that you are stronger than you think. You can reach down into your soul and find a way back to life. You can overcome the challenges and prosper. You can try and achieve your dreams.

So to all that are suffering now … no matter what is causing the suffering … I wish you courage and strength to get through this difficult time. The cliché is right – Time really does heal all wounds. My wish to you is that the time will go by fast rather than slow.