Get Thee Meditations, Massages and Acupunctions

Had intended to write about this last week and time got away from me….

I wanted to speak to a number of relaxing things I’ve done in the past or am doing now, as they work for me and are very helpful in keeping alot of this in perspective. Assisted fertility is designed to prove what type of gauntlet you can run to and come out sane on the other side…and why not set yourself up to have a fighting chance.

The gal who led the support group I was going to ( emailed all of us that Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra were collaborating on a free 21-day meditation series.  Alas the free 21-day meditation is already on Day 15, BUT! the meditations are good for 5 days so you can still start at Day 10 and play catch-up.

I can’t help but make the joke of Oprah doling out meditation wisdom: You get enlightenment! You get enlightenment! You get enlightenment. DEEEEEEPPPAAAAAKKKKKK!!!!

C’mon, we were all thinking it.

These 20-ish minute meditations are focussed on connecting with your desires, letting go of fears, tapping into creative energy….so they very much fit in with a fertility quest. The title of one of the meditations made me laugh: “I am focussed on what I want.” Because yes, for quite some time now I’ve been focussed on what I want. But it never hurts to clear away some cobwebs that may have grown into the corners…..though you wouldn’t think there could be cobwebs when you’ve been actively working and laser-focussed on the same thing for a long time. But I feel that in being focussed on the same thing, in some respects it’s kept me waiting in the same place for awhile. So, these meditations have been a nice way to refresh my energy and perspective.

Next up: I’ve mentioned them before but Circle+Bloom has a number of really nice relaxation programs:

I have the IUI/IVF Mind-Body program and I really like it. It’s very calming and there are different meditations every 1-2 days of the cycle and specific meditations for trigger/retrieval and insemination/transfer. The woman’s voice is very soothing and she talks you through focussing on different parts all while deeply breathing. I generally feel very nummy with these….or I do them at night when I turn in and I end up zonking out. They do feel a little pricey, but given that I’ll be listening to them for a third time this next IVF, I figure it balances out.

A gal I met in my fertility support group recommended getting a fertility massage at Pulling Down the Moon here in Chicago in the River North neighborhood:

From their website: “The Fertility Enhancing Massage Protocol, or ‘The FEM Protocol’, is a four-part series utilizing massage and related techniques to enhance the health and functioning of the pelvic and abdominal organs, promote fertility and overall mental, emotional, and physical well-being. The four parts of the protocol focus on cleansing the body, enhancing the blood, opening the breath, and relaxing and integrating, respectively.”

They had me at abdominal organs.

I got the Cleanse the Body massage which is designed to detoxify the body pre-cycle.  There were light touches and super-tough body pummels, my feet got deliciously worked over and my spines got lots of scented oils. I won’t get all four massages (mainly due to cost, though they’re actually reasonably priced for a 60-minute massage) but I’ll likely try to go back at least 1-2 more times for different massages. I left there feeling like a floaty puddle…so if you’re a) in Chicago and b) looking to feel like a floaty puddle, go there and get a massage.

And last, I haven’t talked much about acupuncture but I’ve been going pretty much weekly for about a year and I really like it. I like to think it was helpful in getting me pregnant the first time. And, if nothing else, I’ve left there feeling either very relaxed and very energized depending on the treatment.

This is a nice place in the Lincoln Square neighborhood that works on a sliding scale – pay what you can within the $20-$50 window. There’s a private room with a table and a community room with 6 comfy reclining chairs (hence their ability to keep prices low). If you’re in the public room, energy points are utilized from the elbows or knees down, and around the head and face, and I’m on a fertility protocol, focussed on blood flow to the uterus, etc. (btw, one of the acupuncturists told me the uterus is called “The Fetal Palace). The needles give a tiny “pinch” when they go in, alot of them I don’t feel at all, and once they’re in you don’t feel anything else.  I almost always end up falling asleep for a little acupuncture induced snooze…..I can only hope I don’t snore much…..though I’ve snort-snored myself awake super surprised head-jerk-style on a few occasions. I’ve looked around and no one’s given me the stink-eye, so I’m guessing the sound was mostly in my head.

So – go seek out some pampering for yourself, take some deep breaths, and if all else fails, go online and buy yourself some groovy shoes…..whatever’s gonna work for you.

IVF transfer: Passengers on board

So Monday we got the call that The Russian wanted to move forward with a 3day transfer (3dt) on Tuesday.  Thing is, the nurse calling had no word from the embryologist as to how many embryos we’d be working with. For that: more patience…..we’d find out when we showed up on Tuesday.  

I made an appointment for acupuncture – they wanted to see me the day before and the day after the transfer.  As usual, I got there, got a mess of needles in me and within minutes zonked out. That needle business is so friggin relaxing.





So Tuesday morning we’re set for a 9:30am transfer which means I have to start filling my bladder at 7:30 (your bladder has to be full so that they can visualize the uterus). I already know that I’m a) a quick filler and b) incapable of holding my water for long, so instinct tells me to hold off a bit. I drank at the schedule they told me to drink but maybe not quite as much each time…..which turned out to be a good decision since our 9:30am transfer ended up being closer to 10.

When we arrived at the office we met with a nurse and then the embryologist. Good news: we still have 3 embryos. I’d hoped for at least 2 to transfer so I was very happy. At our clinic they rate embryos GOOD-FAIR-POOR, no letters or numbers….which in the end was fine with me, just a little bit less for me to worry about. We have 2 GOOD and the thrid was on the FAIR/POOR fence, but The Russian still thought it had a fighting chance so in it would go.

I strip from the waist down and get gowned and socked (loved the socks they gave me, little grippy things on the bottom….good times…totally brought them home) and was told to chill out in the comfy barcalounger chair. My hubbo and I joked around for awhile and then I opted to listen to one of my guided meditations from Circle+Bloom. While I initially thought they were a bit pricey, I have really enjoyed them and their relaxation techniques are very beneficial.

And then it’s time to go.

We did have to wait a little while for the lab to be ready, so there was a mildly awkward 5-10 minutes with me, The Russian and 2 nurses all just hanging out….remember that I’m naked below the waist, staring at the ceiling, legs in stirrups, knees ajar. You know, just 4 gals having a chat….

The procedure itself was easy-peasy. I barely felt anything and got to watch everything on a monitor – very cool to watch the catheter go in, the little glob of embryos and colored fluid (so you can actually see) slowly get injected and then everyone in the room commented on how well everything went.  Not me, I have no medical knowledge….but it sure seemed to go well.

I was then left alone for everything to settle in – the nurse asked if I would be okay for 15 minutes or if I wanted a catheter to empty my now very full bladder. The catheter option was a complete (and intimidating) unknown and I honestly thought I was fine, so I opted to be okay for 15 minutes.

15 minutes.  She said 15 minutes.

The first 5 were alright, and the next 10 were squirmy…but I’m fine right, any second now nurse is comin’ to get me.

But alas no.

The additional 7 minutes passed very very slowly.

I’m pretty sure I started running a fever with the sheer effort of mind over matter.

Needless to say it was one of the most gratifying trips to the bathroom I’ve ever had.

We were given a mess of instructions and sent on our way. No real need for prolonged bedrest but definitely told to take it easy the rest of the day.  I had acupuncture again today which as always was very relaxing and now I’m home trying to avoid Chicago’s extreme temperatures while hanging out with the dog in the bedroom – the only room in the apartment which currently has air-conditioning.

We have a not-quite-2-week-wait as my bloodtest is set for Friday, july 26….so in the meantime I have three microscopic passengers and am hopeful that at least one of them decides to take up permanent residence.


IVF Scan 6: Bring It On Down to Triggerville

Had scan 6 yesterday with The Russian and the follicles had progressed nicely – one even at 19…..she measured, she looked, and then turned to me and as matter-of-factly as anything simply said,

“so now we trigger and go retrieve them.”



So I sit with The Russian’s right hand and she walks me through the next couple of days.  At 9pm take the last little bit of my Follistim, the last full dose of Menopur and another shot of Ganirelex, which is really hard not to call galifianakis.  And then I’m told to take my trigger shot of Pregnyl at 10pm.

Well, 10pm is an awesome time…..on any night of the week except Thursday.  On Thursday nights I host an improv jam from 10pm-Midnight.  I know, Grandma here gets sleepy ti-ti by end of the fun.  So, I take it at 9:55pm in the bathroom at the theater….so, very rockstar.  I was a bit worried because the needle looked massive, but I’ll be damned, perhaps thanks to my cushiony fanny, it didn’t hurt at all. Again, the super sharp needles end up doing almost all the work and just sliding in.

Today I’ve just been lying low – had an appointment with the vet and then acupuncture.  One of these days I’ve got to write about my experience with acupuncture, because I love it and I know that it’s been a huge help.  I’m fairly certain that it helped me get pregnant the first time and that it helped my body handle the miscarriage as well as it did, which was pretty well.   I would point anyone in the direction of acupuncture, and have.  I have to think that it’s going to be the East meets West combo platter of treatment that gets me knocked up.

I think the cold’s gone into full-blown sinus infection because I Am Miserable.  I will be happy when it goes the fuck away.  I’m on antibiotics for tomorrow’s egg retrieval…..I can only hope they also start taking the edge off the sinus pressure….which is so bad that my upper teeth hurt.

We head to the suburban office bright and early tomorrow for the egg retrieval – hopes are high for happy hunting.