Monday, August 29, 2011

HAKU Qs: Answered

Ever since I first wrote about natural methods to improve fertility back in May and especially since announcing the presence of our little uterus squatter, I've had many emails regarding acupuncture and (what I like to call) HAKU eating. 

{If you're new 'round these parts or need a refresher, click on over here for a review on what HAKU eating is and right here for a practical list of the foods I ate.} 

The vast majority of these queries can be boiled down thusly....

Do you really think this shit works or are you just a crazy person who doesn't shave her armpits?

First, I do shave my armpits.  My knees may suffer from a 5 o'clock shadow every now and again due to my hasty technique, but my pits are impeccable.  So there. 

Second...  I was a big believer in holistic medicine before, and I'm an even bigger believer now.  So, yes, I do think our commitment to natural fertility methods paid off.  

And I'm going to tell you why in excruciatingly boring detail. 

{You're welcome in advance.}  

(1) I gots proof, yo.  We'll start with likely the most convincing numerical in the bunch.  Acupuncture + HAKU Eating + VooDoo Tea = Big Changes in Mah Charts.  

Like any good little control freak, it didn't take too many of those unsuccessful "let's just have fun trying!" cycles for me to jump on the Charting Bandwagon.  {Read this; go here}. And once I got the hand of talking freely about my cervical mucus charting, it took an even shorter amount of time to identify some pretty glaring issues with my cycles... namely (a) long-ass cycles, (b) short-ass luteal phases, and (c) low-ass average temperatures {nothing like literally being told you are frigid to make a gal feel super maternal!}.  

After a month of acupuncture and herbs {with a few dietary modifications}, I noted visible changes in my charts.  After another month of acupuncture and herbs in conjunction with the full-on HAKU diet, the difference in my charts wasn't merely noticeable but ridiculously encouraging.  My average temperatures rose by nearly a degree {I am naturally 2 degrees below what is considered a normal adult body temperature} and my cycles shortened considerably.  Plus I just flat-out felt amazing - more energized, less sluggish, lighter, etc.

Seeing - and feeling - was definitely believing for me.

(2) Eastern medicine plays nice with Western medicine.  This is not an ultimatum, "it's herbal treatments or the Clomid" type of situation.  Natural remedies aren't going to solve each and every problem.  A good Eastern practitioner works with any Western treatments you might also be taking.

When it became clear my luteal phase defect wasn't improving as hoped with natural remedies alone, Yoda adjusted my acupuncture and herbal treatments to support low-dose fertility drug therapy.  Would one have worked without the other?  Maybe.  But I think it would have taken longer.  And {touchy-feely-hippie-talk ahoy!} "prepping" my body and knocking out a few of my issues with the holistic treatments made me feel much better about the decision to roll with the Western Rx.  I really believe that good ol' HAKU & Co. kept the fertility meds {which made me feel ubber-crappy} at a minimum.*

*Totally not discounting or ragging on Western medicine.  We are very thankful for the roll it played in this pregnancy and the pregnancies of so many of our friends.  The focus on holistic treatments is simply in response to the interest I've received on the subject!  

(1) Accupuncture, etc. gave me back some power and helped me calm the eff down. As the conjunctive sentence suggests, this sucker's two-fold:

(a) In this world of instant gratification, wanting something you can't have sucks big hairy ones.  Add in a heaping dose of uncertainty as to when you might have that something, and you're left feeling pretty damn powerless.  I could not snap my fingers and get pregnant, but I could cut the "infertile" foods out of my diet, religiously brew my tea, and trust Yoda to work her Qi magic... All of a sudden I felt like I was doing something.  I felt proactive, slightly more in control of this crazy ride -- and that felt really good.

(b) "Taking back my power" {GAAAAAAAAG} also helped me Chill. It. Out. I stopped thinking about fertility 24/7.  My stress level dropped. I remembered to thoroughly enjoy the life I had.  I found myself chatting with God on the acupuncture table.  Religion and spirituality aren't things I talk about much here, mostly because my beliefs do not fall into an easily definable box, but God and I do, in fact, shoot the breeze from time to time.  I made some pretty bratty specific demands in the beginning... and then, something shifted.  And I just started asking for peace.  Which I started to feel.

Power + Peace = Less Stress = Happy Mental Health {and, as Yoda would likely tell you, Better Qi}

This sounds suspiciously like those infuriatingly "helpful" folks who make suggestions like "if you just stop worrying about it so much, it'll happen."  Yeah, I hate those people too.  And I'm not validating their idiocy. Meditative breathing and tons-o-child's-posing isn't going to magically kick your ovaries into high gear.  But I think we can all agree that stress can affect our health, reproductive or otherwise.  Why not take every opportunity to treat the whole package?

If this were a moot court argument, I'd wrap it up with a nice Conclusion Statement reiterating (1), (2), and (3) and asking the court to grant the relief requested, but ya know... it's a blog.  And I have frozen kefir to eat.

Oh! Wait! Follow-up Question... Are you still eating HAKU?

Did I have the best intentions of continuing with {modified - mostly in the diary department since pregnancy requires more calcium} HAKU eating?

Yes.

Was I all smug about these intentions?

Yes.

Did I just eat Nature's Way Pasta Roni for dinner?

You betcha.

Continual nausea is a bitch that can only be bested with delicious, gluten-y carbs.  At least for me.  As I wade on into the second trimester, I'm managing a much more balanced diet, but I need the calcium in diary and I need the carbs so I don't slap E in the face when he pours himself a huge glass of white wine at the end of the day.

Yoda did suggest I stick with the "lukewarm" rule and keep off cold beverages for the entire pregnancy.

I told Yoda gracias for the bambino, but you're smoking crack.

I mean, there's only so many whackadoodle rules a girl can take.

Three cheers for hippie asians!  And three cheers for ice cubes!

Note: I cannot claim Eastern medicine is a cure-all for fertility, nor can I tell you I became pregnant after years of infertility woes and invasive treatments.  I would never pretend to understand how women who've tried for years to have a baby feel about alternative remedies {or how they feel about anything fertility-related, for that matter}.  This information is purely based on my experience as a woman who faced some hiccups on her road to motherhood.  As you can see, the experience was a good one.

{More Natural Fertility Resources: Making Babies by Dr. Sami David and Dr. Jill Blakeway, which I've written about before but deserves another mention, and ABORM - the American Board of Oriental Reproductive Medicine.}

14 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for sharing, it is very helpful. As I mentioned on your announcement post, I'm trying out Eastern medicine and seeing how it works on me. My last cycle (first one off BCP) was 102 days, so I am hopeful I will benefit from these changes. It really is great to read about your experiences and that you are so open with all of it.

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  2. Kate, Thanks so much for sharing this us! I am meeting with my doctor next week to talk about my non-functioning lady parts and I'm going to see if she thinks some eastern medicine might help.

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  3. This is fantastic. Great post and very respectful to those who are still struggling to have a bebe of their own. I'm just SUPER thrilled for you! You are going to be an amazing mom!

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  4. Thanks for answering these questions and being so open about your experience. It definitely helps make a topic that can feel shameful less scary and also kinda funny.

    Congrats!

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  5. Lovely post! Now for a non-HAKU question...are you ever going to do ITPITB again?? Because I really miss your cute style and wouldn't mind seeing some prego pics, either!

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  6. @C'est Law Vie - I promise to resume ITPitB soon! My vanity has been impeding that little endeavor... I'm just now to the point where I have enough energy to do something with my hair and slap on some makeup!

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  7. I just have to say it again...I am so happy for you and little baby cheesefiend!!!

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  8. congrats again on the little baby cheesfiend!!! I love hearing about your holistic adventures! keep 'em coming!

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  9. Thanks for sharing... I'm always interested to hear this sort of thing from other people.
    Even though I'm like 5 years away from kids (if ever), my mom had a hard time conceiving, then a host of gynecological problems (some of which I've already inherited, yay!), so it's something I think about on occasion.

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  10. VERY interesting! Not sure if I ever commented on the original announcement or not, but also---congrats on the bun! Let the fun begin:)

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  11. although it didn't me long to get pregnant, i started charting and using fertilityfriend.com from the beginning. as a type a, left-brainer, it gave me a small sense of control over a (mostly) uncontrollable situation. it's nice to put away the bbt thermometer, isn't it? so interesting to hear about your natural methods too!

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  12. First time reader of your blog and this caught my eye. First of all, congrats on your pregnancy! It is the biggest blessing. I too, went a totally natural route to alleivate my pain from endometriosis and in the end to try and get pregnant. Just changing my diet for 6 weeks (very simular to yours listed about) and my pain went away and I was pregnant with my first. I believe that diet, and Eastern medicine is what helped my body be able to heal itself and house a little embryo. I look forward to reading about your journey of pregnancy.

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  13. Hi Kate! If don't mind sharing, what "western medicine" did you use to help with your lp defect? I also am having this issue, and just did my first month of clomid. Just wondering what others are out there :)

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happy little comments!