Friday, February 12, 2010

God Bless This Woman.

Because I try to stay active on the PCOS board soulcysters -- and occasionally a fellow cyster follows me over to my blog -- I thought I'd share a review of my acupuncturist that I wrote for her today. Most people have an "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" attitude to alternative medicine practitioners, and it always makes me sad. After all, if I'd stuck around with my first acupuncturist -- or abandoned the entire idea because of him -- I'd still be trying to raise money for IVF's instead of raising a growing family.

**I'd like to note, for the record, that this is a pretty incomplete record of our fertility attempts, but felt it was important to remain focused on the topic of acupuncture and acupuncture alone.

I began trying to conceive in July of 2005, and a year later, we were still empty handed; our medical doctors had performed tests, prescribed drugs, and afterward, gave us little hope unless we began ART (artificial reproductive technology.) As drastic as their measures seemed, I intuitively knew I wasn't as broken as those doctors believed, and began seeing an acupuncturist. Something about this man's treatment methods didn't suit me, though. We saw only limited improvements under his care, and within a matter of months I switched to another acupuncturist. While she was skilled, she spoke no English and never checked my pulses or made any attempts to check the progress of my symptoms. I trusted that she knew exactly what she was doing, but wondered if her treatments were really a custom fit for my body's needs. Eventually, my husband encouraged me to consider other methods, including dietary adjustments, and we were blessed to conceive two years after we began trying. Nine months later, I gave birth to a darling, healthy girl.

We were pregnant again surprisingly quickly, but it resulted in a very early miscarriage just before eight weeks. It was at this point, after my miscarriage, that I began referring to a book on my shelf that had been collecting dust for some time: The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies. Almost instantly, I began noticing symptoms of poor health I'd been ignoring to that point: cold feet, heightened anxiety, poor digestion, and short, scanty periods. When I conceived again, several months later, I had been working to follow the book's dietary suggestions, but knew my body's health was still sub-par. I again struggled to maintain a high-risk pregnancy, and several symptoms worried my doctor enough to require early ultrasounds.

I immediately looked up acupuncturists in the area and found Nina. My symptoms worsened as the pregnancy progressed, but Nina treated me regularly with both acupuncture and teas/pills. She is among the most nurturing, warm, healing souls I've been blessed to know. Under her care, my pregnancy progressed.

Late one Sunday night, I began bleeding. Doctors, I knew from experience, could offer no help this early on with a pregnancy except to suggest bedrest. But even when I called her so late at night, she rushed to her clinic and asked me to meet her. She introduced me to an acupuncture point neither of the other two acupuncturists had ever told me about, one which often stopped uterine bleeding. She prepared a special tea blend, gave me packets so I could make my own, taught my husband how to apply pressure to the point, and even sent me home with her special teapot. I am happy to report that the bleeding had stopped by the time I returned home. My pregnancy continued further, and another incident of bleeding occurred. Because of the herbs she had prepared and the acupuncture point she'd taught my husband about, we were able to again stop the bleeding, even faster this time.

I am now 28 weeks pregnant (with another girl!) and delighted. I've had many experiences with acupuncturists and feel somewhat educated on the topic of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Nina is very accurate and educated in the methods she employs; she reads pulses exceptionally well, she selects the points she uses thoughtfully, she is continually furthering her own knowledge with textbooks and articles, and she makes it a point to educate her clients so that they will understand how to further the healing process. But as wonderful as all her skill is, the highest compliment I can pay is that she is a healer in the true definition of the word. No doctor has ever been as personally concerned for me as Nina Isaacson. I feel that far more than chance led me to her, and she has become my friend -- as I believe all her clients would say of her. She wanted my pregnancy to succeed as much as I did. Even now, with my visits being infrequent, she continues to be mindful of me and my family.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Sentenced: a List of Betsyisms

Well, I meant to post this back in mid-January, but I confess I wanted a cute picture to accompany it. But with my computer, downloading, editing, and uploading a photo can take just about all the patience I have, which is less than fair to Betsy. So, although photoless, I'm finally getting around to letting you all into the newest aspect of her world: sentences.

Her progress delights me, but must confess I'm secretly a little sorrowful. Don't get me wrong -- I wouldn't want it any other way -- but there are parts of baby Betsy that we'll never get back. Already this morning, she's given me plenty of evidence she's almost entirely outgrown the one-word stage of life. We've moved on to the wonderful world of sentences -- sometimes partial, sometimes full, always entertaining.

"I sit down Mommy's lap."
"Books up high. Want books."
"Oh my goodness!"
"That's a mango."
"Daddy read Morning book."
"Mommy help me this thing"
"My tush hurts. Kiss it better." (You try explaining to your kid why you're not going to kiss their behind. It gets tricky.)

...But these are the more discernible. We often get things like:

"Daddy momma drive car Poppy Gigi" (Let's go to Poppy and Gigi's)
"Clean up, clean up, everybody share." (These are song lyrics, the last part says everybody do your share)
"Tail out?" (Can I have my piggy tail out?)
"Eat hungry food?"
"Remember Baby Sister?" (She's certain I've forgotten I'm pregnant. I cannot explain this.)

And a few are just her cute phrases/wordings:
ricey beans (rice & beans)
happy family
Daddy home
Hold you me

This week she cut her last eye tooth, and all she's wanted to eat is yogurt. After we ran out, I tried to feed her whole-milk pudding, but it was flatly rejected with her first declaration of "no like it," repeated in five-second intervals. (She'll eat the fat-free Yoplait but turns down pudding?!? Who is she?)

After much grunting and gymnastic efforts, she also managed to wrangle her arms out of her carseat this week, causing great fear in myself and obvious pride in herself. She was practically shouting "I did it!" also repeated in five second intervals. The car being only five blocks from home, and she so thoroughly pleased, I just couldn't bear to pull over and fix it.

Being the ultra-feminine thing she is, Betsy is also very into the world of dressing herself. Shoes and socks have always been her main interest, but matching them? Not so much. Now we also go for a second or third shirt, and more than one pair of pants. She takes that "a girl can never be overdressed" thing a little seriously if you ask me.

She's quite good at that little clean up part of things. While she probably didn't get that gene from me, it's cute to see her get out all her shoes and diapers, and then get them all put away again. Betsy is still enamored with her Learning Tower and insists on eating all her meals in it. I usually don't let her, but she is permitted to eat snacks in it and oh, she just beams. She likes to watch me prepare food in it, and this week impressed her nursery leader with the word bell pepper in her vocabulary.

Many of her favorite books have nicknames she'll request them by, such as morning book, melon book, Bah! book, daddy book, Fox Socks book, cat book, etc. She has learned to move the rocking chair ottoman in her room so she can reach her books, so now she'll literally bring out 30 or so books (three at a time) and pass them off to you. Once a sufficient number is achieved, she asks, "Read it?" and turns around and backs into you, waiting for you to pick her up. While this isn't new, it never gets old...