As promised I will write about my acupuncture experience.
Midwife Beth suggested that I try some acupuncture to help encourage the cervical ripening. Mr A and I didnt even attend a single childbirth class because we cant afford it so the thought of something as extravagant as Chinese medicine seemed laughable. Beth directed me to Working Class Acupuncture in NE PDX, which provides acupuncture in a communal setting and on a sliding scale. Right on.
I think things like acupuncture or any kind of eastern/alternative medicine has taken on an air of pretension in our society. Its almost elitist. Even though these treatments can be extremely helpful, if not MORE helpful than what you would find in a hospital, the mentality now is almost like getting a massage or reiki or whatever for an ailment is an extravagance that should compliment western medical treatment, rather than replace it. Which is funny because these treatments come from humble, communal roots. I suppose the only reason they are seem as a medical delicacy is because they are "exotic" rather than "common/normal". One would think that a prescription medication is exotic because so much complexity goes into making it, whereas with an herb all you have to do is grow the darn thing! Alas, no.
Anyhow, I really dig the idea of Chinese medicine being affordable since its unlikely that it will EVER be covered by my insurance. I wish I could find some chiropractic network that uses a similar business model.
On Monday evening, Mr A and I go down to the place and Im filling out some paperwork and Mr A is totally into it - so much so that he wants some acupuncture himself. Hes been struggling with his knees lately (I suspect he will have to get them scoped if and when he ever gets some insurance). He had gotten acupuncture for his wrist in the past and loved it, but he fell victim to the age old conundrum of alternative medicine - you need to do it quite a bit before you see results but who the hell can afford to go that often?! This presents us both with an interesting opportunity and needless to say, I was very thankful to be doing it together so I wouldnt be nervous (Im an acupuncture newbie).
We go into the treatment room and its dim and warm. There is soft music playing and beautiful panels of fabric draped across the ceiling (I think the fabric was from IKEA actually - although it wasnt too busy). There are these big comfy recliners set up in groups of 4-5. Mr A and I sit next to each other and the acupuncturist comes over and gets to work on my honeyboy. When shes done with him, she covers him with a blanket and comes over to me. She asks me some questions about my pregnancy, although I wrote down most of my information in my chart already, and proceeds to puncture me. I got needles on the top of my head and in my third eye, on my hands, in my calves and feet, and in my shoulders. Its amazing that this tiny little hair thin needle, that doesnt even go into your skin very far, sends such a sensation throughout your whole body! It was such a crazy feeling.
We kicked back, closed our eyes and relaxed. We both fell asleep for maybe an hour to and hour and a half. I woke up and was just wide awake. Not groggy or anything. Just totally awake. It was refreshing. Wonderful. I was so energized. But, sadly, I did not go into labor last night.
Today I went back. They say for labor induction you should go three times in a row and then take a rest. So today was round 2. I went in the morning because Tuesday is my afternoon at the gym, walking and such. I was all excited to relax and take a little nap. I just bounced into that treatment room and made a beeline for my comfy chair. Then the dude comes up to me and says "oh no, I want you on a table. Follow me!" WHAT? No nap?! No chair?! What is this?!
I get escorted to a table in a room that is well-lit (albeit with natural sunlight, but still...) and no music playing. He tells me to lay on my side and arrange pillows however I find to be most comfortable. He proceeds to stick about a dozen needles all in my butt cleavage and lower back. He put two needles on either side of my lumbar region and I was feeling those, let me tell you! Yikes. He put a couple in my hand and one in my pinkie toe, top of the head and the third eye.
Im laying there on my side and he says to me "now Im going to hook you up to an electrode" and Im just laughing at this point because I feel like hes trying to jump start my uterus (which probably isnt too far from the truth). That electrode was no joke. My palms were sweating profusely. But it was fairly relaxing, I started to knock out for a spell.
Eventually he came back (30-40 minutes later) and I was done. When he was taking out the needles I got quite a shock from the ones near my spine. He commented that perhaps thats where the hold up is. Like, thats where the blockage for labor might be hiding. Its an encouraging thought!
Then I went to the gym and during a phone conversation with my mom she informed me that all the ladies down at Horizon House (old folks home where mom works) say that stair climbing is better for labor induction than treadmill walking. Who am I to argue with tried and true methods? So I got my ass on the stairmaster.
All the way home in the car Im like contracting and getting pains in my "da kine" (as my husband would say) and Im thinking "oh boy! this is it!". I get home and...NOTHING! Not a damn thing. Just sat there all night and watched The Biggest Loser and felt absolutely nothing else. Arrg. Its like my body is doing everything- EVERYTHING! - everything short of actually going into labor! Its so frustrating that its almost funny!