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Acupuncture patient testimonials: fertility, pregnancy and IVF

 

Hazel

I cannot recommend Caitlin highly enough. After having IVF I suffered with a condition called Ovarian Hyperstimulation which put me in hospital. Caitlin Allen had been recommended to me by a friend who had been when she had been previously struggling to conceive. I visited Caitlin and her colleague, Rachael, and found them to be extremely knowledgeable (bearing in mind the midwifes I’ve seen have not known anything about the condition!) , empathetic and supportive. On my first visit, I had been unable to sleep for about a week due to the level of discomfort and because I couldn’t breathe properly. I was astonished to find that I fell asleep whilst being treated! I also left with improved breathing immediately and this continued to improve. Caitlin has helped my to get on track with a healthy pregnancy and been extremely supportive. She listens carefully and takes time with every customer so you never feel rushed. I have also found that she never pushes further treatment and actively encourages you to see how you feel and then see if you need to go again which is refreshing. I will have no hesitation in returning should I need to again and would recommend to anyone who is trying to conceive, who is pregnant or has general health concerns, sleep issues etc to visit Caitlin and Rachael.

Kathy

I’ve spent a year wondering how I can ever thank you enough for all you have done for me, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t! When I first came to you I was in such a ball of raw pain and hurt that I didn’t feel I would be up to socialising and going back to work within a few short weeks. But with your empathic approach, keen ear and expertise, you were able to mend me emotionally and quickly and I soon felt like my old self again (something I hadn’t experienced for a good couple of years). Although deep down, I had been praying for some sort of miracle I thought that being healed after the traumatic journey I had been on was as much as I could realistically hope for. So, it was the most joyous surprise to find out I was actually pregnant after only a few months of treatment with you. I don’t doubt that it was your practical help and emotional support that got me through the pregnancy in one piece and enabled me to bring my daughter into the world safely and soundly. I think you must be an angel, and I only hope that you are looked after in return for all that you give. A million thank you’s.

Amanda

I came across Caitlin when I was trying to conceive for the first time. It was taking longer than I had anticipated and so I decided to try a more holistic approach through healthy eating and acupuncture. Caitlin was fantastic from the beginning. She offered more than just the acupuncture treatments (which were excellent and very relaxing). Caitlin and her colleague, Rachael, offered space to talk, very helpful advice, support and perspective when I was struggling to stay positive. I had 8 acupuncture treatments which I feel helped prepare me better both mentally and physically for pregnancy. A month or so after my last treatment I discovered I was pregnant, after 8 months of trying. It’s still early days but I’m delighted and grateful to Caitlin and Rachael for the support they gave me.

Kim

I came to Caitlin around a year ago after being recommended by a friend and as I was due to start my third cycle of IVF. I knew that Caitlin specialised in acupuncture for fertility and thought it was worth trying. I straight away noticed a difference after the first couple of sessions and therefore continued throughout my IVF cycle. I am thrilled to say that I am one week away from giving birth and honestly believe that Caitlin has made a huge difference in the treatment being successful for me and my husband. It has been wonderful to share such a personal experience with Caitlin and I thank her from the bottom of my heart for listening, caring, and helping us achieve our dream!!!!

Tina

I want to thank you for all your care, help and support during my IVF journey. I truly believe that a combination of the acupuncture, relaxing environment and a listening ear went a long way towards the treatment working first time. You are such a warm and caring person and this really put me at my ease despite a slight fear of needles. And many thanks for putting up with my emotional outbursts. I’m now 14 weeks and all is going well. I felt so much better after stopping the hormones which was a relief. Everything looked great at the 12 week scan so I’m beginning to relax a little. Thank you so much again and I hope to see you later in the pregnancy.

Casey

I came to Caitlin in Summer 2011 after trying to get pregnant with my second child for two long years. She immediately made me feel at ease and is not only a truly gifted acupuncturist but extremely supportive on top of that. After my first session I slept better than I had in a very long time. Within weeks the chronic hayfever I was suffering from had completely gone and I generally felt more able to deal with what was happening. Just before christmas we were finally referred to a fertility clinic, and our appointment was booked for December 28th. I found out on December 19th that I was pregnant. I have no doubt that Caitlin’s talents played a big part in finally conceiving. I continued to see Caitlin until week 8 of my pregnancy, which I feel really staved off the morning sickness, alleviated my almost constant migraines and kept me calm, enabling me to enjoy the early stages much more than I’d expected to. We had our second healthy and happy (and generously proportioned!) baby boy last August, and would not hestitate to go back to Caitlin again for all manner of ailments. We can’t recommend her enough, she’s fantastic!

Leigh

What can I say Caitlin is both skilled in acupuncture and has a lovely warm energy. I would like to thank her so much for the treatments I received during my pregnancy. Also for the emotional space she provided that enabled me to process the unfolding events. She was both supportive and positive when at 38 weeks it was discovered our baby was in a breech position and a manual ecv was unsuccessful. We continued with the acupuncture treatments and moxibustion at home and went for another ecv at 39+6 and our 9lb 9 baby boy turned heads down. We then went on to have the perfect homebirth we had originally planned for our family. I have no doubt that the treatments Caitlin provided were a key part in helping my baby turn. Thank you.

Gill

After seeing Caitlin for acupuncture prior to becoming pregnant, I opted to continue with treatment for the first trimester. Almost immediately after discovering I was pregnant (actually even before I had a positive test), I developed nausea – not ‘morning sickness’ but full-on ‘all-day’ sickness. I lost my appetite (not good when you’re supposed to be eating a healthy diet for two), just the thought of eating would make me want to vomit, and even simple tasks like brushing my teeth would result in my being sick.This left me feeling drained, lacking in energy and miserable. I told Caitlin about my symptoms and she examined my tongue and pulse, and then explained where she would put the needles and why. Following treatment, the nausea would subside, I was able to eat and had more energy. The results of my treatment lasted up to two days. Now I am approaching my third trimester, the sickness has eased, but I continue to have treatments every three to four weeks and have booked in extra on those days when the nausea had returned. I will definitely have treatments from Caitlin with any future pregnancies as I found it was the only thing that helped.

Abbie

After doing some research online, I started seeing Caitlin in January 2008 for fertility related acupuncture and after a couple of treatments found out I was pregnant. This was the first thing I had to thank Caitlin for.

I now have a beautiful one year old daughter but unfortunately have suffered with post natal depression since the birth. It took 10 long months for me to be diagnosed and during that time I honestly thought there was something ‘wrong with me’ as I didn’t feel about my child as all the other mums claimed to feel about theirs. To let you in on a secret – some days I thought that my daughter had ruined my life to such an extent that it wasn’t worth living anymore. At the time I thought I was a despicable person for thinking such a thing but didn’t realise I was ill.

Due to my reluctance to take anti depressants, I contacted Caitlin 2 months ago as I didn’t know where else to turn and couldn’t continue feeling as I did. I was over the moon to find out that I was ill because it meant there was light at the end of the tunnel and that one day I would enjoy life again and look forward to things.

Caitlin has been fantastic. Her understanding and empathy is limitless and she made me feel ‘normal’ regardless of what I told her. The acupuncture seems to have worked wonders because I now feel like my old self and am enjoying life again. That’s not to say that there weren’t any moments of sheer despair along the way but on days like that I was able to ring Caitlin and go for additional treatment at short notice. This is the second thing I have to thank Caitlin for.

I genuinely don’t believe that I would have conceived without Caitlin’s help or that I would have overcome my post natal depression so successfully in such a short space of time. Thank you so much – I really appreciate everything you’ve done for me.

Emma

Emma was a 33 year old woman who had a healthy three year old son. She had been trying for a desperately wanted second child for two years before she came for acupuncture. Emma was very anxious about wanting to conceive. Other people had told her she should feel grateful for already having a son but she knew that her family felt incomplete and for Emma, having a second child was just as important as having the first.

Her GP had referred her to a specialist but in the meantime we began acupuncture treatment. When Emma saw the specialist she was told that the likelihood of her conceiving naturally was low as her FSH was on the high side at 9 and her husband’s sperm had low motility. She was referred for IVF. Emma was devastated and disappointed in the treatment options available to her. However after a further six acupuncture sessions (a total of 13) she discovered she was pregnant. Emma now has a second son and feels the family she always dreamed of is now complete.

Helen

I started to visit Caitlin after I suffered a series of early miscarriages. Although I was referred to a hospital for tests, doctors could not find a reason for my pregnancy losses. I had heard that acupuncture might help so I chose to visit Caitlin on the recommendation of a friend, but also because she showed great understanding of conception, pregnancy and labour.

Shortly after my treatment began I fell pregnant again. Naturally I was very anxious and Caitlin was extremely supportive before, during and after my pregnancy. I even used acupressure to relieve my labour pains!

I now have a beautiful baby daughter and would definitely visit Caitlin again in future pregnancies.

Sarah

Sarah is a 41 year old proud mum of baby Hugo, born through IVF.

Thank you so much Caitlin for all your support throughout the IVF process and pregnancy. We have a beautiful baby boy – a dream come true. We will always be thankful for your skill and dedication.

Sarah had been trying to conceive for three years prior to her first IVF. She was diagnosed with endometriosis and ovarian cysts were later found during surgery and one ovary was removed. Her first attempt at IVF and a frozen embryo transfer (FET) were unsuccessful. In the fresh IVF cycle she produced good numbers of follicles and had a good fertilization rate but did not become pregnant. In the FET her pregnancy test showed a faint positive but subsequently became negative. She was fortunate to have a 2nd FET and used acupuncture to support her prior to embryo transfer, building a good uterine lining. This FET resulted in pregnancy and 9 months later a 10.10lb healthy happy baby boy was born!

Sarah continued to access acupuncture to support her during her pregnancy. Initially treatment helped to sustain the pregnancy in the first trimester. Women pregnant through IVF and other fertility interventions can have an increased risk of miscarriage. Acupuncture can help you to stay relaxed and we seek to keep the uterus calm and the foetus in tact. She had treatment for occasional headaches, neck pain and other muscular skeletal aches and pains. Sarah then accessed weekly acupuncture between 36-40 weeks to help her body prepare for labour. Research suggests this can help to reduce interventions at birth and lead to a slightly shorter labour and fewer post-natal complications.

Sally

Sally got pregnant through IVF after three embryo transfers.

It must have been the acupuncture. It was the only thing that was different. It really helped me to chill out. Even people at work noticed when I’d been for my needles and said how relaxed I was.

Sally came to see me having been trying to conceive for four years. She and her partner had a diagnosis of ‘unexplained infertility’ and she found not having an explanation for her infertility particularly frustrating.

Sally was 32 and had been able to freeze embryos at her first IVF attempt but her Frozen Embryo Transfer had also been unsuccessful. Her consultant had suggested she try acupuncture to support her next cycle and she began to have treatment in preparation for this 6 weeks prior to taking IVF medication. Sally’s periods had been irregular since her first IVF cycle and this made it difficult to plan for her next IVF.

With the support of acupuncture in regulating the menstrual cycle, Sally’s period arrived on time and she commenced treatment. Acupuncture supported her through stimulation of the follicles and to build a good uterus lining. Zita West suggests to aim for a uterus lining of 9-10mm. Leeds General Infirmary like it to be 7mm minimum. Sally’s was 13mm by the time of egg collection.

Sally also had acupuncture before and after her embryo transfer and was able to report two weeks later that she was pregnant.

Liz

Liz has had twins following fifth IVF cycle. She says:

I felt that Caitlin listened to me. She saw me as a whole person, if that makes sense, and not just a woman who couldn’t produce. She gave me time to tell my story. Sometimes I felt that the only time I had for myself and for really telling someone how I felt was in those sessions.

36 year-old Liz had a diagnosis of mild Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and an irregular cycle. Her partner’s sperm count was low in volume and mobility. She had experienced Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) in previous IVF cycles, having to be monitored after producing too many follicles. Women with PCOS have to be monitored carefully as they can be more susceptible to this after taking stimulation drugs as part of IVF.”

Liz and Paul had ICSI due to his sperm count but had never received a positive pregnancy test. After five years of trying to conceive and four previous IVF’s Liz was starting to feel that she was nearing the ‘end of the line’. She did not know how much more fertility treatment she could manage, physically and emotionally. She felt she had spent her 30’s concentrating on trying to have a baby, watching friends and family have children and putting her own life on hold, always waiting for the next drugs, the next test, the next IVF.

Liz had acupuncture each week for 13 weeks before her fifth IVF. This helped to regulate her menstruation, replenish her energy and prepare her body for more IVF, which is very taxing on the body. It is a good idea to have at least 2-3 months between cycles to allow the body to recover if possible. She continued with regular acupuncture during her treatment and the acupuncture helped counteract some of the side effects she felt from the drugs she was taking such as headaches.

Liz rang me to say she was stunned as she was pregnant then two weeks later at her four week scan called to tell me she was even more stunned as the scan showed she was pregnant with twins.

Liz safely delivered the twin girls by caesarean section at 37 weeks and all are doing well. She feels she has now completed her family.

Clare

A year ago I came to see you for the first time and I was a real mess: a year on and I feel great and so blessed to have our gorgeous little Lily. She is one week old and doing really well and the three of us are so happy.

Claire

Meeting Caitlin was one of the best things that happened to me in 2007 and actually the other best things all have to do with her too.

In December 2005 I decided to stop taking the pill because my husband and I were thinking of having a baby and I wanted my body to clear itself of all these synthetic hormones before trying to conceive. Unfortunately, after I stopped taking it, no more periods came and a year and a half of worry, doubts, questions without answers and loss of confidence started.

I supposed the first couple of months were all right. I was trying to reassure myself thinking that amenorrhea happens to a lot of women after stopping the pill and I tried to be positive thinking that they would come back soon. On the third month I went to the GP who said that there was nothing worrying and that I just had to wait. She said that if after six months nothing had happened to come back and that we would do some tests.

When I went to see her again in May, I was a complete mess. My periods had not come back and I was thinking that they never would. I had put on 7 kilos while eating like a bird, walking to work and running back and I kept crying. We did some blood test and it came out that I had an under active thyroid which caused me to put on weight and feel really low and which might be, according to the GP, responsible for my now secondary amenorrhea. After we found the right adjustment for the thyroxin dose I started to lose weight and to feel better but my periods were still not back.

Over the summer my husband and I had a six-week holiday in New Zealand, which was great because it really changed my mind. I was hoping that having a relaxing holiday, walking and not thinking about anything stressful would bring my periods back but still nothing happened.

At October half-term we went back home to France where I had an appointment with my gynaecologist. She did a scan and saw a lot of follicles which had not matured into ovules and she quickly mentioned polycystic ovaries. She did not explain what it was, or tell me if it was really what I had or if it was serious. She did however give me a progesterone treatment which was supposed to kick off my periods and reset my system.

After four months of treatment, no periods and seven extra kilos I decided to stop. I again felt extremely low because the weight I had previously put on and then lost due to my thyroid problem had piled back on and it made me feel a failure.

The GP eventually referred me to a gynaecologist at the hospital but that was a waste of time. Apart from telling me that my levels of hormones were normal and that I had to exercise it did not help whatsoever. I felt very offended by his recommendation about exercising. I was trying my best by cycling to school and doing some classes at the gym and yet it seemed not good enough. I felt judged, not helped at all.

At the end of January 2007 I told one of my friends that my periods were still not back and that I felt dreadful. She recommended that I went to see her acupuncturist who she said was great: kind, reassuring, understanding and efficient. So I eventually rang to make an appointment which was on Valentine’s Day! It might have been a sign of what happened to my husband and me a few months later.

I will always remember this first appointment because for the first time I was telling someone how I genuinely felt: I could not recognise myself anymore; it was another Claire, a very sad and damaged me that Caitlin had in front of her. At the end of the treatment tears were rolling on my cheeks because some of the tension had been freed. On that night I slept like a baby all night long without waking up; it had not happened for a long time and it was so refreshing and relaxing.

In a few sessions Caitlin helped me to become Claire again and on the 3rd of March I had my period. It felt so surreal but so wonderful and relieving! My body was living again! We carried on with the sessions and on the 19th of April I had another period. After that my husband and I decided that it was time to start trying to conceive because we were scared that this opportunity would not come back. In May I did not have a period. There could be two explanations. My hormones had gone wrong again or I was pregnant. I decided to wait to do the test until my cycle was more than 50 days because the previous one had been a very long one.

On the 31st of May at 4am I could not sleep and I decided to do the test. I had a feeling that it would be positive. I strongly felt that it would be. Whilst waiting for the result I was trying to bear in mind that it could be negative. Sometimes you want so much for something to happen that you feel like it is happening; but I was right, it was really happening; I was pregnant! I went back to bed and tried not to tell my husband at that time because I wanted him to really understand what I was telling him. But after turning round and round for an hour without sleeping I could not keep it from him anymore. I woke him up and told him “I am pregnant!”

Of course I carried on the sessions with Caitlin afterwards. She helped the baby to stay and she helped me with the little problems that pregnancy brings along. I am now 28 weeks pregnant and I can’t wait to meet our baby. Although I am scared of actually giving birth, I am sure that Caitlin will do all she can to help me with that and on the day my husband will be there as he has always been to help, support and comfort me.

Thank you ever so much Caitlin for making all this possible. Thank you for helping me sort out my life by healing my body and mind and thank you for helping us create another life.

Allison

I initially contacted Caitlin as I had been trying to conceive my second child for 15 months with no success. I had been seeing a consultant who is highly experienced in the fertility field and he basically told us we had unexplained infertility. My first child took three years to conceive, again we were diagnosed with unexplained fertility, I felt the years were passing me by and I felt I just couldn’t ”leave it to nature and see what happens”.

I’d read quite a lot about acupuncture to increase fertility in my collection of books I had acquired. I thought to myself, what have I got to lose, its worth a try, as basically this was my last resort before embarking on IVF.

On the initial consultation I was very nervous because I have a fear of needles. After chatting to Caitlin for a while I started to feel more relaxed and comfortable. She said she would see how I reacted to a small number of needles. I honestly didn’t even feel the needles being put in.  I was then left to relax on the couch with relaxing music and an interesting light to look at on the ceiling which again I found very relaxing. After my first session I felt a feeling of positive energy throughout my body and a complete feeling of lightness – almost like walking on air. This lasted for two weeks. I had two further sessions with Caitlin and low and behold, I fell pregnant!

I am now 13 weeks into my pregnancy and can’t praise Caitlin’s services enough. In fact I’ve recommended her to a couple of my friends who are trying to conceive at the moment. I truly believe that without Caitlin’s help I would still be on the stressful journey of trying to conceive. I think the extra relaxation I felt after the sessions and the general re-balancing of my hormones the acupuncture provided has been the key to success for myself. Thanks a lot Caitlin!