The Tinkerbell Effect
I'm not hearing a whole lot of clapping. But I just discovered today that I do still believe in Tink, and when the audience isn't clapping, Tink and I don't do so well.
You see, I went back to the fertility acupuncturist (hereafter known as Zen) today. On the way there I was still riding along on the wave of the generally positive vibe I've had ever since the inseminations, even despite the confusing HPTs and negative (but early) beta. Cait and I both hoped that when Zen treated me, she would have something encouraging to say as Cait's acu (whom we'll call Bliss) had done earlier in the week, when she told Cait, "You can start talking to that baby now."
Unfortunately, things didn't go exactly as desired (how shocking!). In our opening discussion, Zen chided me -- gently -- for the early HPTs. She seemed rather uninterested in my intuition that the insem had gone well (which I thought odd for a practitioner of Eastern medicine) but thought it was still quite possible for me to get a positive beta in a few days.
Once I got on the table, though, the outlook grew dimmer and dimmer. Zen took my pulses and dispassionately reported, "It's not totally clear, but yours don't feel like pregnant pulses. But you never know." At this, my spirits wavered, though I tried not to look dismayed. When she moved to my right side, she commented. "Sometimes the signs all seem right for pregnancy, or you have a feeling that you're pregnant but it just doesn't take." As she began to speak, I groaned mentally, thinking, "Oh god, now she's gving the consolation speech. That's not a good sign." She continued, "It's sort of like the body is doing a trial run and doesn't quite make it. But time and time again, the cycle after that is the one that works." My dismay took on a bitter edge as I thought to myself, "If this is a trial run, it's our THIRD trial run. I want the goddamn medal!"
Zen continued to follow her circuit from side to side around the table, checking and re-checking pulses, and administering needles. Several times she reported with enthusiasm that my pulses responded very well to treatment. At the end of the treatment, she felt my wrists one final time and said, "You could be pregnant, but I just don't think this is it."
Each of these pronouncements was delivered in a nearly expressionless, matter-of-fact tone which gave the impression that she had absolutely no idea how devastating her words might be. She wasn't patronizing, cold, or dismissive, but there was surprisingly little compassion in evidence. I find this utterly bizarre as Zen SPECIALIZES in acupuncture for fertility issues. Even Bliss, the non-specialist acupuncturist whom I used to see -- and who was scared to treat me when I might be or was pregnant (and perhaps she was right, as that was the ill-fated Pregnancy of Too Many Chromosomes) -- would have had the common sense to know that telling a fertility-challenged woman she might not be pregnant might just be a wee bit distressing. I have a feeling that even though Zen has treated many women desperate to be pregnant, she hasn't been on the other side of the needle, at least for this issue.
I left the office nearly despondent. Oddly, the treatment HAD been relaxing for my body, but my brain and my heart felt like wet tissue draped over my limp body. When I called Cait to report the distressing appointment, I realized as I spoke that her lack of faith was harder for me to take than the cold, scientific data of the negative beta, and it had nearly smothered the gentle glow of intuition and calm I've been holding inside for the past two weeks. "It's like Tinkerbell," I told Cait. "When nobody believes, it dies. And if it dies, somehow I will feel like it's my fault because I didn't believe enough. Like I could have been pregnant if I just trusted myself enough, but since I didn't, I wasn't."
Ironically, I don't think I'm upset because I'm not pregnant (though if that comes to pass, I surely will be). We still don't know for sure what the outcome of this cycle will be. No, I'm irritated and sad that my hopes were assaulted. And I know that I can choose to hang on to my hope; that I don't have to stop believing just because of what Zen said. Nor did I want her to lie to me or give me false hope. But part of why I seek out acupuncture is that it is holistic, and seeks to help my body AND my spirit. The same opinion, delivered with a bit more feeling and sensitivity, might not have been so hard to swallow.
At any rate, I am trying to believe, and hang on until we know for sure one way or another, but a lot of the calm hopefulness has slipped away. So clap if you believe. Clap for Tinkerbell. Clap for me. Clap for the baby that just might, might be.