I’ve mentioned before that doc is a holistic gynecologist. This means she’s concerned about more than just what she finds on an ultrasound. She asks questions about my stress levels, eating habits, exercise patterns, and just about anything else she can come up with. She also sent me to an acupuncturist. He’s great…so great that I don’t even mind being his personal pin cushion. He kinda reminds me of that guy who played the trombone in the high school band – you know, the one who was SUPER passionate about the trombone? That’s him. He trained in China and worked in the pharmacy of a chinese hospital; so he’s also big on chinese medicine, which is based largely on herbs.
I recently went for an acupuncture treatment and my needle doc said, “Hey – how’s about some herbs to reduce your stress and improve your ovulatory function??” It was then I remembered our first appointment, where he had mentioned how helpful these herbal concoctions might be. After my treatment I went into his office where he had set up a tea service. A very smelly tea service. Next to the tea service was a plastic bag containing pouches of brown liquid. (I find it both unintentionally racist and completely vital to include the following detail: the plastic bag in question is the generic kind with the smiley face…you know…the one that usually carries your mongolian beef and crab rangoon? I’m still laughing at that, with apologies to all those I’ve offended.)
Needle doc smiled: “Down the hatch!” Then he said something in chinese, as if that would somehow make the tea taste better, and we drank. I smiled back, told him I’d tasted worse (remind me to tell you about the honey badger’s shrimp pasta casserole sometime), and agreed to drink a pouch 3 times a day until we know I’m pregnant. I took a cursory look at the pouches and went home without realizing that he didn’t tell me what’s in them. I also failed to notice that the writing on the pouches is entirely in chinese, save the “made in Los Angeles” stamp.
I have spent the time since this appointment coming up with different ways to describe the odor and flavor of my new cocktail. I’ve found words (liquid ass; herbs-dirt-n-shit; hot molten sludge), but none seems to really do it justice. And most are probably hyperbole anyway. All I can say is that both the tea and everything I eat or drink for an hour following the tea, tastes…brown. The first day I drank them I actually chased someone around my office just to force him to take a whiff. (Sorry about that, btw.) If you were standing within a 2-mile radius of me when I had to drink, you were forced to endure the sniff test. I’ve since grown up about it just a tiny bit and now just chug them back before each meal, hoping that whatever I’m about to eat will cancel out the taste. (I do still regularly/childishly offer MKL a sip. She politely declines.) I made the horrible mistake of trying to figure out what’s in the potion and found that they use some really nasty stuff in these herbal medicines! There’s a reason he let me leave without divulging an ingredient list.
Funny thing about eastern medicine. I really thought it was going to be a whole lotta crap. As it turns out, I’m a bit of an idiot. Gynecology as we know it today has been around for what, a few hundred years? The first documented successful case of human pregnancy resulting from insemination didn’t take place until the 1950’s. In the meantime, billions of people have relied on traditional chinese medicine to treat conditions such as fertility since the 400’s B.C. Who am I to question all those generations of ladies who drank their herbs and let former high school trombonists put needles in them?
I also think these smelly little shots of delight are working. This weekend was really stressful. It was the kind of time that would normally have prompted several consecutive days of crying. And yet I didn’t shed a single tear. Not when we were faced with the idea of spending a mortgage payment on sperm that would never live long enough to fulfill their purpose; not when we sat on pins and needles, waiting for the other egg to drop; and not even when we did the math to figure out that most of Saturday’s specimen was probably a wash…so to speak. I just shrugged my shoulders and sighed. I certainly can’t change things now.
This grown-up, calm reaction is not at all like me. Not at all. Or maybe it is. Maybe the herbs are revealing the truly rational human being inside me who has always been screaming to get out. Hahahahaaaa…yeah, I had a hard time picturing that, too. But if so, great timing – that’ll come in handy when I’m a mom!