In the summer of 2012, my husband and I embarked on the IVF journey; a potentially stressful experience, which is both expensive and emotional, with no guarantee of success. I had read positive research that supported acupuncture in combination with IVF. Because we were spending so much money on IVF, we wanted to do everything we could in our power to help make this work! Having tried acupuncture in the past, I wanted someone who was familiar with fertility issues. Since I was going to PCRM for my IVF treatment, I decided to meet with Dr. Spence Pentland, who is located on the same floor as my fertility clinic.
As soon as I met Spence, I instantly felt calmer. He has this soothing energy around him, and you can’t help but relax by simply being in his presence. This first treatment was a combination of fabulous acupuncture, plus a mini counselling session. I truly felt like Spence understood what I was going through. He was so familiar with the entire IVF process, from the emotions, to the various medications I had to take, and I found this very reassuring. The environment in which Spence has created, helped me relax even more. I listened to some calming music, enjoyed the essential oils of lavender, and was given a heated blanket. I almost fell asleep! I rested for some time, and I honestly felt more relaxed, and even felt more positive.
I have found in the ups and downs of fertility, the only people who truly understand this journey are the ones who have gone through it themselves. Friends around me were getting pregnant so easily, and were quick to say, “Take your mind off it, and it will happen.” To have someone who truly understood the emotions I was going through was a blessing. I looked forward to our chats, and Spence often offered suggestions, such as taking omegas, and going for walks, as ways to help me feel better.
I continued to have acupuncture treatments up to my IVF transfer day. On the day of the transfer, I had a treatment before and after the transfer was done. I feel this really helped because it calmed me down before the transfer, and I also felt relaxed and calm after the transfer. After every acupuncture treatment, I had the best night sleeps! I was often prone to waking up at 3:00 a.m., and my mind would begin to wander, worrying that this might not work. Acupuncture not only relieved my stress during this process, but improved my sleep as well!
Spence would even check in, with the occasional email, just wanting to know how I was doing. I felt like I had a friend who knew the process so well during this journey. The worst part of the IVF I felt was what they call the “two week wait”, wondering if it has worked or not. I had an acupuncture treatment during this time. I remember walking into Spence’s office, and started to cry. I was surprised by my sudden onset of emotions, but Spence logically explained to me, saying that this wait is the worst, because you have no control, and simply have to wait. He understood, and was a good shoulder to cry on. I felt so much better, once again.
We got through the two week wait, and were thrilled to find out that I am indeed pregnant! The IVF worked, and baby is due in the Spring. I know in my heart that a big part of this has to do with the acupuncture, counselling, and friendship that Spence Pentland provided to me. I am forever grateful, and will recommend him to anyone who is going through fertility issues.
I write you hereby a short description of “our story”. I imagine every couple’s story will be different, but still, the doubts and disappointments must be there for everyone, and I would be most glad to encourage those who have lost faith.
In my case, I had fully normal cycles when I was young. I started taking the pill at the age of 22, and only stopped 18 months ago (age 34), when we wished to have a child. While I was rather sure that I would be pregnant soon – both our families are very fertile, we had a healthy lifestyle, etc – nothing happened at all. I mean, I didn’t have any menstruation during several months. My gynaecologist diagnosed a polycystic ovary and prescribed a treatment with Clomid. Without success. I moved on to a fertility specialist, who rather thought that the cause was to be found in a hypothalamic disorder. We tried again with a series of Clomid, and then with a pulsatile gonadotrophin-releasing pump. The treatments were awful. I was either angry and aggressive or mawkish and depressive. I hardly recognized myself. My breasts hurt, the pump was such a hassle and difficult to hide … I hated it, and both my husband and I had the impression we didn’t fully ‘live’. Everything was in function of our desire to conceive.
So then we moved to Vancouver for my husband’s job. The fertility specialist here confirmed a hypothalamic amenorrhea, but suggested that I stopped any treatment for a while and rather concentrated on my life style: fewer sports, an acupuncture treatment, and an appointment with a nutritionist. I tried to reduce long distance running, hiking and cycling (put on some weight and didn’t like it) and went instead to yoga and body ball classes. The nutritionist found that my eating habits were extremely healthy, but we had a very interesting discussion. And then I started a treatment of acupuncture and Chinese herbs at Acubalance. I must admit I was rather skeptical about the whole thing. You lie down on that table for about 45 min with some needles in your body and … just feel nothing. The herbs taste weird and have Chinese writing on their labels that are – of course – fully ununderstandable. Anyway, if it wouldn’t benefit, I thought it wouldn’t harm neither and maybe it would help my body to relax in some way.
That was in November, just two months ago. I felt rather good after the first treatments. Nothing tangible, but it was just nice to be taken care of and not having those hormone treatments for a while. Then, surprisingly, I got a menstruation. My first natural bleeding since a year and a half. I had ovulated while I was on a business trip, so no chance to be pregnant. We still believed it was an exceptional one-time happening and I was already fully prepared to start a new hormone treatment in December. But the echo showed a new mature follicle ready to ovulate… and two weeks later I was pregnant!
Was it the removal to Vancouver and a new environment? Less stress at work? Less endurance sports? The acupuncture and Chinese herbs treatment? A combination of all those factors or a pure coincidence? We will never know, but I strongly believe that the acupuncture played a very crucial role in it. So, Spence, so far you are our biggest hero!
Thank you very much.
I had been through one complete IVF failure: 24 eggs, but nothing to freeze, and no pregnancy. I decided to use acupuncture to support the second attempt at IVF. My husband and I had both felt something was missing from the first treatment, even before we knew it had failed. I am now in the late stages of pregnancy, carrying a set of what appears to be very robust, healthy twins, from two implanted embryos. I also have eighteen great quality embryos in storage, a complete turnaround from the first procedure, after a change of IVF clinic too. I have continued with acupuncture throughout my pregnancy.
I would like to mention how pleasant it has been dealing with Spence. Spence has been very supportive from the start. I believe he is an extremely kind, patient, human being. I mention these qualities as well as his obvious professionalism, for the following reason. Those of us who have been through the numerous doctors, nurses, clinics, “mill” involved in the infertility trail, can feel a little battle worn by the process. We are often treated throughout this with indifference, and like a number. I even asked myself before I tried acupuncture, if I wanted to involve even more professionals in the process. I am obviously glad I did! Spence has an approach and attitude to his work that makes you feel more human again! Something I am very grateful for. This, plus the obvious advantages of acupuncture during my pregnancy!
At one point I came in to see Spence having not slept properly in days, due to back pain. After acupuncture I slept that night for twelve hours! My husband was so happy he went to work telling everyone I had had acupuncture, and now HE could sleep! He even ASKED me after that when I was going back!
I would say to anyone preparing to go through the IVF process, that not only may acupuncture be an important factor in the success of the treatment, but his helpful, friendly attitude. He is also very consistent in this attitude, which is so reassuring. He always has a warm, welcoming smile!!!
I would not hesitate to recommend Spence. I would like to thank him for the high quality care I received, and so would my twins!! Thank you so much Spence!
Natalie soothes your mind and body with her calming energy and healing hands. I look forward to my massage every month! She is amazing! 🙂
I can’t say enough about how great it was to be able to have my transfer day acupuncture completed on site at PCRM. The environment created was so soothing that I was really able to relax and clear my head. I loved having the scented eye mask and listening to relaxing music with headphones to block out any noise. It was an added benefit that I was able to send Spence a quick e-mail when I was given my transfer date and I didn’t have to worry about booking additional appointments. It was a wonderful experience and I would recommend this to anyone going through IVF. I only wish I had a comparable Acupuncturist in in my home city!
I started receiving massages from Natalie in my second trimester and continued to see her every other week throughout the rest of my pregnancy. She was so good and helpful that I upgraded to weekly massages. Natalie took time to assess my body and its changes and ask about areas of concern that needed attention for that session. Each treatment, she worked on my entire body, while focusing special attention and time to the tender areas, so I always left feelings thoroughly satisfied (but wanting more!). She checks in to make sure the pressure is the right fit your comfort and uses enough force to alleviate the sore areas. Her energy is calming, therapeutic, and warm, and she carries herself with the utmost professionalism.
An hour with Natalie is something everyone needs in their life, to alleviate stress, focus on self-care, and relax. Natalie is not only an excellent RMT, she is a genuinely good person. This contributes to her competency and credibility as an RMT – she is a role model for self-care, healthy living, and loving your body. Thank you, Natalie, for making my pregnancy more comfortable. Each treatment caused my life and daily functioning to be so much better!
I was experiencing unexplained pelvic and lower back pain, for which my doctor referred me to a specialist…thinking it might be endometriosis. Dissatisfied that I would have to wait several months for an appointment and might only have surgery as an option, I went searching for alternative treatment. I came across Yinstill in my search and their response was immediate. I started acupuncture treatment with Dr Fisher, along with his suggestion of Chinese medicine and within two weeks my pain was barely noticeable. After months of suffering, I finally felt like myself again. And within a month of regular treatment, I was pregnant with my second child! I continued with prenatal treatment and plan to return in the postpartum phase. The support I received throughout my treatment was amazing! I would recommend Dr Fisher and Yinstill to anyone!!
Thanks for being an awesome Dr… You always take the time to listen to my concerns. It’s worth the drive from Abby ~ Nina
Sean was wonderful with my care of my needs while I was pregnant and wanting to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy and of course a safe delivery. Thanks for everything Sean. Baby Liv is also grateful! 😉
Sean is an excellent practitioner with a lovely friendly disposition. He always makes you feel lighter with his effortless warmth. I believe he has a true gift for helping to inspire people on a path of holistic wellness in a real and down to earth way. He is very skilled at working with injuries as well, as he helped my partner overcome several long-term sports injuries. I would recommend him to anyone suffering with chronic pain or injury, or those who want to get their health in better balance.
My husband and I went to Yinstill for treatment during our fertility journey (including IUI and IVF). As a physician myself trained in Western medicine, I sought out acupuncture with the mindset that it would enhance our fertility and compliment the fertility clinic treatments. What we found, was a complete surprise; under the care of Dr. Harris Fisher, we were supported in the most wholistic way possible. Dr. Fisher is an extremely kind, astute practitioner and his emotional support was exceedingly valuable. The care he provided was creative and touched all aspects of our lives: sleep, nutrition, exercise, relationships, stress management, work-life balance…and the list goes on. Fertility treatments can be very stressful and can impact many areas of your life; Dr. Fisher was an endless source of positivity, blended perfectly with practicality. Due to his care and the acupuncture, my body physically handled the fertility treatments well, and his over all treatment plan really helped us make our way through. We’ve yet to birth our beautiful little baby, but we are well on our way (second trimester!) and I know that I will continue to access Yinstill’s service for labour prep and for any future needs. The clinic and care you will receive is the most patient-centred, warm, and empathetic I have ever encountered. With gratitude.