Yesterday acupuncture was an unknown to me, today I know what I am in for. The needles were barely noticeable going in but then he hooked up an electrical charge to them so that I was constantly being shocked mildly and left the room. This made it hard to ignore the six needles placed in my legs and hands. I had no idea when he'd be back. I focused on breathing. This is good practice for labor, I told myself over and over in between praying for calm. At last he entered my room and I praised God for salvation from the needles. None came. He flicked the needles a couple times, turned up the voltage, and left again without a word. Oh, the prayers started back up. So did a roundabout discussion with myself about regretting my decision to try this. That just made me more antsy to get off the table, so I went back to breathing, praying, and telling myself this was a good psychological preparation for labor. He came in again, flicked again, turned up again, and left again. I was at a loss. I figured this could not possibly last forever, and that I did trust this kind, old Chinese man. I resolved just to pray. He did come back, removed the needles, did some massage, and sent me on way with an appointment for today.
So today, I pull up preparing myself for what was ahead. I park and listen to the last stanza of an old Irish ballad and walk in taking my seat near the fish.
This time he takes me back into the same little room and lays me down on the table. He lifts my shirt to asses the baby's position and I have this fear that he is going to try to stick a needle into my belly. This does not happen. He does start wiping down more locations than yesterday. There are 10 needles today and two are right inside my eyebrows. This forces me to close my eyes and breath rather than stare at the ceiling feeling like a bug. The starting voltage is lower and I thank God for small favors. He leaves the room. I can hear happy Chinese banter and get nervous every time I hear footsteps coming down the hall - though always entering another room. He finally enters and I prepare myself for the voltage to be upped. This does not happen. He brings in more wires and hooks them up to needles in my hands creating an electrical loop from my legs. This feels less shocking but as he leaves the room and I close my eyes I feel like I am a drift on a calm ocean feeling waves pass through me. Baby Elliot seems to feel them, too, and I almost fall asleep when I wake because of the first English voice I have heard since being here. She's just another patient.
I begin to get nervous about the whole idea of electricity being involved in inducing labor. I start imagining my water breaking on the table and somehow being electrocuted by the volts and the water. I tell myself that there is probably a safety measure against that and then go back to praying that if death by electrical shock while trying to induce labor is God's plan, that I will accept it - and hope that my husband won't be too furious with me.
Dr. Wang comes in a rescues me from the needles and I am expecting the massage. Instead he asks me to stand and place my hands on the table so he can do something to my lower back. This involves four more needles with him constantly twisting or wiggling them. I jump and twitch and try my best to stay still and not cry out too loudly. It's not that painful, per se, but I finally understood the saying "hit a nerve." I realize I will never hear that saying the same way again. I apologize for my jumps and outcries, and he laughs and tells me he knows exactly what I am feeling.
After this comes some massage and a hug as I leave scheduling yet another appointment for Monday, if needed. I manage to pull out the Chinese for "Thank You" much to his delight and receive another hug (my grandmother is from China).
Now I sit at home, my water having broke at 4pm while at the hospital for another series of tests to make sure everything is okay. I type as my contractions strengthen and look forward to introducing Elliot to his Dad on Father's day. I tell myself that the acupuncture adventure was worth it because I can't help but think it is really what pushed me over the edge.