Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Is Stress Causing My Infertility?

I finally read the whole folder full of information that my RE gave me.  Wow.  That was a little overwhelming, but very informative!  I feel like I am ready now.  I fell like I know what to much as possible, anyway.  I have learned with the whole infertility journey that you really never know exactly what to expect!  But I do feel much better informed.  

There was one patient fact sheet included in the folder from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine on Stress and Infertility that I thought was very interesting. One question was,
"Is stress causing my infertility?" 
Probably not.  Even though infertility is very stressful, there isn't any proof that stress causes infertility.  In an occasional woman, having too much stress can change her hormones levels and therefore cause the time when she releases an egg to become delayed or not to take place at all.

So, to all of those people who say to just relax and it will happen......there.  I wish it was just that easy.

"Is infertility causing my stress?"
Maybe.  Many women who are being treated for infertility have as much stress as women who have cancer or heart disease.  (WHAAAT?  Wow.  I never really thought about it that way, but I do agree.  I think this requires a post of its own.)  Infertile couples experience stress each month:  first they hope that the woman is pregnant; and if she is not, the couple has to deal with their dissapointment.  
Dealing with the disappointment is most definitely an understatement.  I would use the word devastation, but that is just me.  But yes, I do agree.  Infertile couples do experience stress each month.  I am being totally honest here when I admit that even though I am on BC, I am disappointed when AF comes to visit every month.  I know.  Crazy right?  I can't get pregnant on fertility in the world am I going to get pregnant on birth control.  I know the reality, but it is still disappointing.
"Why is infertility stressful?"
Most couples are used to planning their lives.  They may believe if they work hard at something, they can achieve it.  So when it's hard to get pregnant, they feel as if they don't have control of their bodies or of their goal of becoming parents.  With infertility, no matter how hard you work, it may not be possible to have a baby.  (Wow.  That was hard to read.  Yes I know that no matter how hard I work, I still may not get pregnant, but reality stinks sometimes.  I do have faith that it could happen, but I do know the reality.  But, I will say that I will do everything I can do to get pregnant.  One day, if I never get pregnant, I will have no regrets.  I am willing to do whatever it takes.  That is all I can do.)
Infertility tests and treatments can be physically, emotionally, and financially stressful.  (AMEN)  Infertility can cause a couple to grow apart, which increases stress levels.  Couples may have many doctors appointments for infertility treatment, which can cause them to miss work or other activities.  
I really don't know what I will do one day when I don't have to plan everything around fertility treatments.  I cannot even begin to list the "activities" my husband and I have missed due to fertility treatments.  We are sort of planning a vacation for March 2012.  I say sort of because it all depends on how IVF goes.  

And work.......luckily my husband and I both have VERY understanding bosses who know our situation and really want to see us become parents.  I went to my boss (who is the only person at work who knows that we are doing the fertility treatment thing) the day after my appointment and let her know our plan.  I let her know that it is going to be 8 weeks of the unknown.  I told her I may not know even a day in advance if I will need to miss the next day.  And she says okay.  With no hesitation.  8 weeks of being off work a lot.  And she just says okay.  Wow.  What a blessing.  And it may not seem like a big deal, but I have been doing fertility treatments for all but 7 months of the 6 years I have worked there.  And she has been unbelievably understanding the whole time.  And my husband's boss.....oh my, I love her!  She has been wonderful from the beginning!  As the RE says to my husband, "I really only need you one day."  (Gotta love him!)  But my husband's boss knows that he wants to be involved.  She knows that he does not want to send me 3 hours away by myself for a process that isn't necessarily enjoyable.  And she does everything she can to help work things out where he can go with me as much as possible........which with his job is not always easy. 

So anyway, I just found this sheet to be very interesting and I wanted to share it.

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