Managing stress through infertility

posted 1 month ago in TTC
Post # 2
Member
2256 posts
Buzzing bee

I’m so sorry, bee.  We had to get workups done too including an SA for my husband and an HSG for me.  We were lucky in that that’s as far as we had to go, but – it’s definitely not easy.  Even my closest family and friends who we shared it with kept saying “Just relax” and I swear to god, it made me murderous.

Have you told your partner that you feel like you’re carrying the burden alone?  I said almost verbatim what you’ve said here to my husband.  Basically: “You see me waking up every morning to take my temperature, I pee on sticks almost daily, and at the slightest twinge/ache/discomfort I think it means something.  THAT IS EXHAUSTING.”  So I told him that honestly, his job was to do whatever I asked of him since it would likely be minimal (ie. being up for sex however many times and on whatever day, and being ok with testing if it came to that).  You say your partner wants this as much as you do so if you explain to him openly and honestly how you’re feeling it will probably help – even if it only makes it feel less heavy for you.

Please know that it is ok to be stressed. What you’re going through is stressful and I found it so unhelpful/counterintuitive for people to tell me to relax, or “it will happen when you least expect it” or any of the other ridiculous bullshit people spout to couples struggling to conceive.  You have a right to feel how you feel and I would recommend thinking about some coping strategies that work for you.  If that means tracking your cycles to a T – do it!  If it means not tracking anything – do it!  Does exercise help with stress management?  (It helped me.)  Try to develop a routine.  And once you do that, it’s honestly just putting one foot in front of the other, even when it seems hard.

You can always come here for support – you got this!!  Sending you all the good vibes in the world. <3 

Post # 3
Member
2909 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: August 2017

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@penguin14:  I definitely understand where you are coming from – we did ivf after 2 years of well-timed TTC and it still took another year of fets in order to get pregnant.  I carried so much weight of our infertility, which I (unhealthily) channeled into researching my specific fertility issue (I also have a doctorate degree so I was reading scientific studies, not just googling).  The financial costs of TTC were also so draining that we basically withdrew socially so we could afford to keep paying oop, and then I even further withdrew from friends who had babies and young children because it was just too painful to be around people who didn’t understand the struggle.

For me I found it helpful to have a plan and actually starting fertility treatments at least made it seem like we were making progress.  It’s not easy though, and for me it got a lot harder as the years went on.

As for your husband, I was definitely in your shoes also.  Wondering why the F he couldn’t just get the SA test done.  Well, it turns out that pretty much every fertility clinic will want to run their own SA (even if one was just done and results were perfect), so I would probably just drop it and have the RE tell him he needs to do it.  It will mean more coming from the doctor than the stressed out wife, and realistically two weeks until your appt won’t change anything (the SA at the RE office often tests more parameters than one your OB would order).  So while it is extremely frustrating that all the tests on the woman are invasive and he just needs to go in a cup… many men find it extremely violating to have to do it (plus a lot are worried that they will in fact find something wrong).  

So I would focus on taking care of each other, do date nights (or at home date nights), plan things together, focus on hobbies (I took up knitting), try to not make it about only infertility.  Figure out what your insurance will cover for treatments, discuss with your husband where you both stand on iui and ivf, work on a list of questions for the RE.  

Post # 5
Member
9341 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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@penguin14:  I’m so sorry. We needed IVF for both our kids so I get it. It’s a super stressful time! Focus on taking care of YOU and your marriage, however that feels right to you. Want to cry and punch a pillow? Do it. Eat a whole pizza and cry at 2am? Rock on sister. Journal or talk to a therapist? Probably the healthier option of the ones I’ve listed. 

I personally coped with a little bit a rage and a little bit of humor. For people who tried to give “helpful” advice like relaxing, using their ovulation app they swear by, essential oils (that they sell for $$$ a bottle through a pyramid scheme, dontcha know) I first made a joke. The second time they got a “no seriously stop it”. And after that? Full. On. Screaming. Rage. I regret nothing.

Post # 6
Member
763 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I personally relied on exercise, therapy and acupuncture throughout our infertility journey. We had a lot of issues conceiving and ultimately gave up and are now purusing adoption. Fertility treatments are not easy and it’s best that you identify ways to relax now as you’re starting the journey. Hopefully you get pregnant quickly, but I wish I’d been more realistic about our journey as it took me two years to stop thinking that any day I could be pregnant. Now I’m just taking everything day by day. 

Couples therapy, even just a few sessions, is a good way to feel heard and understood about what you’re feeling. My husband is amazing in every way, and there were still days I’d get so mad at him for not seeming like he was as invested in having kids as I was. Just today I felt rage that he wasn’t following up with our home study provider as frequently as I would have, even though I outsourced that task to him to handle because it was causing me too much stress and angst. 

Also, do take care of yourself and reach out for help when you need it. I unloaded tasks at work to let myself relax before treatments, and I’ve leaned on my husband for things when I’d normally just do them myself. 

Lastly, it’s important to realize that every day will feel drastically different. Some days I feel amazing and am not sad about not having kids, and other days I’m miserable and stay away from social media so I don’t get all mopey looking at people with their kids. It’s totally normal to be a bit all over the place with your emotions as you go through the process. 

  • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by piscesinsc.
Post # 7
Member
146 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: May 2019 - Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress

Oh OP, I feel you. I of course super naively thought getting pregnant would be super easy–we were 30 when we started, regular periods, neither of us are tobacco smokers, exercise regularly, healthy eaters, no known genetic issues. And yet. Here we are on cycle 19 of timed TTC with no pregnancy.

I had LH/FSH tested. Normal. But that’s as far as my husband will go. His beliefs are 100% against IVF or IUI. He will not go for a SA. Clomid probably out of the question. So. I feel so, so lost. I have faith so I pray but it’s still so damn hard.

I reached out to my gyn for a referral to an RE a week ago but I’m not sure how far that’ll get me on my own. It feels hopeless at times. ETA: And of course my husband had a father of 5 tell him our problem was that I was “too stressed” and making it “too scientific” with OPKs and if I “just relaxed” it’d be fine. I wanted to scream.

  • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by klacey11.
Post # 8
Member
7974 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: October 2013

i have 2 children conceived by IVF.  it was a long stressful journey.  i joined local and online support groups.  surrounding myself with people going through the same thing helped me feel less alone.  resolve, the national infertility association is a great resource.  i was on their message boards and joined a local support group, plus the support group through my RE;s clinic.  i am still friends with many of those that i met in the support groups.

Post # 10
Member
9341 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

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@penguin14:  I’ll add, I don’t think it’s terrible for you to be frustrated with your husband about dragging his feet on the SA. My husband had to do many of them (male factor infertility) and I get that giving yourself a dry handjob in a hospital room is awkward, but it’s nothing compared to shots, hormones, egg retrieval surgery, embryo transfer, more shots, more hormones, and then….if you’re lucky….growing a whole-ass HUMAN from SCRATCH and expelling it from your body only to keep it alive with your boobs while trying to heal yourself. Just jerk off in the cup man. 

Post # 12
Member
650 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: June 2019

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@penguin14:  I totally understand your feeling about the potential mfi. IMO Mfi seems much easier to “treat” than female factor especailly diminished reserve or egg quality issues. I’m not any kind of expert but with borderline results there may be lifestyle changes abs supplements he can take for a few months to improve results. If that doesn’t work, iuis can be effective for mild male factor and are much cheaper than Ivf. 

Post # 13
Member
3888 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: July 2018

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@penguin14:  MFI really can vary. If there is a structural or hormonal cause, that can sometimes be addressed and fixed so natural conception can occur. If the MFI is mild, sometimes IUI can work. Otherwise, if the MFI is relatively significant, IVF is the standard. Sorry you’re going through this. Infertility is the absolute worst. 

Post # 14
Member
1191 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: October 2013

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@penguin14:  Im sorry you are going through this! I can relate…we ended up needing to do fertility treatments as well.  We did 5 iuis all failed but 1 was ectopic and 3 ivf transfers 1st one resulted in a missed miscarrage but the other 2 resulted in my daughter and son! It took us 2 years of fertility treatments to have a baby. So i completly i understand feeling anxious and stressed. I did as well. I actually withdraw a lot from family and friends because no matter how hard they tried they couldnt relate and would usually end up saying things that were unhelpful. We also decided to forgo several vacations because of the financial burden ivf was. 

I was also in your boat feeling like the bulk of fertility stress was on me. Even though DH wanted a baby as well I toook each se back much much harder then he did. Probably bc I was the one having to do all the appointments, injecting myself with hormones  etc.

I did get better with managing my stress. I did acupuncture which really calmed me down and I also did meditation. That helped me calm my anxiety whenever it was at a high!

Other then that eventually I just started enjoying life again. We decided to take smaller less expensive trips, i started to see friends, and family more. It helped a lot but it took me a while to get there. 

Once I had my first baby, I thought doing a transfer to try to have second wouldnt be as stressful and true….it wasnt as stressful but was surprised all the old anxiety it brought back so I had to start my meditation and acupuncure again.

 

I really hope eveything works out for you guys!!! Try to still enjoy your life if you can and dont like fertility issues take up your whole life! I know easier said then done!!

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