He said, she said...what now?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Yesterday I met 1-on-1 with the psychologist that leads up the infertility/loss sessions that I am going to.  I filled out a bunch of paperwork regarding my medical situation as well and my 'mental' situation.  This session with the psychologist was just for her to get a baseline read on where I was in the whole infertility process and have her assess how much I might need to adapt.  We went through things such as how long I have been TTC, my loss history, what doctor I am seeing, what meds/supplements I am on, what I am eating, and how much I am exercising.  In the exercise section, I wrote 4-5 times a week of running/cardio plus some light weights for 45 minutes to an hour plus one, sixty minute, vinyasa yoga session a week.  As soon as we got to the exercise section, I knew there was an issue.  She shook her head and said, "You aren't going to like this, but you will need to cut out the running."

I was pretty shocked because I had asked my RE about running several months back and she told me there was no issue with it at the level that I was currently running.  Also, my acupuncturist said I should continue running at the same levels.   I told the psychologist this and she said that if I want to maximize the results of my current medical treatment and the program, that I need to stop doing any type of activity that causes my heart rate to exceed 110 bpm.  She even told me that vinyasa yoga was considered a no no during this fragile TTC time and switch to hatha (old people's gentle yoga).  Now I can remember my OB telling me to not get my heart rate above 140 when I was pregnant and that makes sense, but under 110 when trying to get pregnant?  Really? 

She could see that I was fairly distressed about this.  Exercise is one of the only things that helps keeps me sane.  I have already cut back on my running immensely.  I asked her why I needed to keep my heart rate so low and she mentioned that it was best to keep my body under the least amount of stress possible (good or bad apparently).  She said it was just temporary and if I wanted the program to help me get pregnant then I should listen.  She also told me to stop eating any fat-free dairy products and move to either low or full fat versions.  More good news.  I hate higher fat versions of anything.

After being diagnosed as an exercise addict and a having a high-fat aversion, the psychologist decided to lay one more on me.  She said she felt that I had low level depression brought about by infertility based on my answers to other items in the questionnaire.  She told me that most of the session participants had at least a low level of depression like myself and that this was normal under the circumstances.  I have never been depressed in my life (except for right after my Dad died). 

When I got home I felt just wonderful about myself.  I called my husband and told him I was going to take the dog for a walk since the psychologist told me to stop running.  I could tell my husband was peeved by this.  He thinks I am crazy for doing all of this stuff: the RE, the acupuncturist, the special diets, the supplements, the therapist, the infertility/loss sessions, and the general obsession with this whole process.  He thinks I should just go back to my normal self.  That normal self was able to get pregnant with no issues.  This hyper-aware and proactive self is having trouble.  What gives? 

So now I am left with walking and whole milk.  How boring and yuck.  Should I listen to this advice or keep on doing my thing?  I am so confused.  Anyone have a happy pill I could take?  Or better yet, a pill that will make me pregnant right now?  Can someone please invent that?!

Me, in my better running days

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8 Responses to “He said, she said...what now?”

  1. I was also told to stop running. I know other people (normal non IF people) who get pregnant no issues and continue running through their whole pregnancy, but for us IF folks, I was told "don't break a sweat." I did a LOT of long walks with the dog and that helped keep my energy level at bay and give me some type of exercise.

    But my exercise for the last year and a half has been bonkers. I can exercise pre cycle, not during cycle and not after cycle because of enlarged ovaries. So I start and stop so sporadically my body feels crazy. Once I graduate - i.e., 13/14 weeks, I'll probably start doing some type of exercise again, but until then - I'm taking it easy.

    My 2 cents and what I was told. xoxo

  2. I am not an exerciser.. Sadly I don't think I could run unless I'm being chased by a large bear.

    But whole milk - oh lawdy, I think I just vomited in my mouth.

    Hmmm... maybe you could try replacing some of the 'higher stress' stuff with some lower stress stuff, see if you can get on board with it? But honestly if you try it for a couple of months and it makes you feel bonkers I'd just tell her it's causing more stress.

    I wouldn't be too worried about the low level depression thing - this shit is depressing. My dad died too - that shit was depressing. Now I'm going through this, also depressing. Even if you're handling this sort of thing awesomely, I can't imagine anyone not having a low level of depression.

  3. I'm totally skeptical that a psychologist can offer valid recommendations concerning exercise and infertility. At minimum I would request the case studies or randomized trials that looked at exercise and heart rate and the effects on fertility. Super skeptical! Of course, we all have our biases and here's mine: I have PCOS and exercising similar to the rate you described above has been the only thing that has begun to crack the grip that PCOS has on my body. I can only hope that it translates to egg health.

    So, I'm totally skeptical that this PhD, not even an MD(!), can make such claims with great accuracy or knowledge.

  4. I've never heard about the running, but I guess it couldn't hurt to give it a go maybe? I don't know about you but sometimes if I change something, even if it's daft, at least I have hope for a few months that maybe that'll be it. Poor husbands they worry about us so! But I'm glad for you as your husband sounds like he has your happiness in his heart, and he probably thinks so highly of you that he can't understand you needing 'help', you certainly come across as very capable! The whole dairy thing I've heard, I flip flop on this one and I'm still not sure there weren't other factors at work in the study (I *believe* it found a correlation between high fat dairy consumption and fertility, but that doesn't necessarily mean a cause and effect). Coincidence or design, I hope the programme works for you!

  5. Count me in as a skeptic when it comes to psychologists handing out exercise or fertility advice. At the least find out where she got her info, what does the research say? What are her sources? Your RE would be the most knowledgeable about what amount of exercise may affect your conception chances. Also, exercise helps immensely with depression and sleep, so it makes no sense to me for her to tell you to limit even yoga, whatever the form. This just sounds strange and I would definitely get some other opinions about it before you put it into practice.

  6. Hey! New to your blog, but perfect timing. I am a runner. Big time. Daily long runs. It's my meditation and helps me stay sane. But, I toned it down a lot .... almost to nothing in preparation for my current IVF cycle. I too have done all of the things you are doing (counseling, acupuncture, herbs, yoga), but giving up running was the hardest part. My doc said running is ok as long as I kept it to 30 minutes. If no running was more stressful than some running, what's the point? You should check in with your RE and find a happy middle ground. Walking and hiking just doesn't cut it, but I did find some peace in vinyasa yoga. Yin Yoga was also really relaxing and is great for the nervous system. I didn't get a great workout, but I realized I had to train for baby rather than a race. I'm happy to chat over email as this was a huge issue for me. Oh, and no shit you have a low level depression. Infertility sucks! It's awful! Wouldn't that make anyone depressed. =-)

  7. Running is such a stress reliever for me. I already stopped running during the 2ww and that kills me. When I go out walking I say im fake exercising. Only you can make that decision but for me stopping would do more harm than good.

  8. I think this lady is cray cray... And also, her comment if you want to get pregnant, listen to me... Uhhh.... Is she personally offering you a gaurantee that you will get pregnant? I highly doubt that.

    Also, sounds weird to me that a psychologist is telling you you are depressed yet also telling you to stop excercising, when excercising is clinically proven to help combat depression.

    I personally don't see how it's healthy to essentially tell a person that is coming to you telling you that they are having a difficult time dealing withbeing consumed with infertilty to stop all other healthy habits and become more obsessed with infertility.

    Just sit and rest your ovaries? Until when? I mean come on, at some point, we just need to find a way to start living again. This is all so hard, and there is so much conflicting information.

    As for her comment about eating more healthy fats. I do believe this to be true. As a psycho scientist who has looked up every document known to man... The eggs your body produce end up sustaining the embryo until implantation. Healthy fats and megadoses of antioxidants are extremely beneficial to the health of the embryo during that time period, as it's essentially feeding off itself.
    I hope I didn't overstep here. Wishing you the very best! :)