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Why am I not flipping out? Musing on "stress".

2005-02-07 - 1:46 p.m.

Today my temperature was up over 98 degrees so if it remains up in that range for another couple of days it will mean I’ve ovulated for this cycle – FINALLY! I’m around day 45 at this point so I’ll be in the running for a tie with last cycle’s record length of 56 days. Note, that’s exactly twice the length a cycle “should” be. Grr.

Of course, this coincides with a week at the gym where I’m on the team releasing the new music for the program I teach, and it’s too late to bow out. This means that I’m slated to do seven classes in the next seven days when I’ll be at the crucial will-it-take-or-won’t-it phase. Anyone know if an hour of strenuous exercise daily for a week affects fertilization/implantation? I know of studies that recommend laying off the exertion when you’re pregnant, but none that say anything about it when you’re trying to become pregnant.

Oh who am I kidding? With my long cycles and short luteal phase, I don’t foresee it making a difference – my odds would already have to be below the normal 20% chance per cycle. Still, I can’t help but keep my fingers crossed.

The next couple of weeks will be extremely busy ones for me, what with the extra classes I’ve picked up this week, plus a business trip on Sunday and Monday and then a conference Tuesday to Thursday next week (right about the time I’ll likely get that “time of the month (or two months, as the case may be),” oh joy, oh bliss). Consider yourselves forewarned that entries might be sporadic. I will, however, try to post some more Hawaii pictures at some point.

I do find I’m wrestling with the whole subject of “stress” these days, as in, “how much stress do you estimate yourself to be under as a result of trying unsuccessfully to conceive?” I know a lot of couples rate stress from that source as “high” and I feel almost guilty that I don’t think I would.

Why don’t I feel super-stressed? Do I not “want” it enough? Am I undeserving of a pregnancy for not freaking out more that it hasn’t happened yet? Or do I, in fact, feel stress but I’m not good at recognizing it?

Sure, there’s a bit of pressure to do the deed whether we both feel in the mood or not, but would I call that stress? I’m not sure. I can only compare it to other times of my life where I would say that I was severely affected by negative things going on, and see if the feelings and external symptoms are similar. Let’s see…

The highest period of stress I can remember was in the late 90s, when a relationship I’d expected to continue forever dissolved under nasty circumstances, I was drinking to the point of hangover every weekend, crying for no reason all the time, and feeling very, very tired and frustrated. I had no job, my expenses doubled when I suddenly found myself living all alone, and I had to have a cervical “pinch biopsy” (as pleasant as it sounds but, fortunately turned out ultimately to be negative). In point of fact, I’d have to say I was beyond “stress” and well into “depression.” I firmly believe that the cervical dysplasia was a physical manifestation of the fact that I was on the verge of totally losing it and doing myself some serious harm.

Now? I have a well-paying and interesting job, live in my own custom home that I had built, and am in a stable relationship with a loving husband whom I’d like to make a father one of these days. Hmm. I can’t say that I feel anything near what I came to consider as “stress”.

During the journey from then to now, there were times I was very, very busy moving my life in a positive direction and a friend asked how I could sleep at night with everything that was on my plate. I believe my answer was something along the lines of,

“I do all that I can during the day, then, at the end of the day, I sleep.”

I think I kind of feel like that now. There’s nothing more J and I can do to ensure that we’re giving ourselves the best odds we can of conceiving – we don’t drink, we eat a balanced diet (including, for me, folic acid supplements), get some exercise and avoid caffeine and things like most medications and artificial sweeteners, in addition to the obvious as often as we can manage (which is, ahem, pretty often if I do say so myself) – so, for now, that has to be enough and I find peace of mind in that.

If we don’t manage things on our own in the next few months, we have an appointment for a clinic consultation in June, and then we might find out what else we can/have to do. At that point our “stress” level might go up a notch, but we’ll make some decisions and go from there.

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