BRANDY'S STORY


I found the announcement for the Mind/Body Program at just the right time for me. My husband and I had both recently been diagnosed with infertility problems: polycystic ovaries for me, and a low sperm count for him. My gynecologist referred us to a reproductive endocrinologist, who told us that IVF with ICSI was our only hope. I couldn't believe that I would be unable to get pregnant without using these "high-tech" procedures.

I was at a really low point, sitting in the doctor's office by myself, waiting for an ultrasound, when I saw the announcement for this program to help women manage the stress associated with infertility. I felt badly about asking my husband, because all of our medical expenses for infertility diagnosis and treatment were out-of-pocket and it was a struggle for us. But he said he thought I really needed the tools to cope with my emotions and encouraged me to go.

When I look back, I can't believe I was such a "mess" before this program. At my initial session with Susan, I was crying so much I could barely complete the paperwork. I didn't know anyone else with infertility and I felt so alone. At the first group session, it was wonderful seeing that the other women were so "normal"... people who, even though their stories were different than mine, shared exactly the same feelings.

I went into that first session really nervous, but left believing I was in a place that could help me. I left very different than when I came in. Before, I cried every day, usually several times a day; after just that first session, I cried only infrequently and felt less lonely and isolated. Another change for me was that I didn't want anyone to know about my infertility; I wouldn't talk to anyone about it. After being in the program, I was more open about my experiences and began to meet others outside of our group with whom I could share my feelings.

Each session gave me different tools to use. For example, I used the relaxation techniques during my doctor's appointments and especially when I was having procedures done. Being able to relax and take better care of myself helped my marriage, too. Even though our relationship was really good, infertility had put a strain on it. The session with our partners helped my husband understand better what I was going through, and also allowed him to open up about his feelings and share those with me. We became a lot closer.

At the end of the program, I had an IVF that was successful, and am now 22 weeks pregnant. I had thought when I got that positive pregnancy test, that would be the end of my roller coaster, but, I was wrong. I found that I still had quite a bit of anxiety, especially during the first trimester, and I continued to use the techniques I learned in the program . . . they were so helpful.

Another benefit is the support from the group, most of the women in our group continue to get together once a month, and frequently talk and email each other between those meetings. We share our joys and our sorrows, our successes and our disappointments. I have a wonderful new group of friends!