As we get further and further into this pregnancy, I wonder if this is the last time I’ll be pregnant. I know I’ve talked a lot about this – about trying for a third because of our 5 frozen embryos – but as we get closer to bringing this baby home, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll want to try for a third, or if we’ll count our blessings and be done.
Before infertility, I was very active. WE were very active. B and I met via extreme fitness. I’d decided, in a drunken haze on New Year’s Eve 2005 (going into 2006), that I would sign up with a friend to do a 10 week kickboxing and strength building course. I went 6 days a week – many times I did two classes a day – for 10 weeks straight. I ate it up. I lost tons of weight. I lost heaps of body fat. I was FIT. I was strong. I was, for the first time in my adult life, lean.
B taught the kickboxing classes I was taking – it was something he enjoyed and it was a side-job/recreation for him outside of his normal existence as a project manager. We never dated, or even thought of dating, while I was a student, but the night of my 10-week graduation, we got to talking and we dated ever since. We “met” (rather – got to chatting) on a Saturday night, March 25th, and then hung out again on the 30th of that month – and then only spent 4 nights apart from that moment forward. It was a whirlwind romance – all started because of fitness.
B was an avid runner – I mean – a CRAZY runner and running was something I had no interest in. Until I watched him and his buddies run the Living History Farms race the weekend before Thanksgiving in 2006. I decided that I would maybe enjoy trying a little running. I did it for the camaraderie of it, but I was quickly hooked. I ran all the time – at least 4-5 times a week in all weather conditions. I decided to start running races with “the guys” and that quickly became an obsession. Hell, I even started a running club that was quite successful for 2 years.
It was fun!
We decided to try something new so took up mountain biking. This was something that B was much more natural at than I was, but I still enjoyed it a great deal. I took some serious spills (as did B) but that never got me down – I just got right back up and tried something harder. Trying something “harder” was in me back then – working harder and pushing my body to its limits is what I did. It’s what we did. It’s what we did together.
We then found a new thing to do – something even harder. We started “Adventure Racing” and we were good at it! Well – sort of. This was something we could do together and it was really difficult – I mean – the hardest thing either of us has done. We did our first 8+ hour race as a co-ed team with a friend of ours – and we won! I’d never won anything physically challenging in my life – but we won that race. I was hooked and so was B, so we found another AR to do in my hometown area. We came in third in that one – and that specific race was, to this day, the hardest thing we’ve ever done. It was 108 degrees, with a heat index of 115. People were dropping out of the race left and right due to heat exhaustion. For some reason, B and I kept on going. We canoed 11 miles on the open Missouri river against a 25 mph head wind, next to huge barges and cargo boats. We trekked downtown Omaha and rural areas with nothing but a compass and UTM coordinates. We biked, and biked, and biked God-only-knows-how-many-miles until we were finally done. It was a 12 hour race and it took us more than that to finish – but we came in third. We fought hard for that third place finish. At one point, neither of us could even get ourselves to start walking from a dead-stop – it was just impossible in the heat and with little fuel in our bodies. We each went through 9 liters of water that day, and that was not enough. At the finish line, I collapsed and cried.
Hardest thing I’ve ever done – but the funnest day of my life up to that point (and up to the point of Matthew’s birth).
And then… as I was planning our fall schedule of Adventure Racing?
Then Infertility happened.
And my life was interrupted.
Our lives, even though B would have preferred otherwise, were interrupted.
We were diagnosed in September 2009, just a couple of weeks after placing third in the Omaha AR. Just a few weeks after doing the hardest, and “funnest,” thing either of us had ever done, we were catapulted into a new phase of our lives that would challenge us in so many other ways. A phase that would challenge in us in ways that, to this day, I wish we hadn’t been challenged.
B also started his “new job” at the same time we were being diagnosed, so it was just a shit-storm of changes, none of which we were really prepared for. I tried to keep going to kickboxing, etc., but after being asked on three different occasions why we weren’t pregnant yet (after more than a year of trying on our own), and one time being told that my “eggs are screaming, you need to get B to get you pregnant,” – I quit going. I just could not take it. I certainly could not take watching women come and go from class who were newly pregnant, or coming to class to lose the “baby weight.”
No thank you.
I kept running but treatments got in the way of that. You’re not supposed to exercise much if your ovaries are the size of grapefruits, and without a regular pattern of fitness, I just got out of shape.
And I was depressed. Depression, infertility, and lack of physical activity will ruin your physical fitness in no time. And it did.
Once pregnant, I wanted to start running again but it just seemed wrong to introduce something “new” into my life when I felt simply lucky to be pregnant. I didn’t want to put anything at risk. Once Matthew was here, I again wanted to start running but my big, nursing breasts made that really intimidating. I went for a few runs this past spring but never got into a groove.
And now I’m pregnant again.
I’m not complaining, I’m just stating a fact. Starting running now, in the dead of winter while pregnant, is the furthest thing from responsible.
But I ache for it.
I ache for it so much that I am trying to sign B up for any and all races he’ll let me sign him up for – road races, adventure races, you-name-it. I want to live vicariously through him if I can’t do this myself.
Which gets me to the point of this post.
I am happiest when I’m healthy. I am happiest when I’m fit. WE are happiest, individually and as a couple, when we feel good about ourselves. I miss my old self. I miss my old energy levels. I miss the fun that B and I had as a couple, all of it related in some way to fitness. I miss my uninterrupted life.
I know that having a baby would have changed my life regardless, but had we not struggled with infertility, I would have stayed fit up until pregnancy and I would have kept running through the pregnancy. I know this. I know this for a fact because I was still running, biking, hiking, and AR-ing as we tried in that first year to get pregnant. Yes, parenthood changes many things, but it does not need to change that – and it wouldn’t have for us had we not been dealt the hand of infertility.
It is what it is, and I’m grateful for the overall journey and the end result, of course, but I miss my old self. I want to meet her again, and I want to meet her soon.
I have plans to get back into shape rather quickly after having this next baby. I will not let my nursing breasts stand in my way again. I will suffer through it and adjust. It is that important to me to find myself again. B is signing up for an AR camp this spring and hopefully an AR for the summer, and my goal is to be back on his team in the summer of 2014. That will require lots of work on my end, but I’m ready for it.
My life will not be interrupted much longer by infertility. Even if we do try for a third child, I know that I won’t be stimming again so I can be physically fit up until transfer day, which makes me so happy to realize!
I can’t wait to get back to my fit self, and I can’t wait to introduce physical fitness to our children (childREN!)!